Pope Francis visited Philadelphia in late September. The city shut down many streets in preparation, including cleaning, decorating, and establishing evacuation routes, preparing for security, and generally making the city safe. It was a wonderful time to wander around and see the city with far less-than-normal traffic and people.
Portable toilets were everywhere. With an anticipated million people heading into the city for the big events, when people have to go, they have to go…and the city has to provide a place to let them.
Wandering around the city from the Art Museum, where the two days of prayer and celebration would be centered, to Independence Hall, where initial speeches and festivities were planned, you got to see the construction work, the decorations, and workers and security people – and they were everywhere. Despite that, the normal hustle and bustle of the city was diminished. There were crowds in some places, but on the way to City Hall, I found these bicycles ready for renting. On a normal day, they probably are. Today, not so much.
The fountain in front of City Hall, on a normal day, would be covered in foot traffic and getting this kind of intimate shot would be impossible. The few tourist there, though, added just enough interest to the lighting and water show. It’s possible to walk through the fountain if you don’t mind getting wet. I chose not to.
Later on, closer to evening, I met up with my brother. We walked over to The Cathedral Basilica of Peter and Paul. There was a tent-like display there. People were given strips of paper and asked to write down prayers and wishes. Then, they could hang them anywhere on the display. You can see people sitting on the Basilica stairs, writing thoughts from the heart. The closeup is just a small part; there must have been many thousands of these prayers, requests, and wishes.
On our way to our car, we noticed the moon positioned in the sky between two of the towering buildings. By the time we could climb over the barrier wall to get an unobstructed view, the moon had slipped slightly behind the foreground tower. As we couldn’t move safely to our left to position the moon between the buildings, I had to settle for this. As it turns out, the sky had a haze which made the moon look more like a spotlight.