Yesterday, amid the news that SantaCon, that yearly yule festival of vomit and invading personal space, Gothamist published an article asking, per the title, “Has the SantaCon backlash gone too far?” The premise of which is “yes” and “everybody calm down” and “New York can handle it.” I know a hot take when I see one, and not just because the article’s literal URL is santacon_backlash_hot_take. But, OK, I’ll take the bait. The answer to the question posed by the article is, in fact, No, and it probably hasn’t gone far enough.
Because so far, all that we’ve managed to do is prevent a recurrent annual nightmare from invading one select neighborhood in Brooklyn. SantaCon still exists. Here is what’s making Gothamist writer John Del Signore feel bad for this nonsense:
This virulent opposition to what amounts to a rowdy bar crawl has become so reactionary that it’s making us a little uneasy. As New Yorkers, shouldn’t we be a little more blase about this?…It’s true that SantaCon is increasingly dominated by a boorish fratastic element, but don’t frat brothers and sisters have rights too?
Absolutely, they have rights. But you know what those rights don’t include? Conducting a drunk parade by a secret, undisclosed route anywhere in New York. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is every bit as annoying, ghoulish, fratty, and drunk as SantaCon. But here’s the difference: You know exactly where that parade is. You can choose to participate in it or avoid Fifth Avenue altogether. The city knows what’s coming; it can ramp up extra security and close streets as necessary. Sure, that takes some of the spontanaeity out of the whole thing. But it also ensures that New Yorks who are not interested in wading through puddles of puke on their way somewhere don’t go to that place. The argument isn’t about banning fun times or parades or demonstrations or idiots puking on themselves. It’s about making it known where those things are occuring, which is a fairly reasonable request. SantaCon is like a nightmarish flash mob engineered by the Dave Matthews Band. Suddenly you’re in the middle of it, unbidden, and there is no escape.
And, people of New York, have we not ceded enough already to bros and tourists? Whole swaths of downtown are basically under seige every weekend. The East Village has fallen; Williamsburg is in its death throes. Why are we thus required for a weekend day to December to give up the whole city, forever wary of the faint sound of jingle bells and a flash of red velvet with white fur trim. No. Enough. The backlash against SantaCon is warranted. If our city is going to wantonly turn into the Epsilon house, the least we can do is complain about it.
In short, what if SantaCon agrees to confine its sodden rampage to Murray Hill, and we all agree to let them projective vomit candy cane bits on each other in peace? Isn’t that a fair compromise?
Yes. Contain SantaCon. And then we can all agree to stop writing hot takes about it.