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A lucky high heel: Boston City Council president reflects on week

April 20, 2013|By Devin Kelly
  • A memorial takes shape on Boylston Street in Boston, Mass.
A memorial takes shape on Boylston Street in Boston, Mass. (Chitose Suzuki / MCT )

It came down to a high-heel shoe caught in a grate.

Stephen J. Murphy, president of the Boston City Council, took time Saturday to reflect on all that has happened in his city this week, beginning with the Boston Marathon bombings.

He told the Los Angeles Times he hasn't been able to shake the feeling that something as small as a stuck high heel kept him out of harm's way at the finish line of the race on Monday.

But that's what happened.

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He and his group were crossing a footbridge to get to the north side of Boylston Street near the finish line, where they would meet up with more friends.

The bridge had a grated surface, though, and a member of his group, Julie Kahn, the vice president of Entercom Communications, was struggling to walk.

“I’m having trouble with these heels,” Kahn said to Murphy’s wife, Bridget.

One heel caught in a grate and caused a delay of about 30 seconds, Murphy said.

Waiting on the bridge, Bridget Murphy snapped a photo of the race clock. It read 4:08:28.

At 4:09:45, the first blast went off just before the finish line on the north side of Boylston.

Murphy said he was standing at the bottom of the bridge about 50 feet away at the time.

“It was the minute before normal went to crazy, to controlled chaos,” Murphy said. When he looked to the right, he saw a “fireball, going up the side of the building.”

That 30-second delay “might have been the difference between life and death,” he said.

He also said he had heard other stories of close calls this week, including of a woman who took her jacket off and found shrapnel lodged an inch and a half away from her heart.

The week that opened with tragedy ended on a high note for Murphy and other Boston officials. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspect in the bombing, was taken into custody after a standoff with police Friday night. His brother, Tamerlan, 26, had been killed in a shootout with police early Friday morning.

Bostonians had not been allowed to leave their homes Friday with a citywide lockdown in place.

“It’s quite a balance you strike to maintain your freedom,” Murphy said. “We had to go into a police state to fight for a concept of freedom. We gave up our freedom.”


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Twitter: @devkelly17

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