Some Washington D.C. folks have been accusing Philadelphia of essentially being a cultural backwater because of the security plans for the pope’s visit and the presumed panic among residents about all the security and closures. The Washington Post’s Frances Stead Sellers suggested that Philadelphia risked reinforcing its reputation as a second-rate city with its residents panicking and leaders screwing up while New York and D.C. took their papal visits in stride. The Washingtonian’s Phillip Garrity said D.C. would have all kinds of fun activities going on when the pope visits there next week, like rooftop pools and Swedish heavy metal concerts, because it isn’t Philadelphia.

These passive-aggressive slights toward Philadelphia are funny because, well, D.C. is handling the pope’s visit about exactly the same as our fair city (with, let’s be real here, more people, more things to do and better restaurants):

A large portion of the city is going to be shut down, as well as the city’s workforce. And people are kind of mad/confused about it. 

Reading a document of all the road closures/Metro adjustments for when the pope is in DC Sept. 22-24. DC is going to be a clusterfuck.

— Nneka M. Okona ?? (@afrosypaella) September 14, 2015

New York isn’t much different either. Governor Andrew Cuomo has even advised people to not travel into Manhattan during the two business days Francis is visiting, as well as the Saturday when Francis will leave town. Now that’s shutting down a city.

Here’s a quick guide to the similarities of security closures between the three cities, as well as plenty of examples of New Yorkers and Washingtonians freaking out. 

Washington D.C.

D.C. has a traffic box of its own. It’s smaller, sure, but D.C.’s downtown is more or less shut down for a couple of days next week, with more than 100 different roads closed for all or some of the pope’s visit from Sept. 22-24. And like Philadelphia, no one is supposed to drive. Walking and public transit are the preferred methods of transportation.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 6.47.50 PM

Business is stopping, too, or at least being altered significantly for each day the pope is in D.C. Federal workers were told to treat the three-day pope visit like a three snow days early this month. Sound familiar?

As of this week, it’s not just federal employees either. Leaders have recommended everyone in D.C. telecommute during the pope’s visit. Telecommute sounds productive, but we all know it really means wake up at 10, eat a two Hot Pocket lunch and start a Netflix mini-marathon of “Pretty Little Liars” right after your 90-minute couch nap. And maybe check email.  

This is how residents of Washington D.C. have reacted to having a three-day vacation:

List of road closures for when the Pope visits DC is about the length of the Magna Carta:

— Alexander Panetta (@Alex_Panetta) September 11, 2015

OMG whose dumbass idea was it to host the Pope in DC while the Nationals are at home against the Orioles?!?!

— eZg (@__eZg__) September 15, 2015

But hey enjoy the rooftop Estonian reggae concert or whatever it is you all plan on doing while the pope’s in town.

New York

Cuomo insists on effectively making Thursday and Friday of next week a wash for Manhattan because of massive road closures. There is no box-esque formation like we’re seeing in Philadelphia and D.C., but about 75 roads will be shut down.

But this is New York, where aspiring calligraphers go to spend $1700 a month to share a Brooklyn studio with two people they met on Craigslist. Commutes suck every day, and everything costs seven times as much as it should. Surely a few “Road Closed” signs won’t phase them, or make them want to leave town for a few days or anything?

The Pope is giving (leading? having?) mass at MSG next Friday. Midtown is going to be a clusterfuck. Ugh.

— Emily Lind (@eflind) September 16, 2015

Looking at the NYC street closure list for Pope+UN/GA and thinking it was easier to get around Manhattan during the Hurricane Sandy blackout

— Still Signing “What the fuck” On My Checks (@brianvan) September 16, 2015


And, in case you wanted to double-check, D.C. and New York aren’t even hosting an outdoor mass expected to draw 1.5 million people.

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...