Organizers for SantaCon will continue searching for a neighborhood for the booze-fueled charity bar crawl, deciding to stay out of Bushwick, according to an organizer.
For years, SantaCon has attracted thousands of day-drinking revelers decked in Santa costumes and holiday garb to neighborhoods like Hell’s Kitchen and the Lower East Side. An email leaked on Monday from SantaCon organizers to Bushwick bars about participating had the community stirring about drunken antics.
“We’ve had interest from quite a few Bushwick bars but, after our initial exploration, the team at SantaCon NYC has determined that Bushwick does not have the capacity to be an appropriate destination for this year’s celebration,” the organizer, who requested anonymity as “Santa,” said in a statement to amNewYork. “We appreciate local businesses’ willingness to work with our charity event and we thank all of them for their support.”
The organizer said Bushwick was one of a half-dozen neighborhoods SantaCon NYC was considering for the Dec. 13 event and that no neighborhood has been selected yet. The organizer declined to name the other neighborhoods.
For charity, SantaCon participants make $10 donations and bars can give a portion of the day’s proceeds. Last year’s haul was more than $60,000, according to SantaCon’s website. Charities for this year’s festivities include Food Bank for NYC, sustainable food group Brooklyn Coalition and local charities based along the bar crawl route.
Communities have balked at the SantaCon bar crawl over reports of public urination, vomiting and rowdiness in the middle of the day. On its website, the “Santa Code” notes that “Santa does not drink more than Santa can handle” and “Santa doesn’t piss on the streets, start fights, block streets, climb on cars or deface property.”
Owners of Bushwick bars had been preparing for the onslaught of drinkers known to tear through the city’s hot nightlife areas in the cold light of day.
“Nobody wants it and nobody will allow it,” Ben Warren, owner of The Bodega and Heavy Woods, told amNewYork. “I’m just going to keep them out.”
Warren said he got firsthand experience of “the madness that ensues” during SantaCon while living in the East Village. Now as a bar owner, Warren said he would hire a few door people to keep Santas out of his bars.
“It’s like we’re preparing for battle,” he said.
Bushwick denizens were also worried about the whirlwind of hard-drinking Santas coming into their neighborhood in the name of charity.
“It’s like basically coming to trash the neighborhood,” Matthew Christie, a 23 year-old Bushwick resident, said.
Karolina Suponya, 26, said bar hopping Santas are disrespecting Christmas.
“The idea of Santa Claus comes from a religious figure, and he’s a big Christmas symbol for children. Children love Santa,” Suponya said. “What if they see these drunks dressed up like him? It will ruin that image for little kids.”