Police Ask Bars, Restaurants To Shun SantaCon

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the holiday season approaches, police and some Manhattan residents are pleading with area bars and restaurants to think twice before taking part in the annual SantaCon event.

For the last few years thousands have flooded the streets of New York City dressed as Santa. However, some say what is supposed to be a nice event, has become too naughty for their neighborhood.

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This year, the Midtown North Police Precinct is getting involved. Authorities are handing out a letter to several bars in Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen, asking the businesses to consider the negative impact that SantaCon has on the community.

“All we want is nice, peaceful, quiet neighborhood,” Bob Minor, co-chair of Hell’s Kitchen 5051 Block Association, told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock on Friday.

Minor claims the event causes nothing but trouble as Santa imposters move from bar to bar.

“It’s scary for the young kids, Santa is supposed to be inspirational and these kids are really taking it to the naughty side,” Community Board 4 member Katherine Consuelo-Johnson said of the annual bar crawl.

The precinct said it is hoping the letter will convince businesses not to participate.

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However, New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly is contradicting the precinct, saying SantaCon is OK with him.

“This is an event that we support. It’s what makes New York, New York,” Kelly said.

Local businesses told Murdock they still plan to serve SantaCon patrons, saying the letter won’t change any plans.

One of the original members of the New York City SantaCon told 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer that she can understand the precinct’s reaction; however, she thinks it’s a bit of an overreaction.

SantaCon 2013 takes place on Dec. 14.  This year’s location will be announced a few days prior.

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