Reports last week that NYPD officers were encouraging bars not to serve SantaCon participants were received as either a Christmas miracle or the news equivalent of a lump of coal. Hand-wringing over the annual holiday-themed bar crawl was, for better or worse, a bit overblown. Right now, only a small section of the city is off limits: Hell’s Kitchen.
The NORTH polarizing event (thank you, thank you) is still set to take place in an as-yet-undisclosed set of locations on December 14. Residents of Hell’s Kitchen and the surrounding areas — the region that bore the brunt of the festivities/seasonal terrorism last year — have spent the past 12 months mobilizing to keep the event from coming back.
In September, SantaCon’s chief organizer, who goes by “Saint Nick,” responded to complaints with an email, promising, “As far as us coming to Hell’s Kitchen this year, you don’t have anything to worry about.”
That promise didn’t satisfy everyone. As DNAinfo reported on Thursday, Lieutenant John Cocchi of Midtown North precinct sent a letter to local bars, about 30 in all, asking them to refuse entry to any Santa-suited revelers.
“Having thousands of intoxicated partygoers roam the streets urinating, littering, vomiting and vandalizing will not be tolerated in our neighborhood,” Cocchi wrote. “It is my recommendation that you do not sponsor this event in any way.”
But SantaCon never strikes the same place twice, which means it isn’t residents of Hell’s Kitchen so much as residents of every other neighborhood in New York who have to worry about whether drunken revelers will be vomiting, urinating, defecating, or blacking out on their stoops.
The Voice reached out to every precinct in Lower Manhattan (for starters) to ask if they would be following Midtown North’s example and requesting that their bars ban SantaCon too. Only two precincts confirmed SantaCon participants would be welcome in their neighborhoods. The rest had had not yet decided whether they would be taking action, or had not yet responded to inquiries. (For what it’s worth, on Friday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters, in general, “This is an event that we support.”)
We’ll update the map as more information becomes available.
Red: SantaCon participants welcome
Green: SantaCon participants unwelcome
Yellow: To be determined
Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart