SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

April 20, 2013

City uneasy, its streets deserted

BOSTON — The Red Sox and the Bruins both scrapped their games. The famous Bull Market at Faneuil Hall was closed, and there were more pigeons than tourists on City Hall Plaza. Even the Starbucks at Government Center was shuttered.

The killing of one suspected Boston Marathon bomber and the manhunt for another brought life in large swaths of the notoriously gridlocked Beantown to a screeching halt, leaving residents and tourists alike frustrated and angry.

“It took me an hour and a half to find a coffee this morning,” Daniel Miller, a financier from New York, said as he wandered the desolate plaza beside a statue of patriot Samuel Adams. “I was joking with a person that I guess the strategy is we’ll make this person not be able to get a coffee in the morning, and maybe they’ll give up.”

For Steve Parlin, who is staying at a veterans’ shelter on Court Street, in the shadow of City Hall, the scene was nothing to joke about.

“Helicopters are flying over,” the Gulf War-era Coast Guard veteran said as he strolled across the plaza, a bottle of water in his hand. “Everything’s closed. It’s creepy. Machine guns. Creepy.”

Gov. Deval Patrick, Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis ordered all people in the city of Boston to shelter in place. Several area colleges and universities were locked down. Commuter rail, bus and subway service were suspended, and thousands of workers were told to stay home.

Filming for director David O. Russell’s movie “American Hustle” was halted because of the manhunt and lockdown. The mayhem also interrupted Dallas couple Tom and Vy Nguyen’s fifth wedding anniversary trip to the city.

The couple was hoping to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park and several other landmarks. Instead, they were having a hard time just finding a restaurant that was open.

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