By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Revelers donned their best Santa, elf and reindeer costumes for the annual SantaCon pub crawl last weekend, which started in the shadow of the Flatiron building this year. Neighborhood residents let their opposition be known when the Santas gathered on the plaza at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and while the NYPD said there was no record of an arrest, NBC News noted that a handful of the protesters were escorted out of the plaza by police.
The NYPD also noted that no drunk or fighting Santas were arrested as in previous years, and while many in the community were not convinced of their noble intentions, organizers seem to be attempting to clean up the event’s reputation. Organizers on the plaza this past Saturday could be seen picking up bits of trash while the crowd started clearing out by late morning and one Santa berated a photographer climbing onto a planter, yelling at her not to be disrespectful of public property.
Regarding the event’s rumored cancellation, Gothamist had previously reported last Friday that signs were posted in the East Village and Williamsburg claiming that the event was no longer happening but the fliers were no more than wishful thinking, having been posted by a neighborhood group known as NYC Residents (NYCR).
The posters noted that residents had petitioned to cancel the event and due to its overwhelming support, had been successful, but SantaCon organizers noted prior to Saturday morning that the event had not, in fact, been cancelled.
Despite opposition in the event’s current neighborhood, one bar on the Upper East Side was planning to lobby for SantaCon to come to their part of the city because of a decline in business since construction for the Second Avenue Subway started. Sam Musovic, the owner of Selena Rosa Café and president of the Second Avenue Subway Merchants Association, planned to host a press conference last Friday requesting the move but it was cancelled shortly before its scheduled time.