Marathon 2014 will be different. But if next year will be a corrective, what will the race look like in five years? And how will we tell the story of what happened?
All day long, they file past a formation of reporters and TV cameras camped outside the granite fortress, past the police officers defending the door, and into the cavernous high-ceilinged hall that Guardsmen once used for drills and that the Boston Park Plaza Hotel across the street now uses as overflow function space.
The former armory, better known as “the Castle,” sits at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Arlington Street. That puts it just a few blocks from the stretch of Boylston Street where madness had struck.
The building’s assigned function on April 16, this sad day after the Marathon bombings, is of the unemotional type, as a depot. When thousands of runners had been hurried off the course after the twin blasts, they were prevented from receiving their medals and collecting the bright yellow bags, marked with their bib numbers, that stored their phones, wallets, and change of clothes. Now they are showing up to reclaim what is theirs. This should be a straightforward transaction conducted inside a cold gray building made more imposing by the menacing dragon carved into its granite tower. There is no indication that the place will turn into a house of healing.