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During manhunt for dangerous bombing suspect, Allston becomes a ghost town

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  April 19, 2013 02:52 PM

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(Matt Rocheleau for Boston.com)

In the Boston neighborhood of Allston, most residents heeded warnings from law enforcement to stay put on Friday and most businesses complied with the urging not to open while a massive manhunt was being carried out to try to track down one of the suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

Compared to a normal day, much of the neighborhood was a ghost town.

At Commonwealth and Harvard avenues, a normally bustling intersection, only few cars rolled through around mid-morning. Pedestrians and cyclists were rare.

The vast majority of businesses were closed, including convenience stores, fast food shops, liquor stores and bars that have reputations for staying open through some harrowing hurricanes and wicked winter weather.

But one quintessentially-Boston business drew a relatively-steady flow of patrons.

Inside Dunkin Donuts, it seemed like business as usual.

James Turnbull, 26, walked from a nearby friend's house to get coffee and breakfast.

When they had stepped out of his friend's apartment, "We looked on the sidewalk and the only thing we saw was a plastic bag just floating around down the street. It was like an urban tumbleweed."

Turnbull lives in Mansfield but went bowling with his friend Thursday night and stayed at his place.

"I just kind of got stuck here," he said.

Turnbull said he and his friend stayed up until 1 a.m. last night closely monitoring Twitter while simultaneously watching the news and listening to a police radio scanner to try to take in all of the chaos.

"We saw a Google map of where everything has happened since last night. It was so spread out. It was crazy," said Turnbull.

They went to bed when they did expecting they'd have to be up to go to work in the morning. But they awoke to emails saying the T was not running and their downtown offices were closed.

He said he's hopeful that the remaining suspect will be caught soon.

"At the moment, it doesn't seem like it's going to end well for him," said Turnbull.

Sitting at a table in the Dunkin Donuts a 29-year-old Allston man, who declined to give his name, said he'd rather be in the coffee shop than at his own apartment. When asked why, he pointed to a woman working behind the counter.

"That's my girlfriend. That's the reason I'm here," he said. "I just want to make sure she's alright."

"I have no idea what to say about all of it," the man added. "All I want to know is what everyone else wants to know -- why?"

For the latest and complete coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, visit Boston.com.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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(Matt Rocheleau for Boston.com)

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