SantaCon Needs a Plan
The following is an October 15, 2013 letter sent by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman to the organizers of SantaCon — the annual bar crawl in which participants dress as…well, you know. Hoylman’s letter was cc’d to Community Boards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 as well as NYPD Police Precincts 1, 6, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20, Midtown South and Midtown North.
I am writing to express my concerns regarding SantaCon and the effects it has on the communities it visits. Each year local elected officials, community boards and local precincts are besieged by complaints as SantaCon passes through their neighborhoods.
While SantaCon may be a short-term boon to a select group of local businesses, the many adverse impacts it wreaks, such as vomiting in the streets, public urination, vandalism and littering, disrupt community members’ quality of life. I recognize that at any large event, a few bad actors may disrupt an otherwise orderly affair, but at previous SantaCons bad actors have hardly been the exception. As such, significantly more must be done to combat the neighborhood scourge SantaCon has become.
Further, no matter the behavior of the participants, the event has grown large enough to completely overwhelm sidewalks and public spaces, creating a public safety hazard for all.
I strongly urge you to work with the New York City Police Department in order to come up with a strong and effective plan to combat public intoxication and to ensure all participants are respectful of the neighborhoods they visit, as well as handling the overwhelming crowds associated with an event this size. In addition, I urge you make this plan available to the affected local Community Boards well in advance of your event so that they have time to comment and help shape it.
Sincerely, Brad Hoylman