Pope Francis' stay at Papal Nuncio sends Upper East Side into heavy security mode

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Papal Nuncio where Pope Francis is staying while in New York City was under heavy protection Friday morning.

The Upper East Side residence where the pope is staying Thursday and Friday nights is on East 72nd Street, which is completely blocked off to traffic by barricades.

There are at least 100 visible police officers in the one-block radius alone.

After an undoubtedly exhausting day for the 78-year-old Pope Francis, his motorcade rumbled about 20 blocks up Fifth Avenue past hordes of adoring fans, some had been there since noon.

It was all to catch a priceless glimpse.

"I was thinking I was going to have a moment to look at him but it was so fast, it was still fun," said Vicente Deleg, an onlooker.

"Even if it was just three seconds that we saw him in the small Fiat, it was worth it," said Michelle Potes, an onlooker.

Security is so laser tight, even the NYPD officers were kept behind metal barricades as others patrolled with sniper rifles and bomb sniffing dogs.

"Oh the traffic is bad, everything's blocked off. But the people on the Upper East Side, the people who work here, we love it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the pope," said Glen Iurilli, a doorman.

People like Ellen Ricci, who came all the way from Toms River just to see his motorcade. She missed it, but she'll be back to try again Friday.

"He has that warmth that we want to embrace everybody and we don't have that so much in our society," Ricci said.

Residents there have to show two forms of identification to get past the barricades.
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