A puff of white smoke rose from the chimney at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City Wednesday afternoon, signifying the College of Cardinals had selected a cardinal to replace Pope Benedict XVI.
Now the white smoke has cleared, and for Fort Greene and Clinton Hill locals, the reality that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, 76, will now be known as Pope Francis has begun to sink in.
Many reacted positively to the news, excited that for the first time in more than 1,200 years, a non-European was chosen to the Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion members.
"I think it's wonderful," said Irene McCleave as she walked down Myrtle Avenue. "I was so surprised and I'm very happy about it. I don't remember hearing his name being bounced around but it's great that they're bringing it someone different. It's what we need."
Others found the election to be like every other election: political.
"I'm thinking it's almost a political choice," said Barabra Kenner, who was coming from Adelphi Street. "Latin Americans make up most of the Catholic Church. I never thought that religion and politics should influence eachtoher but I guess they do."
But Kenner also noted she was optimistic he could bring a change to the church. "I'm hoping that it brings change to the religion," she said. "Because it's been faltering."
Ramona Williams, who stopped to chat on Clermont Avenue agreed, saying she was very happy with the selection.
"He's the first Latin American that has been chosen for this position, and being Hispanic, that makes me very happy," she said.
Apart from his roots, Williams said she admired his pious attitude and reputation.
"He's a very humble person and that's what I like about him," she said. "Regarding his history in Argentina, he never accepted the house he was supposed to live him, he cooked his own meals; he's the change Catholics need."
Sound-off: what do you think of Pope Francis? Do you think he'll bring change to the Catholic Church? Are you surprised at the College of Cardinals' selection? Let us know in the comments section below.