Late Jazz Artist Fundraising Show to Close Down Spencer Gallery

Late Jazz Artist Fundraising Show to Close Down Spencer Gallery

By Seth Daniel

The late Victor Bailey, a world-renowned jazz musician and painter, will be honored on Dec. 9 at the final show in the Spencer Lofts Gallery. Bailey was a resident of the Lofts for about two years before passing last year.

The late Victor Bailey, a world-renowned jazz musician and painter, will be honored on Dec. 9 at the final show in the Spencer
Lofts Gallery. Bailey was a resident of the Lofts for about two years before passing last year.

It’s only appropriate that Victor Bailey would close down the Spencer Lofts Gallery.

The world-famous jazz musician, who passed away last year from complications related to MS/ALS, once lived at the Spencer Lofts while working as a bass professor at Berklee College of Music. After taking up art as well as music, he had a great collection of works that were expertly shown in the gallery when it re-opened two years ago. It drew a major crowd and was a highlight for the long-time gallery in the loft building.

“He passed away in November 2016 and lived here about two years ago,” said Dar DeVita, who coordinates the gallery and announced this week that Bailey’s fundraising show would be the last show there. “He was a lovely man and everyone got along great with him here. He was always so happy and loved it here. He really loved that people in the building knew him for his painting, and not just his jazz. After we had closed the first time, he was our re-opening show. Now, sadly, he will be our last show before we close again.”

The fundraiser will benefit Bailey’s estate through the proceeds from the many works that remain in his family’s possession. Bailey’s paintings will be on display in the gallery and will be available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit the Victor Bailey Estate and the Berklee College of Music.

The time will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4-8 p.m. in the Gallery at Spencer Lofts. Parking is available on site.

Additionally, several of Bailey’s colleagues from Berklee will be on hand to play live jazz music throughout the evening – which will be a tribute to not only his music prowess, but also his artistic abilities.

Born into a music family in Philadelphia in 1960, Bailey attended Berklee and launched a hugely successful jazz career, while also writing many well-known R&B songs for major artists.

An accomplished bassist, Bailey was an Associate Professor of Bass at Berklee College of Music. He performed and recorded with Sonny Rollins, Lady Gaga, Miriam Makeba, Madonna, Mary J. Blige and many others during his long, notable career. He also recorded with Chelsea’s own Chick Corea from time to time.

Bailey was the bassist in two of the most influential jazz-fusion groups: Weather Report (he replaced the legendary Jaco Pastorius) and Steps Ahead.

Bailey drew up upon his jazz career for inspiration in his art career.

DeVita said it will be a bittersweet evening for the Gallery though, as it is closing down for good. Though many Chelsea residents have treasured its contributions to the arts scene in the city, DeVita said many of the residents in the building are not interested anymore.

“We are closing it down,” she said. “I’ve resigned as of Jan. 1 and there is no one taking over. The building doesn’t understand the value of the gallery and my time is up. I’m hoping the show will spark some interest in someone to take over. Maybe it will be a person in the building that will see the value of this and want to keep it going. If not, it will just close.”

The Gallery was a coup for Chelsea when the lofts were built more than a decade ago, one of the few arts locales in the City.

Reception and admission to the Gallery are free and open to the public. The Victor Bailey Exhibit runs through December 31, 2017. Gallery hours by appointment.

Accessible parking is available, as is on-street parking.

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X Bonnie Woods to Show ‘Gravity in Black & White’

The Gallery at Spencer Lofts announces X BONNIE WOODS: GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE, a solo exhibition of recent works by painter X Bonnie Woods. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept 22, at 6 p.m.

Chelsea resident X Bonnie Woods will present 'GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE’ at the Gallery@Spencer Lofts from Sept. 12 to Oct. 23. An artist reception will take place on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.

Chelsea resident X Bonnie Woods will present ‘GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE’ at the Gallery@Spencer Lofts from Sept. 12 to Oct. 23. An artist reception will take place on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.

