For some, Pope's visit proves a bit inconvenient Residents along route affected

churches say members can't get there THE POPE IN BALTIMORE

October 09, 1995|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Residents whose homes came equipped with an armchair seat for the papal visit found they paid a penance in convenience.

Some tenants' parking garages were sealed; others were prohibited from opening doors and windows, and standing on balconies and rooftops.

A few couldn't go out their front doors.

And churches in the vicinity reported that their members had trouble attending services.

"It's a pain," said Dr. Mark Watts, a surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital who lives at the Charles Towers apartments at Saratoga and Charles streets, a spot squarely on the parade route. His parking garage was closed, and he had to take a cab to work.

"But if this is what it takes to protect the pope, so be it," Dr. Watts said.

Joelle Porter, manager of the Baltimore Youth Hostel on Mulberry Street facing the Basilica of the Assumption, found she couldn't leave her building for much of Sunday afternoon.

"The police are being very strict. We can't get out or leave. Let me tell you, it's been very quiet," she said.

"We're not completely booked but we're fairly full," said Alva Marte, a hostess at the Tio Pepe restaurant on Franklin Street, just a block away from the Basilica.

At the New Psalmist Baptist Church, opposite the Basilica, ushers stood blocks away directing congregants around security checkpoints so they could attend services.

The South Baltimore neighborhood adjacent to Oriole Park was quiet Sunday. Residents found alternate routes around police barriers.

Rich Gorman, who lives in the Otterbein neighborhood on West Lee Street, stood outside his rowhouse early Sunday morning and greeted groups of papal guides dressed in yellow shirts and black pants who stood on the corners of his community.

"It's like the attack of the killer bees," he said in reference to their outfits. "It's a very clever idea so that people won't be confused. This has been a very positive experience for downtown."

Around the corner on Montgomery Street, members of the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church found some of their numbers couldn't make Sunday services because of traffic disruptions.

"Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the pope. This has been a beautiful day, but our congregation is down today. The church isn't filled. The elderly won't come out. I had to go miles and miles out of my way to get here," said Linwood Jones, an Ebenezer member.

"I decided not to go to church this morning. It would have taken too long to get back home," said Kim Chupurdia, a resident of Patapsco St. whose church is located near Columbia.

Ralph Cartwright, of the 700 block of S. Charles St., attended mass Saturday evening at Holy Cross Catholic Church on West Street.

"The priest explained that if the altar looked bare, Cardinal Keeler had asked to borrow the big brass candlesticks for the pope's altar," Mr. Cartwright said.

"It was an ominous feeling coming up Charles Street this morning. I counted 36 sharpshooters on the roofs. They were all over the place. I left two hours early for work and wound up being way too early," said Ed Bloom, who lives in Federal Hill and works at Donna's restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Chad Stoianoff, who lives in Federal Hill, also had to get to his job at Donna's at the museum while the papal Mass was in progress.

"I took the long way around, through the tunnel, around the Beltway and down I-83. What normally is a 13-minute drive took 50 minutes. And a dollar in a toll," he said.

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