One winter not long ago, I got in a taxi somewhere near Penn Station—I think. The memory is hazy. Whatever caused that haziness might have prompted my taxi driver to ask right away, “Are you excited for tomorrow?” To which I answered, “…huh?” Not a single thing seemed special. “For SantaCon!” he responded, as if I were wearing a fur-lined red jacket, which I was not.
Whatever it was about my person that made him think I’d be into a drunken gathering of thousands of Santa and Mrs. Clauses who bar crawl across New York City (not totally out of the question, other than the requirements of being costumed and in the cold), did it also make him guess I’d be a nuisance to public order, as many city officials have accused SantaCon participants of being, by doing things such as urinating in public and being way more drunk in bars than allowed? Who can say. But this year, and in response to such complaints by city officials, SantaCon organizers have revealed in advance, for the very first time, that the starting location of SantaCon 2015 will be a little old place—drum roll—called Williamsburg.
Starting at 10am on Saturday at McCarren Park, around 1,000 participants are expected to gather for a photo opportunity, before thousands more join the crawl, which is ultimately supposed to conclude in the East Village. According to DNAinfo, in response to a letter from State Senator Brad Hoylman and signed by the likes of Scott Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, various assembly members—as well as complaints from local bar owners and another letter from the State Liquor Authority—the anonymously-run organization has worked with NYPD to plan the entire beer crawl route, and share it with them in advance. Normally, all of it is revealed the day of.
SantaCon stepped it up even further by hiring official legal counsel, Civil Rights attorney Norman Siegel, who is acting as the group’s NYPD liaison. Siegel says that more details concerning where Santas will be shuffling their beer-logged selves will be released to the public today. He also promises organizers will tweet public service updates throughout Saturday, urging all Santas to self-police, i.e.. use real bathrooms, not get obnoxiously shit-faced, or block entire sidewalks.
If only my taxi driver could see me today—would he think I fit this SantaCon mold? The legally compliant, moderate celebrant of holiday costumes and drinking? Who can say. But, all these Santas officially wanna do, according to their website, is have fun. I totally identify with that! So, even if he did, I guess I wouldn’t mind.