Although there was already a sizable contingent of half-naked Santas mooning Williamsburg early this morning, the official SantaCon 2015 kickoff took place around 10 a.m. at McCarren Park. And the hundreds of Santas gathered there made sure to treat the solemn occasion with all the seriousness it deserves, culminating in one organizer wearing a Rudolph face mask taking a megaphone and asking those gathered to "stop and take a 10 second moment of silence for the sake of oppressed people all over the world."
According to photographer Scott Heins, that moment of silence lasted about 4, maybe 5 dignified seconds. The silence was broken by the sweet sounds of dubstep remixes of traditional carols blasting through a ramshackle P.A.
Before all that, the crowd listened to civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who was hired by SantaCon organizers last year to defend the bar crawl, once again defend the bar crawl. "Under the First Amendment, citizens have a right to assemble," he told the assemblage of Santa Jedis, Santa Village People, Santa Spidermen, and Novelty Cigar-Toting Santas. "To the community boards who tried to prohibit and ban SantaCon from their neighborhoods—this is America. You cannot do that. Government cannot ban SantaCon, they can reasonably regulate."
And in case all this rhetoric doesn't seem over the top enough, just keep in mind that if we don't allow SantaCon to exist, THE TERRORISTS WIN. Siegel continued:
And also when the police commissioner puts out messages and talks about resources, let me address that. The president of the United States and the mayor of the City of New York encourage all citizens, even though there is a threat of terrorism, we have to continue our traditions and our practices. There's no way SantaCon would cancel this, because then the terrorists win. We have to continue our traditions and our values...SantaCon, in my opinion, is a cultural public commentary on the Christmas season. From consumerism to togetherness and charitable giving. As you'll see it's part satire and it has an edge, but it's protected by the First Amendment...If once again we have no arrests, no summonses, and everyone has a good time, then the issue becomes is there a segment of this city, especially elected officials, who are just anti-fun? And if they are I suggest they loosen up. Take off their shirts and ties, put on their jeans and sneakers, loosen up and have a good time.
Who wouldn't want to take off their shirts and ties and enjoy this classic yuletide subway satire-entertainment headache-inducing singalong:
— Katherine Lam (@byKatherineLam) December 12, 2015
If you would like to follow more updates on SantaCon 2015: Don't Let The Terrorists Win, follow our live blog here. And make sure to send all your photos and videos of the merry mayhem to email@example.com.