Papal stage continues to come down, Mayor Nutter calls visit successful

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia is trying to get back to normal, but for at least a few days it will still be tough to navigate the Fairmount section as the papal stage continues to come down.

"It's so crazy, so busy you can't even recognize anything there's so much stuff going on over here," Julie Nazarie of Fairmount told Action News Monday night.

Crowds packed the Ben Franklin Parkway and surrounding areas during the papal visit, but Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says he doesn't know exactly how many people were there.

"The short answer is 'I don't know,'" he said during a Monday morning news conference.

He acknowledged previously stated estimates of 1 million to 1.5 million, and said that was based on the turnout for a number previous events.

"Ultimately whoever comes is the group of folks that come. It's not our direct responsibility to be crowd builders," Nutter said.

The mayor also used an expletive to describe the media's reporting the weeks leading up the event.

"I think the reporting on any number of aspects of this was detrimental to the mindset of many Philadelphians and others. I think that, in some instances, you all scared the s*** out of people with some of the stories," Nutter said.

Nutter later apologized for, as he called it, an 'intemperate' remark.

The United States Secret Service said the pope's visit to Philadelphia was its largest National Security Special Event in its history.

Nutter said he feels the event was a success, regardless of the crowd size.

"As we might say, they came, they saw, and they experienced Philadelphia at its best. The City of Philadelphia and our region will be basking in the glow of this event, this series of events, for months and years to come."

In a separate news conference, Archbishop Charles Chaput agreed with the mayor's take, saying there were more than 20,000 registered delegates for the World Meeting of Families conference, the event that drew Pope Francis to Philadelphia.

Chaput said the pope was touched by his visit to Philadelphia.