By Hadas Kuznits
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You don’t usually find lot of folks out overnight, but with the streets blocked off from cars and the national guard on duty, the area around the Ben Franklin Parkway was especially quiet early on the morning of the pope’s visit to Philadelphia.READ MORE: Sources: Missing Bucks County Woman Casey Johnston's Car Found In Northeast Philadelphia
An early morning runner hit the pavement at 4:30 a.m. Saturday. Apparently, that’s not unusual for him, but what struck him most today was the lack of cars and increased security.
“The streets are even more dead. Usually there are some taxis flying around, but today it’s just totally dead, except for some national guard troops around,” he said. “I’ve run from Queen Village, I’ve been trying to get out to Kelly Drive and I’ve had to loop all the way around, I keep running into barriers so I’m going to go out to Penn’s Landing, now.”
Amid the morning quiet was a vendor with his cart selling pope souvenirs. He didn’t seem thrilled with his boss for such an early start.
“I told him that the guy doesn’t even land until 9:30 and he insisted that we’re up at 5am,” he said. “We did Obama’s inauguration and people were out marching down the street at four, five in the morning and so that’s why he was basing this off of that.”READ MORE: 1 Day, 8 Tornadoes: A Look At This Week's Severe Weather Across The Tri-State Area
And apparently he’s not alone.
“I came from Rhode Island. We rented out a house. There’s about twelve of us, twelve vendors,” he said. “We’ll be disbursed throughout the city. You can’t get where you’re going without getting by one of us!”
So how did the city look in the early morning hours before the papal visit?
“It looks like a war zone, to be truthful with you,” said one man. “It feels like you’re in a movie, you know, in a zombie movie maybe, where you think you might run into a zombie somewhere along the line.”
That’s all expected to change, of course, once Pope Francis makes his arrival.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Restaurants Martha, Irwin's Upstairs To Require Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccination For Indoor Dining