Snowbound: Downtown Boston Comes Together in a Blizzard

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Posted February 11, 2013 by Scott Kearnan in Downtown Boston
Partygoers braved the blizzard to hit GEM in Downtown Boston. Photo: Toan Trinh Photography.

Partygoers braved the blizzard to hit GEM in Downtown Boston. Photo: Toan Trinh Photography.

There’s a lot to love about New England blizzards . . . Yes, I’m serious.

Sure, they lead to the inevitable parking spot spats and make your walk to work a little slushy. But really these are small prices to pay for some of the more positive things that came from last weekend’s massive snowstorm. Seeing downtown Boston blanketed in fluffy fields of white snow will warm the heart of any true-blue Bostonian. Hearing stories of locals coming together–shoveling out each other’s storefront sidewalks, for instance–is a testament to the deeply rooted neighborliness of the city. And let’s be honest, didn’t you sort of love being forced to hibernate for a weekend? It’s like Mother Nature was wagging her wet finger at us and saying, “Slow down, everybody!”

Of course, we’re a hearty bunch in New England. And while many businesses around the city were forced to close over the weekend, the unique accessibility of downtown Boston made it possible for some places to stay open and give locals a safe haven from the storm.

“We were swarmed,” said Vanessa Nowack, a server at Good Life in downtown Boston. Although the restaurant and popular night spot closed early on Friday due to the blizzard, suits from the Financial District and other festive folks stopped in on their way home to raise an afternoon toast to the wintry weekend ahead. “It was a lot of fun!” said Nowack. “In a way, it felt like it brought people together.”

Once the snow stopped, some businesses had a hard time reopening for weekend crowds — some, but definitely not all. “It was the perfect spot for a blizzard party!” said Joe O’Connor, bar director for Big Night Entertainment Group. I asked him about bartending at the nightspot GEM on Saturday. Some of the smaller streets still weren’t totally plowed, but GEM wanted to make sure nearby residents with cabin fever still had a place to hang out, enjoy a change of scenery, and maybe even meet some fellow snowbirds.

Naturally, not even the freezing cold and snow mounds could keep downtown crowds away, O’Connor said. They still showed up for a fun-filled Saturday night with DJ Gommert spinning. “The warm and cozy feel of the atmosphere on the second floor, away from the storm, was great,” said O’Connor. “There was great energy, and anytime you can pull off something that nobody expects, it adds to the feel. It was the perfect snow party.” (Check out the photo of sweater-clad partygoers from Saturday night, courtesy of Toan Trinh Photography.)

Something even sweeter went on this weekend at the Revere Hotel, one of the newest hot spots in downtown Boston. Aggelos Panagopoulos, manager of the hotel’s green-lit nightspot Emerald Lounge, told me that the bar actually hosted an impromptu marriage proposal on Friday night. Emerald stayed open to give hotel guests and cooped-up residents a place to meet up with friends.

After his original dinner plans were cancelled due to the storm, guest Kevin Deane wound up proposing to his girlfriend Sarah Robertson in the middle of Emerald. The creative Casanova spelled out “Marry me” on a Scrabble board, one of several games the lounge left out for guests. Then they sipped champagne in the venue’s VIP-only Ruby Room. Oh, she said yes, by the way! The Revere Hotel even shared their photo with me.

She said “Yes!” A snowed-in scenario led to a surprise marriage proposal at Emerald Lounge in the Revere Hotel. (Photo courtesy of Revere Hotel.)

“The blizzard was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Deane in a follow-up email to the Revere Hotel.

If it means more stories like this, then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

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