Berlin- and Chelsea-based artist and designer X Woods has widely exhibited her paintings and photographs in Europe and the U.S. A documentary photographer at Ground Zero in Sept-Oct 2001, in post-Katrina New Orleans, and for the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012, she recently curated an exhibition of 70 American photos and videos which traveled to four German cities. GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE will feature works on folded paper painted with sumi, a dense black Asian ink. Forgoing conventional brushes, X Woods creates her own painting tools and works outdoors in all weather, allowing the elements to create effects with water-tension and gravity.

Reception and admission to the Gallery are free and open to the public.

The X BONNIE WOODS: GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE exhibition runs through Sunday, Oct 23. Gallery hours as noted below; otherwise by appointment.

Gallery hours, 2-6 p.m., attended by the artist, as follows:

  • Sept 17-18
  • Sept 24-25
  • Oct 1-2
  • Oct 8-9
  • Oct 15-16
  • Oct 22-23

The Gallery at Spencer Lofts is located at 60 Dudley Street, corner of Webster Ave & Dudley St, Chelsea MA 02150. The Gallery is wheelchair accessible. Accessible parking is available, as is on-street parking.

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Police Briefs 05-12-2016

Monday, 4/25

Anna Andrades, 54, 768 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for distribution of Class A drug, conspiracy to violate drug law.

Olga Torres, 55, 113 Spencer Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, possessing Class A drug.

Francisco Correa, 40, 28 Malden St., Everett, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, distribution of Class A drug.

Brian Kobs, 31, 14 Reynolds Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for interfering with police officer, threat to commit crime, 6 warrants.

Carla Borum, 48, 165 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for being incapacitated person.

Oscar Oliva, 24, 1926 Franklin Rd., Nassua, NY, was arrested on a warrant.

Julio Mota, 34, 442 Sumner St., East Boston, was arrested for robbery, armed firearm & masked, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, robbery, firearm-armed & masked, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, 3 counts of intimidation.

Michel Nogueira, 24, 122 Bennington St., East Boston, was arrested for robbery, firearm-armed & masked (2 counts), aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (2 counts), intimidation (3 counts), trespassing.

William Rios, 44, 220 Webster Ave., robbery, firearm-armed & masked ( 2 counts), aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (2 counts), intimidation (3 counts) receiving stolen property +250 (2 counts), trespassing.

Jeffrey Jean-Charles, 27, 104 Bow St., Everett, was arrested for trespassing.

Tuesday, 4/26

Nain Montiel, 46, 87 Garland St., Everett, was arrested for trespassing.

Claudia Dias, 42, 189 Campbell Ave., Revere, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Wednesday, 4/27

Dionicio Ayala-Roche, 30, 155 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Claudia Dias, 42, 189 Campbell Ave., Revere, was arrested for affray, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.

Eddie Bailey, 47, 122 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Eddie Bailey, 47, 122 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Joyce Ratcliffe, 55, 32 Annese Rd., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Farah Ibrahim, 21, 4 Clinton Ct., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Diego Merino, 27, 119 High St., Haverhill, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Wilver Merino, 36, 206 Lexington St., East Boston, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and affray.

Thursday, 4/28

Juvenile Offender, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime for felony, larceny over $250.

Jefferson Dyett, 27, 215 Spencer Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for lewd, wanton & lascivious conduct, possessing Class B drug and trespassing.

Stacy Gordon, 36, 24 Wamesit Ave,. Saugus, was arrested for lewd, wanton & lascivious conduct, trespassing, possessing Class B drug.

Friday, 4/29

Edward Craffey, 67, 8 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, possessing Class B drug.

Deqyann Whyte, 24, 14 Torrey St., Dorchester, was arrested for distribution of Class B drug, possessing to distribute Class B drug, possessing to distribute Class A drug, Conspiracy to violate drug law, intimdation, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Adrianna White, 25, 55 Milk St.,Methuen, was arrested on a warrant.

Saturday, 4/30

Juvenile offender, was arrested on probation warrant.

Christopher Gallagher, 48, 1 Breed Ave., Woburn, was arrested for unarmed robbery, assault and battery on pregnant person.

