NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - The massive security apparatus protecting Pope Francis on his trip to the United States was in full effect as he attended events across Manhattan on Friday.
Francis, well known for freely wading into crowds, kissing and blessing hoisted children and eagerly accepting gifts from well-wishing strangers, has had fewer opportunities on the New York City portion of his trip.
He mingled with a screened audience at the airport, meet with people who had the opportunity to attend a vespers service at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
But that was expected to change during a trip to Harlem on Friday afternoon and then on a trip through Central Park where thousands of people were waiting hours just for a chance of seeing him drive by in his popemobile.
But security remained tight for people with the opportunity to get into certain areas. Fox 5 News reporter Stacey Delikat took a picture of nuns getting patdowns at one such spot outside of a school in Harlem.
Delikat says that every single person, including students, teachers and visitors, was screens. People were forced to go through a series of metal detectors, bomb sniffing dogs, bag checks and even airport-style screening wands.
After that they were allowed into secure penned in areas.
During his trip to the United States, Francis is surrounded by a phalanx of security that include suit-clad Vatican security officers and Secret Service agents, uniformed federal agents and local police keeping most onlookers at a distance.
In New York, security screening is just part of "layers and layers and layers of protection" the pope will receive during his visit, including a deployment of 6,000 extra police officers and specialized counterterrorism units, said John Miller, the NYPD's top security official.
With the Associated Press