SantaCon revelers: Leave it at ho-ho-home!
The MTA is once again banning alcohol on Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road during SantaCon, the infamous annual Christmas-themed bar crawl set to take place in Manhattan this weekend.
Booze will be prohibited on all Metro-North and LIRR trains and at stations from 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 until noon on Sunday, Dec. 10, in an attempt to control the mayhem caused by inebriated partygoers dressed as Santa Claus.
The MTA Police will bolster its presence at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal over the weekend, empowered to confiscate any alcoholic beverage and issue summonses to violators. Rulebreakers could be subject to removal from trains or stations if they fail to comply.
“Ensuring everyone has access to safe and orderly travel is a top priority,” said John Mueller, chief of the MTA Police. “The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, and we want everyone to get to their destination smoothly and on time while enjoying the festivities.”
Consuming alcohol is already prohibited on subways and buses, per the MTA’s rules of conduct.
New York has by far the largest annual SantaCon event in the nation, which draws thousands of bearded revelers to the Big Apple for the daylong debauchery each December. The route of the bar crawl, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, starts in Times Square before attendees disperse to various venues stretching all the way to the Lower East Side.
SantaCon ostensibly uses its considerable draw to raise money for charity, with its organizers saying that they have raised over $1 million from participants for different causes over the past decade.
But the jamboree has become far more known to New Yorkers for attracting unruly Santas, some of whom engage in excessive binge drinking, leading to public urination, vomiting, fights and vandalism. So notorious has the tradition become that many bars explicitly forbid anyone wearing a Santa costume from entry.