At 8:30 last night it was pitch black in front of the opera house and the air smelled like plastic. A Boston police officer blocking the Symphony T stop was yelling to someone -- you could not see whom -- "The blackout is spreading!"
All the tall buildings in Copley Square were dark, as was much of the Northeastern University campus and the surrounding area. A throng of people were shuffling down the very crowded sidewalk to the source of the only visible illumination: the Christian Science Center. Apparently, the Center has ample backup power to keep the whole plaza dimly lit -- just enough to be able to see that hundreds were gathering there.
It was a chaotic scene, where locals, tourists from all the major Copley hotels, and conspiracy aficionados traded misinformation on the causes of the blackout and smoke, and the possible dire outcomes.
Amid the panic, a beacon of calm: Kickass Cupcakes. The food truck did brisk business on battery power for about an hour, when police advised (via bullhorn) that the plaza be cleared because of increasing smoke.
What's cooking in the world of food.
ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.