The Annual Event Has Been Called A Tradition By Some And A Nuisance By Others

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — An annual bar crawl known as SantaCon that features revelers dressed as Santa Claus drinking their way through the city has been blamed for stopping traffic, clogging streets, and wreaking havoc around Manhattan.

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This year’s event, which will follow a yet to be announced route, has been planned for Saturday.

“It’s basically a drunk puke fest,” Diem Boyd told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco.

Some Lower East Side residents have declared their neighborhood a SantaCon Free Zone. They have even gone so far as to hang posters telling the costumed Saint Nicks to head back to the North Pole.

“It literally becomes mayhem where there’s just thousands of people like literally screaming on the street, kicking garbage cans at some point, fighting, public urination, vomit,” Boyd said.

Residents said that the Santas’ behavior is more than a nuisance, it’s also tough to explain to kids.

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“You can explain Salvation Army Santa because there’s a purpose there you’re giving. But this is a drunk Santa there’s no explanation for that,” Boyd said.

Last month Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that SantaCon is welcome in the City.

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

Some Lower East Side bars plan on opening at 9:30 in the morning for SantaCon, others like Hotel Chantelle are joining residents and taking a stand.

“We’re not letting them in and we don’t want them in our neighborhood,” Timothy Spuches, Hotel Chantelle, said.

On Thursday, the Long Island Railroad announced that they will be instituting a 24 hour ban on alcohol from Saturday to Sunday because of SantaCon.

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