Kolkata ushers in 2014 in style

Kolkata ushers in 2014 in style

January 1, 2014

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 police officer.

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.

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