BOSTON — Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice and Waterville resident Joseph Jabar described a surreal scene of deserted streets in the downtown area, where he was attending a judicial conference Friday morning.
“It’s kind of an eerie sight outside when you see Boston shut down with no traffic, especially Newbury Street and Boylston Street and Huntington Avenue,” Jabar said. “My wife was hoping to get out on the streets, but all the shops are closed, the museums are closed. You can’t get out on the street.”
Jabar said downtown Boston seemed almost back to normal following the marathon bombings when he and his wife, Renee, arrived Thursday. With Boylston Street blocked off by Humvees, they had to take an alternate route to get to the Copley Square Hotel. Otherwise, the city was bustling.
They learned about the overnight shoot-out with the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, and the ensuing manhunt, when they turned on the TV at 7:30 Friday morning. At the time, only a few suburbs had been shut down, but the entire city of Boston went into lockdown within an hour.
Jabar said most of the conference attendees were staying at the hotel, and most of the staff arrived before the lockdown, so the hotel restaurant was operating and the conference was proceeding as planned.
A pedestrian bridge connects the hotel to the mall at the Prudential Center, but all the shops and restaurants were closed there, Jabar said.
“It’s unbelievable for a city of this size to shut down,” he said.