Officials were slowly reopening Boylston Street in Boston to residents… (Justin Lane / EPA )
Business owners and residents began making their first return Tuesday to the site of the April 15 Boston Marathon blasts as the city continued its crawl back to normality.
Over the weekend, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino called Boylston Street “now the most famous street in the world” -- a distinction more grim than touristic, after back-to-back explosions turned several Back Bay-neighborhood city blocks into a crime scene.
On Monday evening, the FBI formally turned over control of Boylston Street to city officials, who were still making sure the area was safe for public return.
In a ceremony, FBI officials -- who had combed the area for evidence and clues for a week after the twin blasts killed three people and wounded more than 200 others -- presented the flag that had been flying over the marathon finish line to the city's mayor.
Officials have planned a block-by-block return for business owners Tuesday in preparation for a full public reopening.
It won't be a swift return to normality. Residents and business operators were told to head to the Hynes Convention Center to meet city staff for the phased reopenings between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday. Private vehicles were not yet allowed inside the blast zone.
Officials warned Bostonians that some repairs may be necessary to buildings after the blasts and the response that followed, and there was no date set yet for Boylston Street's full reopening.
Don Botts, who commutes from Cranston, R.I., to work in the building closest to where the first blast detonated, said he and his coworkers had been locked out of their office for a week and that their building manager had not been able to get into the area to repair windows and secure the building. He's been telecommuting since the explosions.
"After a week, it gets a little tough," he said.
Botts was home at the time of the explosion, but one of his coworkers had run the marathon and has been without his work laptop for the last week, which he'd left inside the now-closed office.
"You never really plan on being out of the office for that extended amount of time," Botts said.
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