When I was in Boston a few weeks ago, I spent most of a day in and around Copley Square. I was curious to see what evidence of the Boston Marathon bombings remained as well as to revisit one of my favorite parts of Boston.
Historic buildings surrounding Copley Square include the Boston Public Library (1895; the first public library in the United States to allow people to borrow books), Trinity Church (1877), the Old South Church (1874), the John Hancock Tower (1976), and the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (1912).
Copley Square, and the surrounding several blocks, known as Back Bay, was where my father worked most of his career. Summers I worked at his office and spent many a happy lunch hour browsing in the exclusive shops that lined Boylston and Newbury Streets from Arlington Street all the way up to Massachusetts Avenue. Jim and I bought most of our art from galleries on Newbury Street. I did research for many a high school and college paper at the Boston Public Library.
Today, this area is the main "nice" shopping area of downtown Boston, but it is not as exclusive as it used to be.
A bit to my surprise, in the short time since the Marathon bombings, there was little sign of damage or destruction. There are scattered memorials to the Marathon victims, but, nothing very organized...all very impromptu.
Frankly, I was surprised at how "normal" the area looked.
The biggest memorial is right in Copley Square.
On a warm May day, it was attracting many; a sobering reminder of what had so recently occurred just a block away.
What impressed me most was the "wall" of running shoes.
The most moving Marathon memorial for me was that on the wrought iron fence around the Arlington First Church.
Visitors were invited to write a mesage on a ribbon and tie it on the fence.
A few shops had memorials in front as well.
This is the Lord & Taylor whose surveillance cameras videos helped establish the identity of the bombers.
And, the Marathon finish line is still painted on Boylston Street. Some locals have told me that it is always there but this is the first time I've ever noticed it.
But, for the most part, life in Back Bay was going on as it always has, particularly on a balmy spring day.