NEW YORK (PIX11) — On Dec. 14, SantaCon hits New York City. But, what should be tons of “jolly” good fun has become annual drunken chaos according to the NYPD, and now they want to crack down on the celebration.
The gathering has its roots in Copenhagen, when a theater group first swarmed the streets with Santa suits on in 1974. The first “Santa Rampage” in the U.S. was in 1978 in Austin, then in 1994 the “Santarchy” came to San Francisco.
When the madness hit NYC, it evolved into several thousand inebriated people clad as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Rastafarian Saint Nicks, high-heeled elves and reindeer roaming the streets of Manhattan for a day.
Gothamist describes the celebration as “in which thousands of debauched buttheads turn our fair city into a public urinal/college campus under the guise of holiday cheer.'”
And the NYPD agrees: Lt. John Cocchi, head of the Special Operations division in his Midtown precinct, sent letters to dives around midtown pleading for bars and clubs not to participate in the madness.
“The number of participants has grown large enough to completely overwhelm the sidewalks and public spaces,” Lt. Cocchi wrote.
“Having thousands of intoxicated partygoers roam the streets urinating, littering, vomiting and vandalizing will not be tolerated in our neighborhood,” he added.
Many residents are backing the NYPD’s agenda:
But is it really all so naughty? Some residents say it’s “fun,” and good for local businesses.
“It comes in waves, you know? They’re all kids — college kids,” says Juliette from McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon.
“They come in, drink, and go on to the next bar. They don’t tip well, but it’s all in good fun. We expect it.”
“It’s a fun atmosphere,” David, a bartender at Calico Jack’s Cantina in Turtle Bay says. “It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season. Everyone’s well-behaved, and we do well — it’s good for business here.”
But as many residents who’d like to see SantaCon banned for good, there are die-hard supporters of the chaos.
Even the cops don’t seem that ruffled up about the ordeal: “One time, the Santas held me up in traffic, but that’s about it. As long as it stays under control, I have no problem with it,” says one officer.
And many repeat Santas are itching for the return of SantaCon 2013.