Skip to main content

Life edges back to normal in Boston -- with lives changed

By David Ariosto, CNN
updated 1:55 PM EDT, Sun April 21, 2013
A man removes a sign hanging from the Lennox Hotel along Boylston Street after the street reopened to the public for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston on Wednesday, April 24. The city is trying to return to normal less than a week after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, shocking the nation and leaving the city on edge. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/us/boston-bombings-galleries/index.html'>See all photography relating to the Boston bombings.</a> A man removes a sign hanging from the Lennox Hotel along Boylston Street after the street reopened to the public for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston on Wednesday, April 24. The city is trying to return to normal less than a week after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, shocking the nation and leaving the city on edge. See all photography relating to the Boston bombings.
HIDE CAPTION
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Photos: Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Photos: Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
Boston celebrates, seeks return to normal
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Watertown residents say after dodging bullets, life won't be the same
  • "It makes you wonder how safe we all are," Watertown resident says
  • Says another: "We're all still in shock"

Boston (CNN) -- The closed shops and empty streets that once gave Boston the feel of a ghost town teemed with life again Saturday as a cold morning rain stirred residents to grumble about a more familiar New England grievance: The weather.

Yet for many across the region, Monday's marathon attacks and a terrorist manhunt spurred changes more subtle and difficult to quantify than those wrought by the deadly force of two bombs that detonated near the finish line.

The manhunt spanned Boston and its surrounding suburbs, riveting the nation and deepening concerns about the origins of the attack and the likelihood of another.

Boston Strong: The city begins to heal
Boston suspect was 'extremist,' 'violent'
People pause at the memorial site in Copley Square on April 30 in Boston. The city continues to return to normalcy with Boylston Street fully reopened and businesses back up and running after two weeks of closures. See all photography related to the Boston bombings. People pause at the memorial site in Copley Square on April 30 in Boston. The city continues to return to normalcy with Boylston Street fully reopened and businesses back up and running after two weeks of closures. See all photography related to the Boston bombings.
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims Photos: Nation mourns Boston bomb victims
Rep. Capuano: We are starting to heal
How thermal imaging technology worked

"I think I understand a little better how people feel in other countries that go through this," said Debby Singh, 39, who had huddled in her Watertown apartment as authorities combed the area in search of the suspected bomber.

"We were just so paranoid."

'A million questions' for bombing suspect

Others said the experience offered a rare front-row seat to a phenomenon unfamiliar to most American cities, tested their faith or simply reminded them of life's fragility.

"Never have I seen anything like this," said Watertown resident Tony Paulino, as businesses shuttered and streets closed, leaving many to wonder how long the manhunt would drag on.

"It makes you wonder how safe we all are."

Sara Pradziak also seemed cautious, even after police made an arrest, despite hundreds of college-aged revelers who poured out of their homes Friday evening when the lockdown expired.

"There's always this thing in the back of my head that wonders if all of this is a little premature," she said.

For Stephen McAlpin, the experience of crouching in his bathtub with his wife, Emily, as bullets whizzed through his Watertown home left him tired and still shaken a day later.

"There's no real going back to normal after something like this," he said. "It feels today like we're waking up from a nightmare."

As Boston reeled, younger suspect partied

As the overnight shoot-out unfolded between police and suspected terrorists, the couple had been directly in the line of fire.

"I knew that I couldn't protect her," he said. "There was nothing I could do."

When it was all over, shell casings littered his front yard and seven bullet holes were scattered across his home, including one in his living room that left his television shattered.

At least one other round pierced the walls of his neighbor's home and blasted harmlessly into their children's bedroom.

"It's terrifying to hear about something like that," McAlpin added, saying the shootings had forced things into perspective.

"In the midst of feeling really safe, there was this reality yesterday that we could die from bullets and explosions in our American home," he said. "That's not something you'd expect."

On Saturday, as life returned to normal, local bars and coffee shops in Boston were abuzz with talk more reflective of the nature of the attacks than the specific ways in which the teenager had initially evaded authorities.

Manhunt began with intense firefight in dark street

"We're all still in shock," said Ester Maxman, a local resident who had watched Friday as traffic trickled through Boston's normally bustling downtown streets. "This type of thing just doesn't happen here."

The violence has left many grappling without answers, which President Barack Obama echoed in a hastily arranged address to the nation on Friday night.

"Why did these young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence?" the president said. "How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers."

By Saturday afternoon, security across Boston remained tight.

Checkpoints were still visible in parts of the city, as were flower memorials set up near the marathon finish line, where three people suffered fatal wounds and more than 170 were injured.

But at Fenway Park, in an attempt to regain a sense of normalcy, more than 35,000 Red Sox fans bellowed out the lyrics to their eighth-inning signature tune, "Sweet Caroline," led personally in a surprise appearance by Neil Diamond.

"I bring love from the whole country," the 72-year-old singer told the crowd, drawing raucous cheers.

The Sox then rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals after trailing 2-1 in the top of the eighth.

Suspects: Immigrant dream to American nightmare

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Boston Marathon Bombings
Survivors of three earlier bombings describe their journeys forward — and offer poignant words for those just one year away from the day that changed their lives.
updated 2:15 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
"United, we will always persevere." That was the message Massachusetts shared on the anniversary of twin bombings that turned last year's Boston Marathon from a celebration into a day of horror.
updated 2:47 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
I'm running it to make a simple statement: Acts of cowardice will not stop me from exercising my rights as an athlete and a human.
updated 3:40 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Many of those whose lives were shattered are still struggling to put the pieces back together. Here are some of the victims, as well as larger funds, who continue to need your support.
updated 11:22 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
As April 15 approaches, the fact that we tell time in circles brings us to remember the attack on the Boston Marathon one year ago.
updated 10:47 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
CNN's Bill Weir talks to Carlos Arredondo about helping those injured immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing.
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
By running in response to the tragedy, we weren't attempting to negate the irreparable harm done to the people of Boston last year. We wanted to do something, anything, to try to process it.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
All of our assumptions have turned out to be wrong. Here are four things we've learned since then:
updated 4:17 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been frozen in the public mind by four images.
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
Adrianne Haslet-Davis' life as a dancer was shattered last year at the Boston Marathon bombings.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
A man who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon attack is engaged to the woman he was waiting for at the finish line.
updated 10:21 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Mistaken identity in the hospital added to her family's grief.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
The slain MIT cop "was born to be a police officer."
updated 10:37 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
The graduate student from China followed her passion to Boston.
updated 1:10 AM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
Almost a year ago, 8-year-old Martin Richard wrote four simple words on a sign at school: No more hurting people.
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
Mery Daniel couldn't wait for Marathon. It was one of the things the aspiring doctor and Haitian immigrant loved most about living in Boston.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
After twin blasts shook Boston -- killing three and wounding more than 260 others -- investigators sprung into action looking for those responsible.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Sun April 28, 2013
The black Mercedes SUV sped down Spruce Street going about 70 mph, the driver struggling to maintain control. The vehicle had a busted headlight and flat tire.
Click through our galleries of the Boston Marathon bombing, from perspectives on the attack to the suspects, as well as the manhunt and celebrations in Boston after both suspects were found.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT