Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
By Saturday afternoon, under a warm sun, Boylston Street looked like it should on a perfect spring day: shoppers crowding into local stores, parking hard to come by, and sightseers packing the broad sidewalks that had been the scene of devastation 12 days before.
Young couples held shopping bags on bent arms and diners reclined on bistro seats on outdoor patios. Parents pushed children in strollers and pedicab drivers stood on their bikes at street corners, searching for customers. A saxophonist and guitarist played for change outside The Tannery.
From the moment the two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15 until Wednesday, Boylston Street had been a crime scene, empty except for federal investigators, National Guard soldiers, and police.
On Wednesday, the city reopened the area to the public.
“It seems very important to us at least that the functioning of Boston go back to normal,” said Emily Hanson, 29, of the South End.
The city is offering free parking throughout the Back Bay this weekend to encourage residents and visitors to shop and support stores that were closed after the bombings.
“The city encourages all to come back to the area, go to our restaurants, go to our shops and get involved in the recovery effort,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement Friday.
On Saturday, Cindy and Jared Solomon, North Reading residents who normally don’t shop on Boylston Street, made a special trip to the city to support local businesses.
“They took a pretty big hit economically and obviously much more than that, and we just wanted to support the city,” Cindy Solomon said.
The couple brought their 14-week-old son, for his first trip to Boston.
“The city is full of life,” Jared Solomon said. “It’s good.”
Robin Assaf and Malek Al-Khatib, of the West End, also came to Boylston Street to show their solidarity.
“We just wanted to come down and show that they didn’t win,” said Assaf, a lifelong Bostonian.
It felt great to see so many people, she said, and called it part of the healing process.
“I’ve never seen it so busy down here,” Assaf said.
The largest crowds were perhaps outside Marathon Sports and the Forum restaurant, both of which were hit by the blasts. Forum remains shuttered. Marathon Sports has reopened, but some windows are still covered by plywood.
Assaf said their trip was a way to honor the people lost as well as to celebrate those who were saved by the city’s swift response to the attack.
“The city continues to live. We need to celebrate the city and we need to prove to everyone . . . ” Al-Khatib started before Assaf finished, “. . . that Boston welcomes everyone.”
Only three years apart in age, the police officer and the career criminal accused of killing him could not have been more different.Continue reading »
High school seniors have until May 1 to weigh the costs versus the benefits of the colleges where they’ve been accepted.Continue reading »
“This type of hate crime has to be responded to,’’ said Kai Grant, who owns Black Market Dudley with her husband, Christopher. “We take this very personally.”Continue reading »
The woman who heads the State Police payroll department has been on unpaid leave for months amid allegations that she’s been stealing from the agency.Continue reading »
The statue, commissioned by Boston-based State Street Corp. to mark International Women’s Day, will move to a spot facing the New York Stock Exchange.Continue reading »
Members of Troop F get $40 each time they drive their own car to work, which heavily contributed to more than $3.4 million in additional payouts over four years.Continue reading »
Sean Gannon was shot last week as he assisted other law enforcement officers attempting to arrest a suspect previously convicted of illegal gun charges.Continue reading »
The decision ends the state inquiry into Thornton Law Firm. But federal investigations, which began in 2016, are ongoing.Continue reading »
Is it supposed to be this cold? It isn’t, said the National Weather Service.Continue reading »