Today is Ash Wednesday, which is observed by millions of Christians all over the world. It begins the season of Lent, which is 46 days before Easter. It is a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Christ for us on the cross. Christians are encouraged to grow in their faith by exercising their faith in fasting, repentance, and alms giving.
The purple draped over the cross is signifying the royalty of Jesus. Pilate put a sign on the cross above Jesus' head reading, "The King of the Jews."
This display is in front of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. As you can see by the banner in the background, there are plenty of services to accommodate the faithful coming to begin the Lenten season.