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TND Ready to Respond to Neighbors

After a fast and furious opposition emerged from Mill Hill neighbors to the 60-unit affordable housing apartment building proposed at the French Club over the past month, The Neighborhood Developers said it will take comments to heart, but defended the need for affordable housing in that neighborhood.

“We’ll spend the next month revising our plans and hopefully correct the problem areas and address them and continue our effort to create affordable housing for people who are living her and want to continue living her, and simply continuing Chelsea’s great revival,” said TND Director Ann Houston this week. “Clearly we’re a little surprised at the response because we know how much Chelsea needs affordable housing. We’ve been hearing from so many residents in Chelsea and city officials about the need for housing affordable to Chelsea residents who have been here. There is a growing concern about gentrification.”

She cited that the last affordable housing project they did in Chelsea garnered 1,200 applications – many more than the number of units available.

TND has been active in Chelsea for many years and successfully developed The Box District and other smaller projects in the central part of the city. However, when acquiring the French Club and its parking lot and beginning to develop near a much more traditional residential neighborhood – that being Mill Hill – the affordable housing developers ran into a wall of sudden opposition.

TND purchased the former Club for $975,000 in September 2014, and purchased the parking lot next door this past March. An extension of Spencer Avenue running between the Club and the parking lot was discontinued by the City Council in early May – and many neighbors have said they were not apprised of that change.

Hundreds of neighbors have signed petitions against the project, and many believe there is already too much affordable housing in Chelsea. Others have said they would like to see home ownership opportunities at the site.

Councillor Matt Frank, who initially supported the project, said last week that he has withdrawn that support because his constituents are so adamantly opposed to the project and because he doesn’t believe there was enough communication.

TND folks, however, said that the average income in Mill Hill is $57,000 and that’s well-within the limits for affordable housing. They also said that most of the development in that area of the City has been market rate housing, and other such market-rate developments threaten to drive up rents all over Chelsea.

“There has been right around the elementary school a fair amount of housing developed, but not for families or children,” said Houston. “We were and continue to be very excited to develop housing at this site that is really affordable to families in Chelsea and is able to get children right across the street to the Burke elementary complex. We do have to continue to make sure we have housing for people who have been in Chelsea and have been Chelsea residents and who we fear will be pushed out. We see a proposal for a 692-unit apartment complex that’s all market rate on Everett Avenue. That can help drive up rents across the community.”

Aside from that, though, Houston said they have heard Mill Hill loud and clear.

“We have heard concerns neighbors have raised and we’re taking them very, very seriously,” she said. “We wish we would have had the opportunity to talk outside a public meeting. We appreciate that didn’t happen and will find other opportunities to sit down with the neighbors.”

TND’s Emily Loomis said they believe there was good communication on the project, something TND has been criticized about.

She said they knocked on doors, had conversations and answered questions. If no one answered the door, they left fliers with information about the proposal.

Another point of contention has been the discontinued street on Spencer Avenue, which many Mill Hill residents use to get to the City Hall area without having to go all the way down Broadway.

“I’m not sure if people realize there’s still a cut through on Toomey Street,” Houston said. “Taking the street was in line with the other sorts of actions the City has done to help development, particularly private development. I am sure if you’re used to the cut-through, it feels significant, but taking Toomey Street curve will quickly become the normal driving pattern and won’t represent a problem.”

Finally, TND said it didn’t believe there were any conflicts of interest that played a part in the development of the French Club.

Planning Board Chair Tuck Willis is on the Board of Directors for TND and, thus, was listed on the deed for the entity that purchased the French Club. That said, Willis recused himself from the proceedings, and other members of the Planning Board with ties to TND are simply volunteers.

“I think the state Conflict of Interest law is very, very clear and mean to protect against these things,” she said. “I think you saw that when the one member with ties to TND recused himself in a good and forthright manner. One other member of the Planning Board volunteers with TND (Henry Wilson) and was frankly one of our toughest questioners. I noted members nodding in support of neighbors. I am sure when they’re ready to make a decision, they’ll make an unbiased suggestion…We don’t think we have a tight ‘in’ with either of the boards. We think people have been operating in a very forthright manner.”

