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Manhattan Pols Seek to Rein in SantaCon 'Scourge'

By Alan Neuhauser | November 26, 2013 3:36pm | Updated on November 26, 2013 3:57pm
 The NYPD's  Midtown North Precinct  sent letters to about 30 bars, clubs and lounges in  Midtown  and  Hell's Kitchen  earlier this month, urging the nightspots not to welcome the event, an annual day-long bar-crawl for hundreds if not thousands of revelers dressed as Santa Clause.
Police Urge Bars to Refuse SantaCon Revelers
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MIDTOWN — Stop the vomit!

That's the message from a coalition of Manhattan politicians who want this year's SantaCon bar crawl to commit to a safer, more respectful event.

State Sens. Brad Hoylman, Liz Krueger and Dan Squadron; Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanagh; and Councilmembers Dan Garodnick, Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin said in a statement Tuesday that they are looking to "rein in the annual scourge known as SantaCon."

They also called on the annual costumed bar crawl to abide by three core principles during the Dec. 14 event: "make public and follow defined routes; ensure respectful participants; and implement a comprehensive safety plan."

In past years, the SantaCon route was not announced until the day before the event.

"During this massive pub crawl, thousands of participants dressed as Santa Claus overwhelm neighborhoods, violating numerous laws and regulations and creating major hazards in public safety along the way," the letter to SantaCon organizers said.

"SantaCon may be a short-term boon to a select group of local businesses, but it imparts many adverse impacts, such as vomiting in the streets, public urination, vandalism and littering."

In an email, a SantaCon organizer said the group's leaders "are in agreement with much of what Senator Hoylman's office has stated. Some of the language in the letter appears to be an echo of what is already on the NYCSantacon.com website."

The organizer went on to add that SantaCon aims to "re-instill a culture of holiday merriment, gifting, culture jamming, costuming and leaving no trace. We want to return the event to one that values the creative and charitable aspects of Santacon over the consumption and over-crowding it is know for."

The spokesperson said the group has been in contact with "Community Boards, Police Precincts, Parks Departments and Governmental Agencies to coordinate our event" but did not provide further details.

The politicians' request comes amid a flurry of media attention, after DNAinfo New York reported last week that an NYPD lieutenant had asked about 30 Midtown bars to not welcome SantaCon participants this year.