Fifth Avenue Businesses Ready Themselves for Pope's Visit
With all of the street closures and security measures being taken for the Pope's visit, local businesses on Fifth Avenue are bracing for an influx of people. Roger Clark spoke to some merchants in Midtown. He filed this report.
If you are in the market for some Pope Francis buttons or prayer cards, Christoper Burruss has just what you need here on 53rd Street.
"I'm going to tell you the truth. Yesterday was a pretty good day for me. But New York always waits til the last minute," he says.
But come Thursday, Burruss knows his tabletop operation will be on the move, since the Pope is coming to nearby St. Patrick's Cathedral for an evening prayer service.
"They're ain't going to be no trucks, no hamburger carts, none of that," Buruss says.
That's because of a secret service security perimeter near the Cathedral that will stretch from 47th street to 57th street along Fifth Avenue from Madison Avenue to Sixth.
An 8-foot fence will run along Fifth Avenue on both sides of the street in the middle of the sidewalk to keep out those without tickets. When the Pope passes by, the NYPD will ask those pedestrians to enter businesses or side streets. The folks at Bill's Bar and Burger on 51st Street say they are prepared.
"We're definitely anticipating more business. We've been looking into this for about a week now. We're bringing in some more security. We've been touching base with like the NYPD, we're going to have extra security outside as well as in, and it might be a little harder to get into work but it's gonna be worth it, bringing a lot of great business so everyone around here should be expecting some great things," says Michael Lukas of Bill's Bar and Burger.
Across the street at the Columbia Floral Boutique, they are hoping those here to catch a glimpse of Francis may want to give the gift of flowers too.
"We have special lilies for the Pope, we have stargazer lilies, white lilies, white roses ready to go right here and we're just hoping people are gonna pile in and get some arraignments for the pope," says owner Tara Bajakian.
Christoper Burruss will have his items ready for sale, just not near Fifth Avenue. He gets it.
"You want the Pope to be safe. You want everybody around here to be safe. So I understand it," Burruss says.
Burruss says the number one question he has been answering is, when is the Pope coming? That answer should be pretty obvious by Thursday.