Thousands in costumes revel at festive SantaCon

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

NYC’s SantaCon aims to put an end to naughty-or-nice debate.

Tracing its origins to a prankish, anti-consumerist gathering in San Francisco in 1994, SantaCon has mushroomed into events in hundreds of cities, with New York’s generally the biggest. The annual SantaCon bacchanal began Saturday with one red-and-green clad reveler spied casually relieving himself between parked cars on a Manhattan street.SantaCon was naughty but nice Saturday, with little of the public urinating, outdoor boozing and other disorder that police warned wouldn’t be tolerated as in Christmastimes past.

NEW YORK — After several years of defending the massive, costumed Christmastime bar hop against a bad-Santa rap, organizers are making new efforts to convey that the SantaCon coming to town Saturday is growing — not throwing — up. It’s also drawn criticism, particularly after the 2012 and 2013 celebrations generated two arrests, 85 summonses for disorderly conduct and other offenses, and online videos of brawling St. Organizers of the seasonally scorned SantaCon — the Christmastime procession of bar-crawling revelers dressed as Santa and his helpers — had promised everyone would be on their best behavior this year. Look out for your elves,” organizers advised the crowd as Saturday’s festivities began with a mix of safety messages and psyching-up: “Can I get a ‘ho’?!” For the first time, they publicly released the planned route days before their romp through Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan bars.

Organizers, who once shied from officialdom, started planning with police over a month ago, got a permit to assemble in a park and even agreed to tweet police messages about pedestrian safety. A spokesman for the New York Police Department said there were no reported arrests Saturday evening and organizers say there were no arrests or summonses last year. Lengthy lines formed outside some of the bars that signed up to host the Santas, and the police precautions included parking a vehicle with flashing lights outside at least one of those popular East Village destinations. After gathering in McCarren Park, hundreds of Santas converged on nearby clubs Verboten and The Hall before heading to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, then moving on to other bars and clubs around Madison Square Park.

SantaCon start. “This is outrageous and I love it,” said Aguiao, his words wafting on a whiff of whiskey. “My 21-year-old son dragged me here, and I’m glad. Police Commissioner William Bratton had warned “anybody who wants to come into the city and raise hell dressed up as Santa Claus — we’re not going to tolerate it.” The shirtless Fiammetta sported a red, white and green elf hat, a scarf around his neck that said “ho ho ho” and red sweatpants. “We’re behaving well. Jessica Carr and Victoria Pirolli had turned themselves into snow globes, each encasing her head and torso in bubble-umbrella-like plastic, with a foam rubber base around the hips. I just want to ride it out, have fun.” The temperature climbed into the mid-60s beneath overcast skies, but most everyone seemed in the Christmas despite the warm weather. The two science teachers and friends from New Jersey said they were at their fifth SantaCon for the creativity, not the carousing that earned the event an out-of-control reputation in recent years.

Three hours into the day, cops reported no arrests — although that number was expected to rise. “They gotta get drunk first,” one city cop explained. Some in the crowd defended the SantaCon crew against the annual chorus of complaints about soused Santas and inebriated elves using the streets as a toilet, vomiting on sidewalks and getting into fights. “I don’t think it has the stigma that people say it does,” said Brittney Windham, 23, a first-time SantaCon reveler from the Bronx. “I was on the train this morning, and a someone in a Santa suit gave a seat to an old lady. At SantaCon’s first stop, a bar called Verboten at North 11th Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, costumed partyers formed an orderly line as they waited for bouncers to check IDs.

Including 4-year-old Aliana as Princess, yes, Sleigha. “It incorporates family values, if you seek them out,” said Steven Lambert, who said his Manhattan family would skip the bar scene and be home by noon. “Its origins are based on festivity, regardless of religion or beliefs. I think they’re silly,” said Odin, who also carried a lightsaber. “I want to get into trouble!” Hagen, a Levittown resident, said at about 12:30 p.m. “I would like to meet a nice young man to settle down with.” Rosenthal celebrates Hanukkah, but still thought the Christmas-themed crawl was a good opportunity.

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