Time to take out the waist on your pub crawl Santa outfit or just remember to avoid certain areas on December 13th—Santacon is coming to town! And it seems that the boys and girls of Bushwick have been particularly nice (or naughty) because that neighborhood has been selected as the epicenter of the annual River of Puke/Charity Event.
Bushwick Daily published an email today which appears to be from Santacon organizers to local bar owners:
“SantaCon 2014 is coming to Bushwick on December 13th from 10am till 2pm. We would like to list your venue as one of our participating locations. We are also partnering with the local police precinct, community board and parks department. We are operating as a completely legal and transparent entity that wants to celebrate our annual creative charity event.
If we list your venue, it will be FULL of paying patrons from the hours of 10am to 2pm. In return we ask that you donate a percentage of your ring from those hours to a charity of our choice and that you be fully staffed, as if it was New Year’s night. We will provide all holiday music/entertainment. At 2pm we will send out a message to all participants to move to the next location. At that time, you can continue to serve our participants or you can push them out and shut your doors."
Bushwick Daily adds that it "is really hard to imagine" that the Community Board is actually cooperating with Santacon, "given that our church-going Community Board has had routinely hard time allowing additional liquor licenses to new bars because as were concerned of the influence of drunkenness on families." On the other hand, former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was cool with it.
Last year, the NYPD asked Lower East Side bars not to serve alcohol to anyone in a fake beard, encouraging rampant Kringlism. One bar owner told BD he wasn't participating, but is resigned, "It doesn’t even matter though. It’s after the bar crawl when it becomes a nightmare. At 4PM when everyone shows up drinking since 10AM it’s a mess. Vomit town USA."
Nadine Whitted, the District Manager of Community Board 4, was not immediately available to comment on SantaCon's impending visit, but an aide told us she "doesn't know anything about it."
SantaCon shadowy organizers traditionally rebuff press inquiries, and the route is never announced until hours before the mob assembles. The pub crawl has always started in Manhattan in the morning and then staggered toward Brooklyn, so if this email is authentic, it signals a departure from previous years. The event has also tried to clean up its image, urging participants not to "fuck with" cops, kids, bar staff, or NYC in general:
Santa agrees that there is no excuse for inappropriate behavior. Public drunkenness, urination or rude behavior is not only prohibited by the stated rules of the event, but actively discouraged by the crowds of Santas themselves, who are for the most part, responsible, creative community-minded New Yorkers. NYC Santa realizes that he has a responsibility to New York City and its citizens. Santa Loves NYC.