Like It or Not, SantaCon Is Coming to the East Village, Lower East Side, and Brooklyn
You better watch out if you live around Tompkins Square Park because come 10 a.m., the sleepy public square will be crawling with brass monkey-breathed Santas primed for a day of drunken revelry. The Alphabet City park is the official starting place for this year's SantaCon.
It's true. None of the protestations -- not the New York Times op-ed calling for a ban, not the police crackdown, not stricter train regulations, nor opposition from local community groups -- could keep "Santa" from spreading some goddamn holiday cheer.
First, it was police officers from the NYPD's Midtown North Precinct, responsible for keeping the peace in Hell's Kitchen (the site of some of last year's SantaCon festivities), who asking bars to refuse service to any Santa-suited patrons who might show up on December 14. Then the police department asked Santas to skip the beard this year so it will be easier to identify any troublemakers captured on surveillance cameras.
Then city bureaucrats demanded advanced notice of the route. That was a great move -- we now know the thirsty mob will depart from Tompkins Square Park, before heading to an East Village church to witness a wedding (because why not?), before slashing and burning a trail through the East Village, the Lower East Side, and ending in Brooklyn. Where exactly in Brooklyn? It's unclear. Probably safest to just steer clear of the entire borough all day. (The SantaCon Twitter account will be updating with the precise location of the horde throughout the day.)
Ground zero: Tompkins Square Park.
The news that SantaCon would be passing through the Lower East Side lit a fire under local NIMBY coalition L.E.S. Dwellers. The group has been distributing SantaCon Free Zone posters around the neighborhood that read, "ALCOHOL SOAKED FATHER CHRISTMAS-FLASH MOB NOT WElCOME HERE!"
But they are not the only ones: The Long Island Rail Road is, for the second year, bringing back a 24-hour booze ban, barring passengers from consuming alcohol on board. (Oddly, though, the ban doesn't start until noon -- two hours after the event kicks off -- so if you were planning to pre-game on your way into the city, Long Islanders, you're all good.)
New Jersey Transit announced Thursday it would be following LIRR's example and banning alcohol, too, but didn't specify when the ban goes into effect. Metro North also fell in line, declaring Friday that they, too, would be banning purchase and or possession alcohol on board on Saturday.
If there was any doubt left that the entire universe was conspiring to make this year's SantaCon the most miserable ever, the universe answered by sending a snowstorm straight for New York. Forecast: lots of drunk girls crying.
SantaCon don't care. SantaCon is like, "Hi Haters. Here we come."