NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — SantaCon is going on as planned this weekend, but one group is so determined to put a stop to the festival that it has put up fliers claiming the holiday bar crawl is canceled.
As CBS2 reported, a group of concerned community members hung posters throughout Williamsburg, the Flatiron District, and the East Village in an effort to deter SantaCon participants.
The fliers say SantaCon is canceled, which is not true. But John Nelson of the group, called New York City Residents, said the fliers served a purpose.
“We wanted to get people’s attention and it worked,” he said.
The New York City Residents group would like to see SantaCon canceled for real.
“The things I’ve seen in the last couple years — I was in Duane Reade on 14th and Third, aisle four, I’ll never forget,” Nelson said. “I saw an explicit sex act in the aisle — two Santas, going at it.”
CBS2 reached out to SantaCon, which said the event is still a go.
The NYPD tweeted that extra officers will be working for the festival Saturday “to ensure everyone a good and safe time while being respectful to our neighbors.” The tweet advised participants to take precautions for their own safety, and advised people of some acts that are not permitted.
But Nelson, who created the poster, said “being respectful” of neighbors is exactly the opposite of what happens at SantaCon. He created his organization two months ago with a mission to shut down.
“I think they’re going to be reasonable people and decide to cancel it,” Nelson said. “I have hope, and I fee like I havel the City of New York on my side here.”
Reaction to the signs was a mixed bag among passersby. Some people were shocked and displeased by the signs falsely claiming cancellation.
“SantaCon canceled – what? What?” said Zavier Dahlbenza of East New York, Brooklyn. “The drunkenness, the Santa costumes — I love all of it! I don’t think it should be canceled at all. I think it should keep going.”
“I do support the sign, except it’s false,” said Andrew Stern of the East Village. “Maybe it prevents some people from coming out.”
“Honestly, I feel like there’s no way people won’t try and make it happen anyway,” said Chloe Feldberg of the East Village.
But some said SantaCon indeed has gotten out of hand.
“When you see a bunch of drunk adults looking all crazy and passed out and peeing everywhere, it’s a damper on the whole…” Joff Wilson of the East Village told Medgie – just as someone in a Santa costume went by.
And what do businesses think? Gary Egan, general manager of Pete’s Tavern at 129 E. 18th St., said he would be just fine seeing SantaCon go.
“I really wish it would be canceled,” Egan said. “It’s turned into an abomination of drunk Santa Clauses fighting; vomiting all over the city. and it sends a terrible message to children.”
Metro-North, NJ Transit, and the Long Island Rail are banning alcohol this weekend in preparation for the anticipated revelers.
But on Saturday starting at 10 a.m., SantaCon will go ahead. Santas will be roaming the city, perhaps drinking too many holiday spirits.
A protest against the vent is also scheduled to start at noon Saturday at Bar 13, at 35 E. 13th St. in Union Square.