Some 80,000 people screamed, cheered, waved flags, and snapped pictures as the pope went by.
Pope Francis, always smiling, waved and blessed the crowd.
Early Friday, police put the last few hundred feet of fence around the park. It's a specially made steel fence, 8 feet tall, and difficult to topple or climb.
The 80,000 people were issued tickets through a lottery system.
-- Street closures
-- What you can't bring into the park
-- Central Park closures
The park is closed from 81st Street to 59th Street all day between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue.
Check out how massive the crowd was as they were waiting to get into Central Park:
Pope’s crowd on Central Park west pic.twitter.com/IaCE2Asq95— Françoise Pourcel (@francoiseNYC) September 25, 2015
Once the parade was over, Pope Francis got back into his Fiat and headed towards Madison Square Garden for Mass Friday evening.
Before any foreign trip by the pope, the Vatican's security team always engages in detailed negotiations with local security forces as part of the trip preparations. Local security forces typically seek to seal off the pope as much as possible for fear that anything might happen to him on their watch; Francis, though, insists on being able to mix with the crowds, requiring a balancing act between the perceived threat levels and Francis' wishes.
One well-wisher in the Central Park crowd got a ticket: