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Keep SantaCon in Line, Officials Tell Organizers

By Lisha Arino | December 7, 2015 1:27pm | Updated on December 7, 2015 4:23pm
 SantaCon takes over an East Village bar on Dec. 14, 2013.
SantaCon takes over an East Village bar on Dec. 14, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Rosa Goldensohn

EAST VILLAGE — A dozen elected officials are asking the State Liquor Authority to take a proactive approach to SantaCon and to warn participating bars that letting the rowdy Santas get out of control might cost them their liquor license.

State and city officials want the State Liquor Authority to remind bar owners of “all applicable rules, regulations and laws” prior to Saturday’s massive yuletide bar crawl — while also placing inspectors along the event’s route and coordinating efforts with the NYPD, according to a letter they sent to SLA Chairman Vincent G. Bradley on Monday.

“When left unregulated, the bar crawl has widespread negative effects on the local community, with complaints including but not limited to public consumption of alcohol, public intoxication, public urination, and disorderly and aggressive behavior,” elected officials including State Senators Brad Hoylman, Daniel Squadron, Adriano Espaillat, Liz Krueger as well as State Assembly members Richard Gottfried, Linda Rosenthal and Deborah Glick wrote in the letter.

The letter was also signed by Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez, Daniel Garodnick, and Corey Johnson.

SLA investigators will accompany NYPD officers in coordinated details to help ensure SantaCon is safe and orderly, said SLA spokesman William Crowley in an email.

Officials also reached out to SantaCon in an email Monday, asking them to reveal their route so that residents, businesses and police can prepare for the influx of people.

SantaCon traditionally keeps its route a secret until the night before, although sources told DNAinfo New York it will start in Brooklyn this year and wind its way to Manhattan.

Officials also asked SantaCon organizers to “make a concerted effort to self-police” the event and throw overly intoxicated and misbehaving participants out. SantaCon staff members or trained volunteers should keep sidewalks clear and prevent people from walking in the street, officials wrote.

"Those are all concerns we have," said a SantaCon spokesman.

"We’re working with [Hoylman's] office to find a way to address the concerns," he added, saying the group last spoke with the legislator's office on Friday.

SantaCon has also posted a “Santa’s Code” online that encourages participants to have fun legally and respectfully, with instructions that include picking up litter and avoiding fights, public urination and binge drinking.

Despite the notices online however, SantaCon’s efforts “have not mitigated the bulk of the event’s deleterious impact,” according to officials' email.

"SantaCon needs to grow up,” said Hoylman in a statement, whose office spearheaded this week’s efforts.

“An organization that brings over 25,000 people to our neighborhoods should show us respect by sharing its routes with community boards and local elected officials and working together with us well in advance to determine how we can mitigate the negative impacts of this bar crawl on our local communities and small retail businesses, whose annual sales depend heavily on this time of year," Hoylman added.