Two million people across Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia are expected to flock to various Pope Francis peeking-grounds throughout his holiness' U.S. stay. Of course, that means just about everyone is panicking about the traffic situation. As the Mid-Atlantic manager of AAA warned USA Today, "This is not the time to just wing it; it is a time to plan ahead and prepare accordingly, similar to planning ahead of a snowstorm."
On the contrary, now might be exactly the time to wing it, at least if you've got $95 to spare and live in New York City. Blade, a company that's basically Uber for helicopters, is offering short-hop 'copter rides to users for $95. Let's put it this way: For the cost of about 17 NYC-priced venti pumpkin spice lattes, you can get shuttled above the heads of Pope gawkers on Friday and wave so-long to the poor, unfortunate souls navigating around the NYPD's labyrinth of closed streets.
Blade plans to ferry people between helipads on East 34th Street (near FDR drive) and West 30th Street (near the West Side Highway), The New York Post reports. The helicopters will run every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For comparison: On a normal day, that cross-town trip would be about a 37-minute walk (free), a 25-minute bus or subway ride ($2.75), or about a 20-minute ride in a ground-tethered Uber (between $13 and $18). But of course, when the Pope is in town, it's never a normal day. Godspeed out there, everyone. Jeva Lange