Ho-ho-ho! Peace on earth, good will toward . . . BARF!!!
"People turning St. Patrick's Day into a drunken festival is one thing. Now, Christmas is a time for drunks to ruin another holiday."
-- Steve Belida, co-chairman of the Hell's Kitchen
50th-51st Street Block Association
50th-51st Street Block Association
Talk about leading a sheltered life, about being way, way out of it. For a couple of years now I've been dimly aware of a phenomenon during the holiday season: of people, more specifically youngish people, wandering the sidewalks of Manhattan dressed as Santa (sort of), traveling in packs, and in a state of jollity that transcends that traditionally ascribed to St. Nick. In my mind it seemed to happen for a period of several weeks, but I see now that this must have been an error, because after it happened again this past weekend, I had my eyes rudely opened.
The giddy Santa wannabes, it turns out, aren't out agitating for peace on earth, good will toward men. They're in it for the booze.
What I ran into is the "annual SantaCon fund-raising pub crawl," of which this year's version (according to a team of DNAinfo reporters, in "Drunk Santas Terrorized City During Seasonal Rampage, Critics Say") "brought dozens of soused St. Nicks and scantily clad elves and Mrs. Clauses, and left a trail of trouble through Hell's Kitchen, Midtown, the East Village, Williamsburg -- and even city hospitals, where at least four blacked-out participants ended up, law enforcement sources said."
Among them was a rowdy Santa Claus who was taken to New York Presbyterian after falling on his face and knocking out his two front teeth, according to the sources. The cursing Kris Kringle was so rowdy in the emergency room that he was handcuffed and frog-marched past a group of onlookers, including kids, sources said."The event," according to the DNAinfo team,
"He was calling them a bunch of pu----s," a source said.
At least three other women also had to be taken to Manhattan hospitals after blacking out, sources said. One was taken to St. Luke-Roosevelt Hospital after she didn't remember how she got in a cab heading to Penn Station.
has become an annual headache for local residents who see their sidewalks, streets and bars overrun by naughty behavior.Ah! So that's what it's all about! Kids getting blotto!
Organizers chose Midtown and Hell's Kitchen as the location for this year's daytime festivities. Then the thousands of bar-hoppers headed to the East Village and Williamsburg for nighttime debauchery.
Many Midtown and Hell's Kitchen residents -- already frustrated by the over-saturation of nightlife in their neighborhoods -- said the day-drinking Santas wreaked havoc outside their homes and in front of their kids.
Katherine Consuelo-Johnson said she encountered many "drunken fools" on Saturday when she was out with her young children.
"Santa is a role model for young children. You know, if you are naughty or nice kind of thing," she said.
"Running around a family neighborhood with a 24-pack of Bud Light dressed as Santa seems to be how adults get their jollies nowadays. Talk about pathetic."
Another mother in Midtown, who asked not to be named, said that a large group of male Santas near Penn Station gave her daughter the middle finger after she approached them, thinking they were the real deal.
"She was full of Christmas joy and they ruined it," the mom said.
"We deal with this enough at night as it is now."
By noon crowds of Santas, elves and reindeer had filled many bars and blocked off the sidewalk outside the entrances. Early in the afternoon, a group of Santas swore at a passing family who tried to make their way through the crowds.
Well, not kids, exactly, since you would assume that under-age drinkers would be screened out of participation in SantaCon. And in this respect, as much as I love the comment by Steve Belida ("People turning St. Patrick's Day into a drunken festival is one thing. Now, Christmas is a time for drunks to ruin another holiday") I've put at the top of this post, I do want to acknowledge the difference in age groups. What is St. Patrick's Day, after all, but an opportunity of teens of Irish descent to congregate in the streets of the city and puke in them? (Not just teens of Irish descent. When it comes to puking in the streets, the city is richly endowed with "honorary" Irish teens.)
For the record, there's a Brighter Side of SantaCon:
SantaCon's organizers did not return requests for comment, but posted a note on its website in response to criticism titled "SantaCon: It's not just bros puking in your neighborhood!"And a hearty ho-ho-ho to all!
"Santa Claus isn't just a menace to all that is good and holy: he also brings presents!" the message said.
"On Saturday, sixty venues who participated in NYC SantaCon donated a portion of the day's proceeds to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation: as of right now, they've reported $20,000, with a projected total of $45,000."
Organizers said participants also donated roughly 6,850 pounds of canned food to City Harvest.