Pope adds Central Park to list of New York City stops

Soap bubbles fly as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Francis will take a spin through Central Park while visiting New York City this month.

The city announced Tuesday that the pontiff will travel through part of the park Sept. 25 before celebrating Mass at Madison Square Garden.

New York residents interested in lining up along the pope's route through the park can apply to receive two tickets via an online giveaway contest by visiting the city's website or by calling 311 from Thursday to Monday.

Winners will be notified Sept. 10. The mayor's office, which announced the event, said "tens of thousands" of tickets would be made available. The route will be along the park's West Drive, from 72nd to 60th streets.

"The procession through Central Park will give thousands of New Yorkers an opportunity to come face to face with Pope Francis," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We are grateful to the archdiocese for their cooperation in giving even more New Yorkers a chance to join in this historic visit."

Information on traffic closures, barricade locations and other details will be made public later.

The pontiff arrives in the city Sept. 24 and departs for Philadelphia on Sept. 26.

It's Francis' first visit to the United States. He will begin his five-day trip in Washington, D.C.

In New York, he will attend an evening prayer at St. Patrick's Cathedral and address the United Nations General Assembly. He will also participate in a multireligious service at the National September 11 Memorial, visit a school in East Harlem and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.