The matter will be addressed at the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 14, and then again at the Planning Board on July 28.

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Frank Will Advocate Revoking French Club’s Licenses

Frank Will Advocate Revoking French Club’s Licenses

In the wake of the fatal shooting at the French Club on Spencer Avenue last Saturday, Council President Matt Frank – who represents that area – said he would like to have a closer look at all the social clubs in the city and he would call for a revocation of the French Club’s licenses.

He said he has run up against problems at the French Club for quite some time, and the genesis of those complaints – and Saturday’s shooting – is that the Club is operating more as a bar and not a private social club.

“I plan on being at the License Commission meeting when they talk about this and as a City Councillor I will be calling for suspension or revocation their license,” he said. “They obviously didn’t have control of their clientele last Saturday and they shouldn’t have clientele. They should have a membership…The French Club is not a bar and it’s operating as a bar. One of my biggest concerns has been coming up with a plan of enforcing these social clubs that act as bars. If these places want to operate as a club or a bar, they cannot do it with a social club license. That’s not what it’s for.”

He said the large number of social clubs in the city operate as intended – a private club with a known membership. He said now might be the time to call all social clubs up to the Council to review each club’s policies.

“I think maybe we need to ask the social clubs across the city about their policies,” he said. “Most of them in my district – except for the French Club – have a very strict policy. At most of them, unless you’re a member, you don’t go inside. That may be off-putting to some, but it’s how these clubs are legally supposed to operate.” Social clubs were once extremely popular in the city and thousands belonged to various clubs. However, as demographics and the culture of society has changed, social clubs have waned in popularity. Many remain very small and tight-knit while others – such as the St. Andrew’s Club – no longer exist. Other, though, have turned waning clubs into entertainment venues.

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Gallery Farewell a Loss for Artists, Arts Community

Gallery Farewell a Loss for Artists, Arts Community

Many (such as these two visitors) have enjoyed art shows over the past several years at the Gallery@Spencer Lofts, including residents of the condo building and members of the community. Sadly, the gallery in its current form will close on Dec. 11. It's future is still in doubt, but Board members hope to keep it as some sort of art resource.

Many (such as these two visitors) have enjoyed art shows over the past several years at the
Gallery@Spencer Lofts, including residents of the condo building and members of the community.
Sadly, the gallery in its current form will close on Dec. 11. It’s future is still in doubt,
but Board members hope to keep it as some sort of art resource.

It has been said that all good things come to an end – and that those things typically are sped along to their demise by lawyers and insurance companies.

Such is the case for the popular Gallery@Spencer Lofts – one of the City’s first residential art galleries that came about during the resurgence of the local arts community over the last decade. The Gallery will officially close in its current form on Dec. 11, following the end of a show by Chelsea artist X Bonnie Woods. Supporters of the Gallery will hold a farewell party at that time from 6-9 p.m., they said.

Darlene DeVita – a photographer who owns a unit in Spencer Lofts – said she was the first person to purchase a unit in 2004 and that decision was heavily influenced by the gallery within the development. She said she worked carefully with one of the developers, Paul Cohen, who had a vision of building and maintaining a gallery there. Over the years, it’s had it’s ups and downs, DeVita said, but she believed it was now on the upswing in part due to its inclusion in the annual Chelsea ArtWalk event.

“People are very disappointed,” DeVita said. “This has been a very central space to the arts community in Chelsea and has been supported by so many people. Now we’re losing it. It was built as a gallery and was always supposed to be a gallery. The idea was that we would get people over the Bridge and get more artists over to Chelsea. We did that in a lot of ways. Now we’re taking away this valuable space. It’s a huge loss.”

She said it is particularly hard to stomach due to the fact that 2014 was looking to be a very busy year for the space.

“We had just updated our mailing list and things were really staring to move forward and we were getting calls from artists who wanted shows in 2014,” she said. “We thought it was really going to be a positive year and a year where we could move the space forward. We had also had such positive feedback during the ArtWalk. It seemed everything was getting better and then this. It’s just not what we needed.”

