Will the Santas of 2015 be naughty or nice?
Organizers of the seasonally scorned SantaCon — the Christmastime procession caricatured by detractors as bar-crawling revelers dressed as St. Nick — are promising the ersatz Santa Clauses will behave this year.
Thousands of ho-ho-ho-ing Santas began their bi-borough procession Saturday morning from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood to lower Manhattan, a route organizers disclosed to the public for the first time. Thousands had gathered by the 10 a.m. start time in McCarren Park, an NYPD helicopter whirling overhead.
Eric Fianmmetta, 18, of the Riverdale section of the Bronx, was in the park with three friends he has known since high school at Sacred Heart in Yonkers.
The shirtless Fianmmetta sported a red, white and green Elf hat, a scarf around his neck that said “ho ho ho” and red sweatpants. “We’re behaving well. It shouldn’t be a problem until something goes wrong,” he said.
A group picture in the hipster-haven park, for which SantaCon obtained an assembly permit, symbolized the promised new mistletoe, er, leaf. Negotiations with the city government began a month ago with talks that included the city’s parks and police departments.
At SantaCon’s first stop, a bar called Verboten at North 11th Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, costumed partyers formed an orderly line as they waited to get in.
First-grader Odin Hagert, 6, of Williamsburg had come out with his mother to take pictures of the Santas. “I don’t know what to say. I think they’re silly,” said Odin, who also carried a light saber.
Friends Rachel Rosenthal, 26, and Alisha Kagan, 28, came out from Long Island for the festivities hoping to meet men and have a good time.
“I want to get into trouble!” Kagan, a Levittown resident, said at about 12:30 p.m. “I would like to meet a nice young man to settle down with.”
Rosenthal celebrates Hannukah, but still thought the Christmas-themed crawl was a good opportunity. She stood out from the Santas on Berry Street in her blue sweater with a menorah on it.
“I would like to meet a nice Jewish boy,” Rosenthal, of Dix Hills, said. “Obviously the wrong place to do it.”
SantaCon — related events in more than 300 cities, with New York City’s the biggest — traces its roots to a San Francisco meet-up in 1994 that parodied yuletide consumerism.
The NYPD and State Liquor Authority have promised to combat disorderly SantaCon revelry, which in the past included vomiting in public.
“Safe, orderly and respectful of the local community” is how the parks department said it expects the event to go.