Pope Francis is now an official honorary New Yorker.
Just a day after His Holiness arrived in the Big Apple, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued him his very own IDNYC card.
“IDNYC is about creating inclusion, compassion and unity for our city. Few have spoken more clearly and eloquently on the importance of these values and the rights of all humanity to be treated with dignity and respect than Pope Francis,” de Blasio said in a statement. “IDNYC is a card that allows every New Yorker — regardless of immigration or economic status — to live safely in their communities, interact with government, and receive services. It is a vital equalizer and true symbol of the Pope’s message to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”
The card features His Holiness’ address as the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City — not the more modest apartment he chose to live in — and lists his height as 5-feet-9-inches. The card expires in September 2020.
With his new card, which acts like a driver’s license at government agencies and businesses requiring photo ID, Pope Francis can visit several museums and cultural institutions for free for the next year.
While this trip may be all about business, Pope Francis can now come back and see the penguins at the Bronx Park Zoo, admire Andy Warhol’s work at the Museum of Modern Art, and decompress at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens — all free of charge.
The IDNYC program, which started in January, doesn’t discriminate based on someone’s immigration status. About 540,000 cards have been issued, according to the mayor’s office.
De Blasio said the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn have been helpful in getting people to sign up.
“The Pope’s message of equality and unity resonates across the world and especially in New York City, home to people of all colors, faiths, and backgrounds,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “IDNYC is a resource for all New Yorkers, inclusive of the vibrant diversity that makes our city so unique — and it embodies the Pope’s call to uplift, empower, and respect those whom society so often marginalizes.”