The Norman Transcript

Columns

December 15, 2013

SantaCon divides New York City

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

A sociologist might notice a certain tension here, between people who live in Manhattan and hate SantaCon, and those who live in New Jersey and Long Island, called pejoratively the “bridge-and-tunnel crowd,” who come into the city for SantaCon.

The press-shy organizers behind SantaCon have put out a Santa Code to rein in revelers, which includes the commands, “Santa’s nice to kids . . . Santa spreads JOY. Not terror. Not vomit.” They say they will have elves on scene this year to help control the Santas, and remind doubters that the event raises money for charity. Participants are asked to donate $10.

“Up a chimney? Look for Santa’s Secret Service at #NYCSantaCon — the red headbands mean they’re there to help,” read a text from SantaCon organizers to participants on Friday.

Mike Rodriguez, 30, is planning on coming into the city from Long Island to participate in SantaCon with a few friends. Rodriguez, who runs Flock Entertainment, says he likes the charity aspect of the event, and goes out of his way to take pictures with kids during SantaCon. Sure, some people go overboard, he said, but overall, the event is good for New York City.

“I’ve seen Santas fighting, and that’s traumatic for little kids,” he said. “But I also see people bringing out the holiday spirit, being joyful, promoting a good image.”

Tom Trimmer owns a bar, Windfall, near Bryant Park. He’s welcoming SantaCon participants. Though his bar has been around for 14 years, this is the first time he’ll be actively seeking Santas.

“It seems like they’ll be good business,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll just behave themselves and have a good time.”

But promises to be nice aren’t enough for people such as Sara Romanoski, 28. She has lived in the Lower East Side for 10 years, in an area christened Hell Square for the proliferation of bars and liquor stores there. The last two years have been particularly miserable SantaCons, she said, with people passed out on the street around her block.

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