Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New York SantaCon aims to curb ho-ho no-no’s

NY SantaCon

Already looking worse for wear, "Santa" and one of his elves ride the E train in downtown New York for 2010's SantaCon pub crawl. SantaCon may be coming to town again Saturday, but not everyone is happy about it. AP file photo

By
From page A2 | December 13, 2013 |

NEW YORK (AP) — When red-suited revelers throng the city’s streets and taverns under the banner of SantaCon, some see an outpouring of holiday spirit, not to mention spirits. But to others, it’s the blight before Christmas.

After complaints about boorish, bar-hopping St. Nicks got attention from local officials and police, the event’s ringleaders are trying to quell the SantaCon-troversy ahead of this year’s gathering Saturday.

They’re pledging to advise police of their usually guarded plans, have volunteers help control the roving crowd of Kringles and send the message that SantaCon is a meant to be a “festive culture jam,” not a bad-Santa bender.

“This year,” the event’s website vows, “we are cleaning up Santa’s act.”

It’s a coming-of-age moment for SantaCon, which traces its origin to a consumer-culture-tweaking “Santarchy” in San Francisco in 1994 and now spans events in more than 300 cities worldwide. Fueled by the wildfire word-spreading of social media, the New York celebration has become one of the biggest, mushrooming in roughly a decade from a few hundred bearded boozers to tens of thousands, by some estimates.

As numbers have swelled, the event’s image has morphed from whimsical flash mob to flashpoint, even for New Yorkers used to such freewheeling shindigs as the giant Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. SantaCon’s organizers are as tough to pin down as the elf himself — one responded to an inquiry from The Associated Press but refused to be quoted by name — but the site acknowledges the event “has had growing pains.”

Enthusiasts say the daylong event starts at 10 a.m. and aims to put a cheeky, modern spin on holiday traditions — “don we now our gay apparel,” anyone? — while generating money for both bars and charities. Participants are instructed to make $10 charitable donations and encouraged to bring small gifts to bestow on one another and passers-by.

“For me, SantaCon is about just dressing up and having fun, laughing till it hurts and enjoying being part of a massive celebration. … It isn’t about drinking or getting wasted,” says Brandon Ferreira-Hanyo, 27, of East Quogue, N.Y. He’s looking forward to attending for a third consecutive year.

“It’s gotten so huge you have to take the good with the bad,” he says, but he feels the complaints about drunken rowdiness are overblown.

Bar owners are split. To Dan Warren, the managing owner of Common Ground, a hangout in Manhattan’s East Village, “it’s festive and fun” and a boost to daytime business. But SantaCon-goers are frozen out of Hotel Chantelle, a cocktail lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, after a sloshed Claus harassed women brunching there two years ago, managing partner Tim Spuches said.

To some onlookers, SantaCon is about as jolly as explaining to a kindergartener why Santa just tossed his milk and cookies.

“Take your body fluids and public intoxication elsewhere,” read “SantaCon free zone” signs that appeared this week on the bar-laden Lower East Side, where some residents already weary of living with nightlife see SantaCon as a final straw.

“Now we have a whole day of vomiting and vandalism and people acting without any decorum or respect for other people,” says Diem Boyd, a leader of LES Dwellers, the group that made the signs. “I think anything quaint about it is gone by now.”

So do some police and politicians.

The New York Police Department logged a sole, disorderly-conduct arrest at SantaCon last year, along with 73 open-container tickets and a summons for public urination. That was enough for at least one police lieutenant, who suggested to midtown Manhattan bars that the event hurt the neighborhood more than it helped the establishments.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly then made clear the department supports SantaCon, calling it generally peaceful and an example of “what makes New York New York.”

But some city and state officeholders also were pressing the organizers to thwart misbehavior, and threatening to ask police and bars to do so if SantaCon wouldn’t. Meanwhile, some of the area’s commuter railroads are banning alcoholic drinks on their trains during the celebration, as they do during some other events.

And so, organizers say, a more orderly SantaCon is coming to town.

They agreed to let police and community leaders know their planned route, which participants learn only in real time by text and tweet. Volunteer Santa’s helpers will help work to keep sidewalks — and participants’ conduct — passable, according to the event website and to state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who spearheaded a recent phone conference between officials and SantaCon leaders.

Hoylman says he appreciates the effort but wonders how much sway volunteers can exercise over an event that prizes spontaneity.

Leading up to it, SantaCon’s wranglers are trying to instill a sense of responsibility, if in an in-your-bearded-face way.

“Santa spreads JOY. Not terror. Not vomit. Not trash,” the site says. “Would you want those under YOUR tree?”

————

By Jennifer Peltz. Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report. Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter at @jennpeltz.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

 
California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10