What essentially happened was that new insurance requirements were imposed on the condo association, causing the Board to take a second look at how the gallery was operating. Also, one board member said, others in the association wanted to use the space for events that were non-art related. Because it is a common space, that had to be considered.

However, Board Member Keith Brooks said all is not lost, and that the gallery will likely still be used for art shows, but just not all the time in a dedicated fashion.

“We have some insurance requirements we have to meet and we are trying to make the space more Spencer Lofts focused,” Brooks said. “We also have an obligation to the ownership, as this is a multi-use common area according to our condo docs, to make it more available for their individual use. Going forward we will develop a plan to have guest artists but it will be up to an owner to sponsor them and take responsibility for the show. The Board has also begun plans for next year’s Art Walk to showcase the artists who live here at Spencer. We think it will be very exciting.”

Though the gallery is in a private condo development, it had really become a public resource according to many in the community. Artists from Chelsea – such as Woods – frequently showed their work there, making it a nice resource to quickly get work out into the public eye. Also, openings for artist shows were frequently well attended by non-residents of the Lofts, including public officials like City Manager Jay Ash (a big supporter of the gallery) and members of other Chelsea organizations.

Margaret Carsley and her husband, Bob Boulrice, are both heavily involved in the community gardeners and also in the local art scene. Carsley said she loved the gallery as a resource and was sorry to see it be retired in its present form.

“I’m very sad to see the Lofts Gallery go,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful thing to see all the artists come through Chelsea – to meet artists from out of town and local artists as well – and see their works. We’ve only really got the Chelsea City Cafe and the Pearl Street Gallery now…It’s sad for all of us in Chelsea. We’re losing something that’s enriching and I think we’d all like to see more art in Chelsea.”

DeVita said she is sad because of all the hard work that was put into getting the gallery up and running in the beginning, as well as all the hard work in coordinating shows over the years.

“We really don’t know how the gallery is going to proceed until we all have a serious talk,” she said. “I would love to see it remain a gallery of some sort, even if it’s not what it is right now. I feel it’s valuable to the owners and to Chelsea.”

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Police Briefs 07-11-2013

Police Briefs 07-11-2013

July 1

Robert J. Mazzeo Sr., 55, of 20 Grandview Road, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery.

Carlos Hernandez, 19, of 15 Fifth Street, Chelsea, was arrested for carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a loaded firearm without a license, without possession of FID card, and miscellaneous motor vehicle ordinance bylaw violations.

Marcio Rubi, 54, of 20 Murray Street, Lynn, was arrested for operation of motor vehicle with suspended license, motor vehicle equipment violation and failing to wear a seatbelt.

Alicia Cohen, 34, of 124 Addison Street, Chelsea, was arrested for unarmed robbery and possession of Class B drug.

July 2

Terry Picardi, 37, of 2 Woodlawn Avenue, Chelsea, was arrested for straight warrant misdemeanor.

James M. Mark-Gray, 26, of 164 Maverick Street, Chelsea, was arrested for fugitive from justice on court warrant, two counts of warrant misdemeanor default, two counts of straight warrant felony, violation of an abuse prevention order.

Fernando Martinez, 68, of 14 Bloomingdale Street, Chelsea, was arrested for forcible rape of a child, and assault to rape.

Nicole Lopez, 35, of 12 George Street, Chelsea, was arrested for straight warrant misdemeanor, possession of Class A drug and assault.

Heather Ann Gormley, 36, of 228 Curwin Circle, Lynn, was arrested for straight warrant felony, and four counts of warrant misdemeanor default.

July 3

Anna Bailey, 28, of 52 Hawthorne Street, Chelsea, was arrested for straight warrant felony.

Derrick Willis, 47, of 72 Westmoreland Avenue, Boston, was arrested for larceny.

Katelyn Sweeney, 18, of 894 Shirley Street, Winthrop, was arrested for shoplifting.

Erick F. Vega, 20, of 131 Heard Street, Chelsea, was arrested for possession to distribute Class D drug.

