New York Daily News: SantaCon organizers working with pols and police to turn naughty event nice

Brad Hoylman

December 04, 2013

December 4, 2013 : By Thomas Tracy

SantaCon organizers are trying to get off the naughty list this year.

For the first time, the route for the annual pub crawl, where revelers dress like Santa Claus and his Mrs. and heartily toast the season, will be shared with the NYPD and elected officials ahead of the Dec. 14 event, organizers and a state senator said.

SantaCon organizers confirmed that they also plan to have 80 helper elves along the route to coordinate traffic and make sure their Santas stay respectful to residents and local businesses.

Critics said the proof will be in the figgy pudding.

"I'm reserving judgment until we see how the event unfolds," said state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who hammered out the concessions in a phone call with SantaCon organizers and other elected officials on Tuesday. "We are grateful that volunteers have stepped forward to take responsibility, but (the event) is loosely organized and has a revolving leadership."

Sources said this year's SantaCon will kick off around Tompkins Square Park and wend its way through the East Village and the Lower East Side before jumping over to Brooklyn.

Hell's Kitchen residents said last year's SantaCon turned their neighborhood into the nightmare before Christmas, with smashed Santas throwing up in the street and fighting with each other.

 To make sure this doesn't happen again, Lt. John Cocchi of the Midtown North Precinct sent out a letter to neighborhood bars and clubs last month encouraging them not to participate in SantaCon.

Yet Cocchi didn't speak for the entire department: Outgoing NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is a fan of the pub crawl.

"This is an event we are supporting," Kelly said in a press conference last month. "It's what makes New York New York."