During the long weekend of the Boston Marathon, Back Bay and surrounding neighborhoods become packed with runners and their fans. We locals do our best to avoid Newbury Street, Boylston Street, restaurants, and everything else we rely on the rest of the year. We hunker down when we're not out cheering on the runners.
By the time Wednesday rolls around, neighborhood life is back to normal. I went for a walk to Beacon Hill yesterday. As I walked down the Commonwealth Avenue mall, I saw tree crews in cherry pickers removing the Christmas lights.
One of the Marathon's benefits for residents is that our parks and public areas get spiffed up with paint, cleaning, and landscaping — usually just in time for the race. We get to enjoy that, too, after all the trash is picked up and the barricades go away on Tuesday.
As you can see, the Public Garden is looking good, with the swan boats back in business on the freshly filled lagoon:
Leaves were budding and trees and flowers were blooming everywhere I looked.
This was not a good year for the magnolias, however, since a late snowstorm shriveled the early blooms on the sunny side of Commonwealth Avenue, which are usually the stars of the show. The trees on the other side of the street are blooming now, but half-heartedly.
There were still plenty of tourists in town yesterday — there always are, even in the dead of winter — but they're back to reasonable levels. When I walk around, especially during the day, I often hear more conversations in foreign languages than in English. They remind me of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and historic area that others endure long, costly plane trips to appreciate it. (I do the same thing in Paris and Venice, after all.)
I think these are Bradford pears flowering along Pickney Street, making a white canopy up the hill:
It's always nice to see Rouvalis, on West Cedar Street, in high gear:
That's a tourist, by the way, pretending to walk into the shop as her friend takes her photo.
Just around the corner from the shop, I (and a lady with a city map) admired this townhouse covered in window boxes filled with lush hydrangeas. They must be loyal customers. A lot of early window box plantings were ruined by the snowstorm, too, but I think we're out of the woods now.