Ramon Valdez, 19, of 83 Grove Street, Chelsea, was arrested for operation of motor vehicle with suspended license.

July 4

Joseph Baseman, 53, of 33 High, Lynn, was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer.

Shawn A. Edwards, 43, of 30 Warren Avenue, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery.

July 5

Edgard Mazimino Santos, 39, of 46 Lambert, Revere, was arrested for warrant misdemeanor default.

Raymond Borgos, 21, of 21 Dean Street, Boston, was arrested for violation of abuse prevention order, aggravated assault and battery on a pregnant person and witness intimidation.

Julio Capeles, 63, of 14 Bloomingdale Street, Chelsea, was arrested for indecent assault and battery on person with intellectual disability and witness intimidation.

Marco Lemus, 47, of 36 Blossom Street, Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing, possession of open alcoholic beverage in public, and resisting arrest.

Cesar A. Orantes, 34, of 256 Spencer Avenue, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Carlos Tomas Orantes, 33, of 256 Spencer Avenue, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery and larceny.

Ronald Scott, 41, of 115 Radcliff Street, Dorchester, was arrested for assault and battery.

July 6

Carlos Zavala, 44, of 111 Blossom Street, Chelsea, was arrested for possession of open alcoholic beverage in public.

Darwin O. Solis, 36, of 192 Shurtleff Street, Chelsea, was arrested for possession of open alcoholic beverage in public.

Sebastian Quiej, 50, of 71 Grove Street, Chelsea, was arrested for possession of open alcoholic beverage in public.

July 7

Jose Madrid, 49, of 26 Gardner Street, Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Rajaan Kenneth Walker, 19, of 174 Central Avenue, Chelsea, was arrested for unarmed robbery.

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Close Call: Chelsea Runner Gaudreau Just Finished the Race Minutes Before Explosions

Close Call: Chelsea Runner Gaudreau Just Finished the Race Minutes Before Explosions

Bobby Gaudreau is shown here with his three-yearold son. The Spencer Lofts resident finished the Boston Marathon on Monday just minutes before the bombs went off.

Bobby Gaudreau is shown
here with his three-yearold
son. The Spencer Lofts
resident finished the Boston
Marathon on Monday just
minutes before the bombs
went off.

Thank goodness for seven minutes.

Spencer Lofts resident Bobby Gaudreau has never been so thankful for just a few extra minutes, but those few minutes might have saved him from grievous injury, and certainly saved him from being at ground zero for Monday’s bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon.

Having come across the finish line, Gaudreau said he wasn’t feeling well and needed some salt and minor medical attention. After gathering his breath for a few minutes, he walked over to the medical tent.

He ate some chips.

They put a blanket on him.

Someone draped a medal over his neck.

Then a photographer came over to take his picture.

As the shutter snapped, about 200 yards away came the biggest boom Gaudreau had ever heard, and with that sound the world changed.

“Literally just as the guy snapped the picture the first bomb when off,” he said. “Like most other people, we thought it was a cannon or fireworks associated with the Marathon. There was so much smoke and it was a really loud sound, but no one knew what it was. Then, 20 seconds later, the other bomb went off. That’s when I remember thinking, ‘This is not good.’ I was about 200 or 300 yards away from that first bomb and it was really loud.”

After that, despite being physically limited from the run, Gaudreau said adrenaline started to kick in and everyone started scattering.

“What was really scary for me is I didn’t have my cell phone on me, and I run for the McCourt Family Foundation, so I had many friends and family with me to go to the post-Marathon party at the Lenox Hotel. I had seen my aunts and uncles in the grandstand yelling for me when I crossed the finish line, and I didn’t know who else might be caught up in this. That was really when reality started to hit.

“Smoke was still all over the place from the first bomb and about 10 ambulances raced past me,” he continued. “There was all this screaming you could hear, but you didn’t know if it was happy screaming or what. When you started seeing all the ambulances coming in so fast and the looks on the police officers’ faces, you knew this was very bad. I began to try to get to the Lenox to find my family and police officers were telling people to go back. I couldn’t go back. I didn’t even know where my wife and my son were.”

