There is nothing sweeter than a child’s innocent belief in Santa Claus, but if that belief is to stay in tact, New York was not the place to be this weekend. Hundreds of drunken people, all dressed like Santa Claus, invaded the streets of New York for the annual SantaCon. As if Santa did not get enough bad publicity, many people gather every year to hit the pubs and then the streets dressed as the jolly old man, his wife or his elves.
In Times Square on Dec. 13 SantaCon has it’s annual reunion filled with icons of the Christmas holiday. In attendance were hundreds of drunken people posing as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and elves while they flash-mobbed and partied in an organized style. Organized, only because citizens of New York have protested against the convention, growing impatient at the tactics of all those involved. However, this year the group acquired a lawyer by the name of Norman Siegel who managed the actions of all the merry men and women.
Siegel made claim to the fact that the citizens had a right to gather in a reasonably regulated event, however, he did advise them on how to better maintain the event to slow the rowdiness that the gathering is known for. He told the people who participated in SantaCon that they should mostly party inside of bars that welcomed them and avoid spending too much time on the streets. Though they took over Times Square and saw themselves on the big screen, crowds disseminated keeping the public activities to a minimum, but still partying, as Siegel suggested. Threats were made that SantaCon would no longer be allowed, starting next year, if the crowd was unbearable this year.
In the past SantaCon, though meant to spread cheer, has received a lot of hate. As people dress up like Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and elves, they mostly only do one thing: bar hopping all day long. The drunken Santa Claus characters invade one of the most populated areas in New York, during the day, and spend all day getting inebriated; no wonder New Yorkers hate SantaCon. In the past the participants’ rowdy behavior has caused community boards to ban the celebration from certain areas. After all the description itself causes people to beware, as it is a non-religious, non-political, non-charitable, nonsensical convention that happens annually for no reason, or such is the advertised description.
But weekend festivities this year were taken down a notch, as Saturday was also the Millions March New York City protest against police brutality. Protesters feared that the drunken Santa Claus characters would get in the way as they invaded New York for SantaCon.
Though SantaCon was still not an accepted event this year, it did go down without too much protest. People still dressed up like Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or elves and yes, they still did bar hop and drink a lot. But despite their advertised motto SantaCon has been known to raise thousands of dollar in the past for charity and this year they did once again raise money for charity. As they worked in collaboration with the civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, it seemed that the convention was not quite as rowdy this year. But now that drunken Santa Clauses are done invading the streets of New York for SantaCon 2014, perhaps Santa Claus can get back to a good reputation for what is left of the year.
By Crystal Boulware