Fans are gathering in NJ to say goodbye to Houston

NEKESA MUMBI MOODY AP Music Writer Published:

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Pockets of fans are gathering as close as they can get to the church where Whitney Houston's funeral will be held in her New Jersey hometown.

Police in Newark have blocked off streets in every direction surrounding the New Hope Baptist Church. Outside that perimeter, a few mourners are gathering Saturday morning. They include fans who have traveled from as far as Washington, D.C., and Miami. Some other fans are setting up card tables to sell silk-screened T-shirts with Houston's image and her CDs.

Houston, who was 48, died Feb. 11 in California, the day before the Grammy awards.

About 1,500 guests are expected to attend Saturday's private service including Aretha Franklin, Clive Davis and Stevie Wonder.