Pope Francis, in New York, Will Live Like a Diplomat
Pope Francis will stay in a five-story, 11,000-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side during his visit to New York.© Pablo Enriquez for The New York Times Pope Francis will stay in a five-story, 11,000-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side during his visit to New York.
The signs of his arrival in the neighborhood will be less than subtle: a battalion of police officers, Secret Service agents and assorted security personnel monitoring every manhole and sidewalk crack; snipers on the rooftops; bomb-sniffing dogs at the ready.
The five-story 11,000-square-foot townhouse where the pope will bunk during the New York portion of his trip doesn’t fade into the scenery, either: Less than a block from Central Park and across the street from the emir of Qatar’s 45,000-square-foot quasi palace, the limestone mansion was once home to New York’s youngest mayor, a Tammany Democrat named Hugh J. Grant, and his wife, who hired an architectural firm that had worked on St. Patrick’s Cathedral to install a private chapel in the house, complete with Tiffany Studios decorations.
But though Pope Francis will be the guest of honor at the Upper East Side residence when he comes to New York — with the city’s chefs and comforts at his disposal — the official residence of the apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations will stay on the quiet side while he is there.
There is no reception for cardinals planned, no dinner for 52 with vegetable risotto prepared by cooks from the restaurants Del Posto, Becco and Felidia, as there was when Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2008. Francis’ doctor has limited him to dinners of fish and white rice, also to be prepared by guest chefs, said the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza. The pope himself has requested only still water and bananas in his room.
Two sets of interlaced golden keys are carved into the ironwork doors of the townhouse on East 72nd Street.© Pablo Enriquez for The New York Times Two sets of interlaced golden keys are carved into the ironwork doors of the townhouse on East 72nd Street. By week’s end, Francis will be the third pope to have stayed in the townhouse, which the Grant family donated to the Archdiocese of New York in 1975. Mr. Grant’s widow, Julia Murphy Grant, also founded Regis High School, the tuition-free Catholic high school for boys on the Upper East Side, in 1914.
Papal accommodations will be slightly more cramped in Philadelphia, where Francis will stay with the archbishop at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary — a downgrade from the archbishop’s former 23,000-square-foot mansion, which the archdiocese was forced to sell in 2012. Still, there will be new carpeting, fresh paint and a custom-built memory foam mattress awaiting Francis.
Custom dictates that the pope sleep in the Holy See’s diplomatic residences where such accommodations are available. In Washington, as in New York, he will stay in the Vatican’s equivalent of an embassy, the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States, across from the Naval Observatory, the official vice-presidential residence.
There, the Vatican’s flag flies above the door. In New York, however, the nuncio’s residence could pass for any enormously expensive Upper East Side townhouse, about as bland a place as $17 million can buy.
The only hint that no mere tycoon lives behind the limestone facade: the two sets of interlaced golden keys carved into the ironwork doors, each topped with a triple crown. ( MSN )