The next 20 minutes or so was total chaos.

“I would say it was controlled chaos,” he recalled. “You look back on it and everyone seemed to know what they were doing, but at the same time no one seemed to know what they were doing. I was confused. You began wondering that if bombs went off, are there other ones around? Is this just the start of something much larger? When you have so many people crammed in a small space with barricades and barriers, there are only so many places you can go to escape.”

Gaudreau said he kept trying to get to the Lenox Hotel, but every route he tried to take kept getting blocked off and police wouldn’t let him cross. He wandered around streets, halfway lost, seeing panicked people pass by with blood on their shirts and soot all over their bodies.

Finally, he found his way to the Lenox and got there just as they were blocking off the entrance. He managed to sneak past the barricades and get inside.

“I got there and it was just such a sense of relief because the police officer had put up a barricade and was telling me they were going to evacuate the hotel,” he said. “Right in the lobby of the hotel was a TV and you could really get an idea of what truly was going on.”

Gaudreau said he was fortunate in that his wife was still at work at an area hospital, and his son was still in daycare at Fanueil Hall. They hadn’t come down to see him finish.

“We agreed to meet at Fanueil Hall and they were evacuating the hotel, so I just started walking,” he said. “After running a Marathon, here I am walking a few more miles downtown. It was all adrenaline at that point.”

Gaudreau said making his way from the scene of the bombing to Fanueil Hall was extremely surreal because once he got to the Boston Common, no one knew what had happened.

Life was going on as usual, even though the world had been turned upside down a few blocks away.

“I got to Park Street Station and it was surreal; it was like being in a different world,” he said. “People were playing Frisbee, guys dressed like clowns were making balloon animals, and the Merry-Go-Round was going like nothing had happened,” he said. “Word was starting to spread, but I don’t think people really appreciated what was truly going on only a few blocks away.”

Once meeting his wife at Fanueil Hall, the family drove back to Chelsea to decompress and locate family members. Once they knew everyone was safe, Gaudreau said they went to Charlestown to be around friends who had also been running.

“We met at Ironsides in Charlestown and kind of had our own therapy session there,” he said.

Gaudreau, 38, is a veteran marathon runner – having completed 17 races, nine of them being the Boston Marathon – and Monday’s race was one of his career-best efforts as he officially came in under his goal of four hours. A Vice President of Sales at the software company IMN and running for the McCourt Foundation – a well-known family whom he has known all his life – Gaudreau had hit a jolt of energy with about three miles to go.

He said everything had worked out for him like never before, making the post-race events that much more ironic.

“This was the best time I’ve had,” he said. “It was by far the best marathon I’ve ever done, and it was my 17th marathon. Everything just came together. The crowd was larger than I’ve ever seen. My time was right where I wanted it to be. The weather was fantastic.”

Naturally, when he thinks back to how he ran the race, he said he begins to consider the what-ifs.

“This year I didn’t eat right and started to feel it towards the end,” he said. “Right before you turn onto Boylston Street, I stopped and actually stretched a little on the scaffolding to the side. I keep thinking that I very easily could have waited another quarter-mile and stretched there. That would have meant being right where the bomb went off.”

And that’s why just a handful of minutes make such a difference.

DID YOU RUN THE MARATHON?

A group of City leaders are teaming up to reach out to local residents who may have run in this past Monday’s Boston Marathon. City Manager Jay Ash, City Councillor Leo Robinson, CHS Athletic Director Frank DePatto and School Committeewoman Jeanette Velez are eager to help local marathoners bring some sense of closure to the race marred by the bombing attack that happened at the finish line.

“We’d like to make sure that our marathoners are alright, physically and mentally, and we’d like to recognize their feat in a special way,” said Ash.  The group is available to aid marathoners in searching for belongings, reaching out to the Boston Athletic Association to coordinate assistance, and possibly setting up a local finish for those who were unable to make it to the finish line.  Marathoners should contact jash@chelseama.gov or call Ash at 617-466-4100 to identify themselves and get more details.

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