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In Back Bay, many turn out to show support

Posted by Patrick Rosso  April 16, 2013 04:38 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Matt Conrad, 19, of Hanover read headlines at a newsstand on St. James Avenue.

Since Monday’s deadly explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, life in the Back Bay has not returned to normal. Many residents and hotel guests couldn’t get to their rooms or homes.

Streets were blocked off, including the entirety of Boylston Street from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue, as police and federal teams investigated.

National Guard troops and members of local law enforcement patrolled the streets with bomb-sniffing dogs.

Tourists and locals wandered the nearly empty streets with many quietly talking among themselves, a stark contrast to the normally busy atmosphere.

A number of Bostonians and out-of-towners, however, turned out to show their support Tuesday, constructing a make-shift memorial at the corner of Arlington Street and Boylston Street.

“We wanted to show our support,” Aaron Jasper, who drove to Boston from New York Tuesday morning, said while he held a white rose.

“We know how it is and we want to give people some hope and faith,” said the 24-year-old.

Jie Tan, an employee of the Starbucks near the Bay Bay MBTA station, was serving up coffee to news crews, runners, and police officers Tuesday afternoon.

“It was freaky,” said Tan, describing Monday’s events. “We heard the bangs, people were screaming and crying.”

Although the 23-year-old Boston resident had Tuesday off and the store was closed, he said he couldn’t help but come in.

“I just came in to help,” said Tan.

Some were buying flowers and balloons to add to the memorials.

“We’re not going to let them ruin a beautiful day,” Chantelle Gilbert, a 22-year-old Suffolk University student, said as she left the Shaws Market on Huntington with a bouquet of flowers.

“We are resilient and we are going to go out and show our respect,” said Gilbert.

Others like Matt Conrad, 19, of Hanover just stared at the newspapers on display at a St. James Avenue newsstand.

“This was the scariest thing since 9/11,” said Conrad. “It was too close to home. I mean what’s wrong with this world? It’s just horrible.”


(Patrick D. Rosso/

Residents’ ID’s and bags were checked on Huntington Avenue as they tried to get to their apartments.


(Patrick D. Rosso/

Chantelle Gilbert, a 22-year-old Suffolk University student and her fellow students Isabelle Atkinson, 21, and Nick Carton, 22, left Shaws Market with flowers for a memorial. .


(Patrick D. Rosso/

Jie Tan, 23, an employee of the Starbucks served up coffee.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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