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Good spots for catching a glimpse Security limits vantage points; here are the best


The special section in Wednesday's editions incorrectly reported that the parking garage of the Holiday Inn in the 300 block of West Pratt Street would be available to the public for watching the papal parade tomorrow. The garage will not be open to the public for watching the event.

The Sun regrets the error.

IF YOU DIDN'T WIN THE ticket lottery for the Mass at Camden Yards and weren't on the guest list for the prayer service at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, don't despair. You still have a chance to see the pope as he leads a parade through downtown Baltimore.

The parade begins at 1:30 Sunday at the intersection of Pratt and Paca streets. From there, Pope John Paul II, riding in the popemobile, will lead a 3,000-member procession along Pratt to Light Street, north to Baltimore Street and west to Charles. The parade ends at Charles and Saratoga streets, in front of Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church about half an hour later.

This route was chosen to allow the largest number of people to see the pope. "The purpose of having the parade is to have people come," said Bill Blaul, associate program director at the archdiocese office.

Security for the parade is tight. Spectators will not be allowed on rooftops, balconies or in open windows anywhere along the parade route, say federal security agents. People who live or have offices along the route can watch from behind closed windows; for the rest, it's sidewalks only.

So what are the best spots, available to the public, to see the pope?

* The parking garage in front of the Holiday Inn (300 W. block on Pratt Street). It will be kept car-free for parade watchers, according to hotel management.

* A window table at the Wharf Rat restaurant's (the 200 W. block on Pratt) second-floor corner dining room. There you will be able to see the pope and the parade coming from Camden Yards. The room holds about 30 people.

* Bars and restaurants along Pratt Street that will be open for lunch. Some have upstairs seating. Both the Marriott Hotel (100 block of S. Eutaw St., across Pratt from Camden Yards) dining room and Strapazza's restaurant (300 W. block of Pratt) look out onto Pratt and will be open for breakfast at 6 a.m. on Sunday.

* "Viewing rooms" at the Marriott and other hotels on the parade route. Some are still available to rent.

* The porches at the Convention Center (which is low enough to be watched, or "covered," by security agents) and the Bell Atlantic building, open for employees with identification. Many other buildings will also be open to tenants. Check with building management.

* The elevated USF&G; Plaza at the intersection of Pratt and Light streets, with a view of "Celebration Plaza," the intersection of Pratt, Light and the Inner Harbor. This is the biggest open area that the pope will pass through and is the heart of the parade route. A "JumboTron," broadcasting the morning Mass and the parade, will be set up on Pratt between Calvert and South Guilford streets. On McKel-din Plaza (island in front of the Inner Harbor) there will be 40 herald trumpeters.

* The 27th floor of the World Trade Center building (400 E. block on Pratt), which has a view of the entire parade route. Admission is $2.50 and $1.50 for children and senior citizens. Tickets for "The Top of the World" go on sale at 10 a.m. Sunday morning (Oct. 8), but group reservations can be made.

* All along Light Street (the parade is on Light only between Pratt to Baltimore streets). John Paul will be coming up a hill, and the street and sidewalks on Light are wide.

* On Light (at the intersection with Baltimore Street), the McDonald's has second-floor seating and is open on Sundays. A table window will offer a good view.

* A skywalk across Baltimore Street at North Hanover, offering a view of the procession along Baltimore Street. This skywalk won't be kept clear like those on Pratt and Light at the Inner Harbor.

* The steps on the First Fidelity Bank, behind the sidewalk at the corner of Baltimore and Charles streets. This will offer a slightly elevated but cramped vantage point.

* The Plaza in front of the Blaustein building (100 N. block on Charles), between East Fayette and Wilkes Lane.

* Charles Center, the elevated plaza looking onto Charles between East Fayette and Lexington streets, above the Burger King. Herald trumpeters will perform. This area will offer a view of the papal procession coming and going up Charles Street for several blocks.

* Charles Plaza, at the Charles and Saratoga street intersection. Like "Celebration Plaza," this is an open area and there are steps leading to an elevated area behind the plaza.

This is the end of the parade route. For a papal send-off, across the street from Charles Plaza, on the steps of Old St. Paul's Church, the Choir of Men and Boys will sing, and the church bells will toll.

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