BOSTON — Boylston Street reopened to the public Wednesday morning for the first time since the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon last week.
Residents who live within the formerly cordoned off area woke up in their own beds Wednesday morning after being allowed back in Tuesday. Businesses were also able to return briefly Tuesday, to start the process of cleaning up the damage from the bombings.
Buisness, Residents Trickle Back
Starting at the Hynes Convention Center, somber business owners trickled through metal detectors Tuesday to get back to Boylston. Many had grave expressions, reflecting the sadness and grief they were walking toward.
Boston Marathon Bombings: Significant Developments
- Monday, April 15: Bombs at the Marathon finish line kill three and injure hundreds more
- Thursday, April 18: Black hat and white hat: FBI releases photos and video of suspects
- Thursday and Friday, April 18-19: MIT police officer is killed; shootout in Watertown; one suspect dies, other escapes
- Friday April 19: Manhunt for surviving suspect as Boston area is put on lockdown
- Friday evening, April 19: Lockdown lifted; suspect is located and captured in Watertown
- Monday, April 22: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using a weapon of mass destruction
- Wednesday, May 1: Three college friends of Dzhokhar accused of disposing of backpack
“Of course we’re very concerned about what we’re going to find when we get back there,” said Abe Rybeck, the artistic director and founder of the Theater Offensive on Boylston, about a block away from the first explosion.
“I’ve been filled with very tough emotions for a week and it’s been a rollercoaster,” he said.
Rybeck went back to his third-floor space with colleague Adrian Budhu, who came just blocks short of finishing the marathon last Monday. They wanted to clean up the remnants of the party colleagues had prepared for Budhu before the bombs went off.
After a few hours of cleaning, Budhu said they felt a little lighter.
“Going back there today before our staff was kind of cathartic for me, to just get the place back in order,” Budhu said. “Physically get rid of the bad energy — and I’m not that type of guy — but it was just nice to just do it and get my mind off of something else and just focus on what was happening.”
As he walked down the still-empty Boylston Street, Badhu said he was still struggling to come to grips with how and why Monday took such a dramatic and horrific turn.
“On the walk back [from the office], I was just very silent, trying to take everything in and rationalize what happened and understand,” he said. “And to just try to get back some of that happy feeling as you turn onto Boylston Street. It was just kind of blank. I kind of got numb a little bit.”
It was an eerie feeling to walk down Boylston — a typically bustling promenade.
“Looking down the street, seeing absolutely no one on the street, looked like a movie scene,” said Matthew Yantz, bar manager of Whiskey’s Smokehouse at the corner of Gloucester Street, about a block and a half away from the location of the second blast.
“Boylston Street is always busy. There’s always people out, always dogs walking and [now] there’s just nobody down there.” he said. “But I think as they open the street up, I think a lot of people will return back to the area.”
A return is just what Yantz and others are hoping for to help make up for the lost business.
“We want [customers] to come back. We want them to have fun. We want them to know that we’re here to be positive and go forward and really embrace all the great things that Boston is about. And to take that next step to bring us all to the next place,” said Helena Collins, who owns Life in Synergy, a fitness studio just a couple doors down from Whiskey’s.