In my opinion, it had been a tough year for the neighborhood Boston calls "Back Bay." Our only family drugstore, a fixture opposite the Lenox Hotel for decades, closed after three discount giants bunched around it like Davy Crockett's shot pattern. A candy store on Newbury Street also left, thereby eliminating the irony of the diet center occupying the retail space directly beneath it. And the Exeter Street Theatre building had suffered a devastating fire, nearly destroying one of the city's most upscale landmarks.
Concepts like "upscale" and "landmark" struck me all the more that Tuesday morning as I climbed the stairs of...