NY Waterway cancels giant SantaCon boat party

SantaCon (seen here in 2016) has long faced ire from neighborhood residents because of the public drunkenness often displayed by the event’s participants. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Shortly after announcing last Friday that the infamous SantaCon bar crawl would be sponsoring a handful of party yachts in the East River as part of the event scheduled for this Saturday, the event was canceled on Tuesday.

Councilmember Keith Powers shared a letter to Donald Liloia, Senior Vice President of NY Waterway, on Twitter this Tuesday afternoon also signed by State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein expressing a number of concerns about the event. Mere hours later, the Councilmember confirmed that NY Waterway, which operates the Skyport Marina where the boats would have docked, had canceled the event.

Gothamist reported on Tuesday that Liloia also confirmed the event’s cancellation, noting that the group organizing the event had only started planning recently and acknowledged that it was too complicated to pull off on such short notice.

The letter signed by Powers, Hoylman and Epstein (which can be read in full here) argued that a free event of that size, attracting people who are likely to be intoxicated, would cause substantial disturbance to tenants in the nearby residential developments of Waterside Plaza and Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village.

“Given the marina’s location and the scale of this event, we have serious concerns about the disruption it is likely to create for those who live in and travel through the area,” the letter said. Local elected officials have previously received complaints about the party boats that dock in the marina and have been able to mitigate the effects by working with the Skyport Marina, but the letter argued that this event would be “exponentially” more disruptive, and given that the nearby 13th precinct will have to manage the SantaCon crowds on land, they would have even fewer resources to manage the crowds and traffic at the marina. The event was expected to have five boats launching from the marina, but the letter noted that there is minimal space at the dock for large crowds, which would easily overwhelm the area directly in front of the boat launch.

Gothamist reported that the initial announcement about the event was sent out on Friday and SantaCon planned to have five party vessels, sponsored by Fireball Whiskey, that would feature live bands and DJs and would leave the Skyport Marina every hour.

As in previous years, the organizers of SantaCon have not yet announced the start location and specific route for the bar crawl but more information will be available closer to the start of the event on the website at santacon.info/New_York-NY.

2 thoughts on “NY Waterway cancels giant SantaCon boat party

  1. Why not take Santacon to another boro??? I’m a very senior citizen and when my neighborhood was designated a couple of years ago, it was horrific. Intoxicated teens and young adults crowded the sidewalks and streets – and people like myself had no place to walk and were in great danger of being hurt. It’s always Manhattan – – spread the “wealth” – there are plenty of bars in Bklyn, TheBronx and Staten Island – – – how about Antartica?????

  2. I plan on filming this drunk crowd event. And will post it on social media to embarrass those who pee and puke all over because they do not know when to stop drinking. Hopefully their boss will fire them.

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