The Washington Times - April 13, 2008, 04:36PM
United Nations
After Shepherd One lands at JFK Airport Friday morning, the pope will be whisked by helicopter to a midtown helipad and ferried up the shut-down First Avenue to the United Nations, where he will give an address to ambassadors and visitors in the General Assembly chambers. \ \ \ Traffic around the United Nations will be shut down from 8am to 3pm, including major arteries such as the East River Drive and portions of First Avenue and 42nd Street. Boat traffic — which has been pretty light since September 11 — will likely be restricted. \ \ \ “Whether you have one head of state or 192, the preparations are significant,” said Gary Fowlie, the UN Media liaison. \ \ \ For this reason the regularly scheduled U.N. tours will be suspended on Friday, 18 April, and the staff has been encouraged not to schedule meetings inside the U.N. compound. \ \ \ Of course, it doesn’t sound like much ordinary work will get done on Friday morning as the pope has requested opportunities to meet with the U.N. staff and they are eager to receive him. His movements have been carefully choreographed. When he arrives, his path will take him down a long hallway and through wide lobby where officials are preparing for 1,000 U.N. staff and others with grounds passes to line his route. \ \ \ In an odd bit of scheduling, Benedict will give his 25-minute speech, then leave the General Assembly chambers, greet VIPs in a separate lounge, and then return to the hall where the dignitaries are to have been replaced by U.N. staff. The pope is to have a few words with them, presumably about the importance of their work, especially in developing countries. \ \ \ On his way out, Benedict is to stop by the framed tatters of the U.N. flag that flew atop the organization’s Baghdad office and was destroyed in the 2003 bombing. \ \ \ The speech and much of the papal entourage will be webcast on, as well as the official Papal website.

Julia Duin, assistant national editor/religion, The Washington Times