Park Street, the city’s very own fun street, sprung to life
yet again a week after it had been swarmed by revellers on Christmas, ushering
in the New Year with customary fanfare. Even though traffic was not barred on
the road like it was done seven days ago, thousands walked down the pavements,
making merry and soaking in the festive spirit. The crowd started building up
much before the evening. As the hours passed by, revelry picked up, reaching a
climax at the stroke of the midnight hour.
It seemed as if the whole of Kolkata had descended on Park
Street on New Year eve. Revellers kept spilling on to the roads despite the
barricades that had been put on either side. As the crowd thickened, traffic
movement slowed down as well. The restaurants, however, were happy with the
turnout as footfall remained high throughout the evening. Long queues were seen
outside restaurants till well past midnight.
Security arrangements were at their peak. The restaurants,
too, made their own security arrangements. Most used more CCTV cameras and
bouncers than previous years.
“On New Year eve, the
crowd was just great. Since there was no restriction on the entry of vehicles,
all could drive in. Some had to walk a few yards through the crowd, but since
the security arrangements were tight, none faced any inconvenience,” said
Pratap Daryanani, owner of Oasis on Park Street.
Most restaurants remained open till 1am though they had the
permission to allow visitors till two in the morning. Many felt the disciplined
festivities on Park Street proved that they should have been allowed to remain
open till 4am, keeping parity with star hotels and their nightclubs that have
been given the nod. “We have already written to the police and the departments
concerned that it is unfair. We have a strong case for staying open till four
and this evening showed it again,” said Deepak Puri, owner of Trincas.
Revellers had a field day, though. Thousands streamed in
from all corners of the city and beyond. Wearing their party gears, they filed
along the flanks of the road relentlessly. As per police estimates, the crowd
was smaller than the Christmas turnout when the road had been shut for traffic.
“It was expected since the pavements are narrow and many prefer to avoid Park
Street on the 31st night. But the crowd swelled towards the night,” said a
Many like Neha Ray of Dum Dum loved the New Year eve
atmosphere. “This is the first time I am here and I love it. The crowd, the
lights and the restaurants look wonderful,” she gushed.
Others like Nitin Kothari, owner of Mocambo and Peter Cat,
hailed the decision to allow traffic. “It ensured that we did not have the
terrible jams at Esplanade and at the lanes adjacent to Park Street,” he said.