Everything you thought you knew about Santa may be a lie! According to the New York Historical Society, Santa is not, despite all of our assumptions, a native North Pole-ian, complete with North Pole-like ideologies, politics, and annoying habits. He’s actually a sophisticated New Yorker hailing from West 23rd Street. They base this on the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” (you know, “Twas the night before Christmas, etc. etc.”) believed to be written by theologian and Hebrew scholar — and Chelsea resident, even if it wasn’t called that at the time — Clement Clarke Moore. Which seems to indicate that Santa is not, actually, real, but instead a figment of Moore’s imagination. What are you telling us, New York Historical Society!?
Anyway, kids have known Santa lives in Chelsea for, like, ever, so the New York Historical Society is kinda late to the game. He’s probably moved to Brooklyn already.
The museum’s “Invention of Santa Claus” (INVENTION!?) exhibit is on display until January 8 and reveals numerous important factoids to share over cocktails at your holiday party while you go about systematically killing everyone’s belief in Santa. In the North Pole, that’s called “coaling someone’s stocking.”
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 20, 2011