A royal visit to New York has never been more overshadowed. Around noon on Friday, Prince Albert II of Monaco arrived at the event space at 583 Park Avenue, where much of the surrounding area was congested with police checkpoints and barricades. But none of the brouhaha was for his royal highness. Instead, the security was focused less than 10 blocks north on the town house of Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who’s hosting Pope Francis in New York.
The irony was not lost on Albert. Speaking about the recipients of the Princess Grace Foundation Awards, which honors aspiring artists, he offered this: “They are capable of anything they put their hearts and minds to. With the possible exception of finding a parking place in lower Manhattan when his holiness is in town.”
The awards, which have given away some $13 million in scholarships only barely distracted guests from the papal visit. “I’m so grateful that I’m even in the same city where the pope is,” said Lynn Wyatt, the charity’s founding director. “I feel the energy just coming all over me, you know?”
Leslie Odom Jr., who’s currently playing Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” on Broadway, left an hour early to avoid traffic. “It’s not old yet, I’m not tired of it yet,” he said of the continued success of the show. Especially when guests like the president sit in the audience — which he’ll be doing for the second time in the coming months. “They’re doing a big [Democratic National Committee] benefit at our theater. They’re announcing it today,” he said. “So they’re going to sell out the theater for lots of money and the president will introduce our show to the crowd. And he will stay and watch it again with his family.” Perhaps someone should also alert the pontiff…