Santa Con 2022

Santa Con

New York City: Ho-Ho-Home to SantaCon 2022 
SantaCon, the yearly winter holiday-themed pub crawl, kicked off early Saturday morning on Broadway and 40th in Midtown. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which canceled the celebration in December of 2020, all attendees were required to be vaccinated against the virus to participate. Thousands of would-be Santas gathered to raise money for various charities which the event sponsors; previous charities SantaCon has donated to include City Harvest, Neighbors Together, Secret Sandy Claus Project, Figment NYC, among others. According to the group’s official website, SantaCon has donated over 900,000 dollars to its various sponsored charities over the course of its 21 year run, in lieu of its originally planned food drive-which the website also claims was too difficult to coordinate. 
SantaCon tickets are 15 dollars, and the website states that the money from the 15 dollar ticket goes the charity drive, and is split between whichever charities are being supported in the given year. In return for the 15 dollars, ticket holders receive: a “Santa Badge” as a ticket for the event, information regarding where the group is going before anyone else, and priority access to participating venues. The venues which participate in the festive partying are typically bars localized primarily within Midtown Manhattan, making for a unique sight as the large group slowly makes their way between venues on the route. 
In anticipation for the holiday revelry, New York City enacted a ban on alcoholic beverages on MTA transit throughout the city, a prohibition which is slated to end noon Sunday. New Jersey Transit followed the MTA’s example by instating a blanket ban on beverages as a whole for NJ trains and buses this weekend- a ban which will be reinstated for Hoboken SantaCon, set for Saturday December 17th. This embargo is meant as a safety precaution for city straphangers, as excessive intoxication has historically been an issue during the aftermath of SantaCon; with incidents of subway violence and accidents on the rise in the past year, the MTA Police Chief John Mueller reassured the public that, “[M]aintaining safe and orderly travel is always a priority.”
SantaCon’s organizers have five cardinal rules, lovingly listed as the “Five Fs”, which are enumerated on the site: don’t f*** with kids, don’t f*** with cops, don’t f*** with bar staff, don’t f*** with NYC, and don’t f*** with Santa’s Charity Mission. While SantaCon is an admittedly chaotic festivity, event organizers seem determined to challenge the stigma surrounding the yearly merrymaking and instead draw focus to the group’s charitable efforts. SantaCon is expected to continue well into the night Saturday, even following the conclusion of official events. 

Photos by Bruce Cotler Story By Emily Cotler

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