By Tim McLaughlin
BOSTON (Reuters) - Shaken but determined, Bostonians struggled to get back to their workday routines on Tuesday, the day after a twin bombing wreaked havoc during the city's world-famous marathon and led to the closure of a wide area of Boston's city centre.
The explosions, which killed three people and injured dozens, tore apart a cherished annual event and made the return from a three-day weekend difficult for many commuters.
Despite the horror that unfolded at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day, a Massachusetts state holiday, some wanted to get back to work as a message of defiance to the perpetrators of the attack.
"I simply refuse to let a few deranged people intimidate me and get me away from my routine," said George Meier, 56, an information technology manager for a Boston pharmaceutical company.
Ropes & Gray LLP, one of Boston's most prestigious law firms, reported high attendance even though its main office is just a few blocks from where the bombs exploded, said Brad Malt, chairman of the firm's management committee.
Douglas MacLean admitted plodding through the work day, still shaking off the close call he had while running his 21st Boston Marathon.
The 46-year-old lawyer, head of Armor Law Group that advises hedge funds and private equity firms, was just a few hundred yards shy of the finish line when the first bomb exploded.
He now plans on going on a family vacation he considered not taking because he thought he was too busy.
"I want to be with my family," MacLean said. "I'm alive and definitely have a different view on life right now."
CRIME SCENE NARROWED
To be sure, some of the city's biggest financial service firms had to keep workers at home because their offices are near or within a 12-block crime scene at Copley Square, where the two bombs exploded Monday afternoon, ripping indiscriminately through spectators, race officials and runners.
"We want you to live your life. We want you to be vigilant. There is no reason not to come into the city," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who narrowed the cordoned-off area to about 12 blocks from an initial 15.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said the state would be open for business, "but it will not be business as usual." He told commuters using public transport to expect a beefed-up police presence, including random searches of packages, bags, and backpacks.
Sam New, a 31-year-old non-profit worker near Boston's financial district, said he didn't change his commuting routine at all.
"There was a lot of hysteria right after the attack, but I think people have calmed down," New said.
Cab driver Gary Buchanan, 57, said Boston was a "ghost town" in the hours after the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the hijacked plane attacks of September 11, 2001. "It was dead," Buchanan said Tuesday morning after completing a 12-hour shift.
At Fidelity Investments, which manages $1.7 trillion (1.1 trillion pounds) in U.S. investment assets, spokesman Adam Banker said an investment centre would be closed on Tuesday because it lies within the no-go zone. But money managers for funds such as Contrafund and Magellan work at offices in another section of the city and would report to their jobs.
Fortunately it was vacation week for many of the area's schools, making commuter traffic much lighter than usual. But Boston is a busy destination for school children and their parents looking for something to do.
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, located on the edge of the city's financial district, on Tuesday considered shutting down during a weekly manager's meeting.
"We asked, 'Do we open or do we close?'" said Shawn Ford, executive director of the museum. "We said, 'Damn it, We're open.' People will come here to learn what the Boston patriots sacrificed for us to give us this freedom."
(Additional reporting by Ross Kerber, Scott Malone, Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Suzanne Barlyn; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)