Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, December 16, 2013
To say that things became out of control during the annual SantaCon pub crawl in New York City Saturday night is a bit of an understatement.
A group of drunken Santas in the city’s Gramercy neighborhood became engaged in a brawl around 8:20 p.m Saturday, however by the time police arrived on the scene they had all disappeared. The New York City Police Department is looking into the incident – which was caught on videotape – but have not arrested anyone involved in the mêlée as of press time.
SantaCon is a worldwide tradition in which thousands of people took to the streets dressed as Santas, elves and other holiday-themed characters. Now in its 16th year, the event has become more rowdy than the past – and has even become a bit much for those who annually take part in it. It is taking place in more than 300 cities worldwide this year, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and London.
“It was just terrible; they were throwing up in the streets. It was really just disgusting. I just put a red suit on and have a good time,” Sandy Bachom, a participant in last year’s SantaCon NYC, told WABC.
“I think New Yorkers generally are extremely tolerant of visitors, but when they come in such droves, and then combine that with public intoxication, it has a negative impact in our neighborhoods,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman added.
Despite the possibility of madness, the NYPD continues to support the event, even going so far as to hand out flyers to participants informing them that they would stop people who publicly consume alcohol in the city streets.
“It’s what makes New York New York,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference Friday, according to CNN. “There has been some rowdy activity by a small handful of people.”
The organization behind the event is also vowing to clean up its act in future years to come.
“SantaCon has had growing pains,” the event’s organizers said in a news release on the NYC SantaCon website. “With a little elbow-grease from the elves, a little patience from the community, and just a pinch of holiday magic, SantaCon can spread joy.”
Watch footage of the SantaCon NYC brawl here.