It’s been four months since the Marathon day bombings, and Copley Square has largely returned to normal - almost.
The shuttered Forum Bar and Restaurant remains one of the last physical reminders on Boylston Street of that day’s destruction. But that is scheduled to change by the end of this week.
It was the epicenter of the second explosion - a scene of horror - lives left shattered like the glass that littered the ground. Today, Forum remains a symbolic ground zero for visitors paying respect to the victims or to the simply curious.
Chicago resident Greg Engler and his family stopped in front of the restaurant on a recent visit to Boston.
“We were looking to see where the bombing happened," he said as he glanced up and down Boylston Street. "And to be honest with you, I’m not sure if we found it. The finish line looked so much closer on TV. But this is actually where the second one was. We wanted to see it.”
Not much marks the spot. A lamppost in front of the building has a blue and white wreath of cloth hearts wrapped around it.
While the façade of Forum remains boarded up – the restaurant’s inside is filled with the din and clamor of construction. Workers wash away traces of the old, construction workers put final pieces in place, and new waitstaff train for the Forum’s reopening - a grand unveiling to coincide with the bombing’s four-month anniversary. For some Boston residents, it’s not a day too soon.
John Stagnone, who works in the Copley area, expressed his relief that the restaurant is opening.
“Hopefully it’s the final step back to normalcy at this point," he said.
For Leah Kowalewski, who also works in the area, that sense of normalcy brings comfort.
“I think it’ll be great," she said. ”It’ll definitely give a sense of security and then finally we can get back to doing what we’ve been doing before.”
But, she added, “I’ll never forget what happened."
William Selden, a manager at neighboring restaurant Abe & Louie’s, has great praise for the way the city came together to help rebuild.
“There’s been a lot of support from the community, even outside of Boston,” he said. “It’s very encouraging walking down the street. You see a lot more people. I walk up and down everyday.”
And as of Thursday, August 15, when Forum opens its doors to the public, when the windows and patio once again open up to passersby, that block of Boylston Street will once again be restored.
“Complete,” Selden said, describing the feeling. “You know, I think it’ll make this block whole again. It’s certainly nice to see them finally open. And I think it’s the last piece of the puzzle."