The Norman Transcript

Columns

December 15, 2013

SantaCon divides New York City

NEW YORK — It’s all well and good when Santa Claus comes to town, except when he’s fighting, puking, urinating or shouting. Then he’s just obnoxious.

That’s the sentiment of some New Yorkers, who are pushing back this year against a bar crawl called SantaCon, which brings 30,000 people dressed up as Santa to Manhattan to drink and be merry.

This year, after some residents in Hell’s Kitchen reached out to event organizers and asked them to stay away, other New Yorkers are echoing that request, piling on the event that some see as a way for people who live in the suburbs to come to the city and ruin the weekend.

“It’s become this massive booze fest, with people drinking as much as they can and basically running amok without any rules,” said Diem Boyd, 43, a resident of the Lower East Side who has been putting up signs around her neighborhood that say, “Santa Con Free Zone. Alcohol-Soaked Father Christmas Themed Flash Mob Not Welcome Here.”

“People think it represents New York City, but it’s not even New Yorkers participating in it,” said Boyd, who is part of an organization called Lower East Side Dwellers that thinks there are too many bars in the neighborhood.

So far, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road have banned alcohol from trains for the 24 hours around the event, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.

One precinct in the New York Police Department reportedly asked bar owners not to serve people dressed in Santa costumes. The New York Times also ran an Op-Ed headlined “Bring Drunken Santas Under Control.”

Twitter users have weighed in too, with tweets such as, “Dreading #SantaCon with its testosterone heavy bridge & tunnel drunks” and, “I’m so not on board with #santacon. . . . Tacky bridge and tunnel crowd cheapening / skankifying the Xmas spirit.”

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