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SantaCon Not Welcome on Lower East Side, Posters Say

By Serena Solomon | December 10, 2013 4:27pm
 The L.E.S Dwellers are protesting ahead of this Saturday's pubcrawl, which will target the neighborhood.
Anti-SantaCon Posters on the Lower East Side
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LOWER EAST SIDE — No Santas are welcome here. 

A Lower East Side community group is attacking the planned SantaCon pub crawl, after learning that organizers planned to direct the inebriated Santas to their neighborhood.

The L.E.S. Dwellers — a group of residents who work to improve the quality of life in an area they say is saturated with bars — plastered the area around Rivington and Stanton streets with posters declaring it a "SantaCon Free Zone."

The posters use photos from previous SantaCons of patrons urinating in public and demand that organizers "take your body fluids & public intoxication elsewhere." Other photos on the posters show Santas brawling on sidewalks or passed out on stoops.

In previous years, SantaCon wound its way through Hell's Kitchen, Midtown and parts of the East Village, with participating bars offering Santas drink specials and donating thousands of dollars to buy toys for needy children.

However, this year, the gathering of revelers dressed in Santa garb was booted from its traditional Hell's Kitchen route based on local complaints, and Midtown North Precinct commander Lt. John Cocchi requested about 30 bars in the area not participate in the event.

In addition, a letter from state Sen. Brad Hoylman sighed by eight other state and city politicians called on SantaCon organizers to make public the event's route, which is normally secret.

Those moves led SantaCon organizers to change the focus of the event to the East Village, Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn instead of Midtown and Hell's Kitchen. SantaCon will start at 10 a.m. Saturday in Tompkins Square Park, organizers said.

Organizers are also sharing the SantaCon route with police precincts and community boards, according to Hoylman.

The L.E.S. Dwellers and SantaCon did not return requests for comment.