A tell-tale sign that you’re a tourist or a transplant is participation in SantaCon, an event that terrorizes children, is detested by locals, and is off-putting to anyone with a sense of decency. SantaCon 2016 resulted in five arrests and dozens of summonses issued.
Obviously, for journalistic purposes, I had to go see what the fuss was about. Waking up promptly at two in the afternoon, I made my way to the Brooklyn bar district where the Santas had already been at it for a few hours. Walking into one of the more noteworthy clubs, Verboten, I was shocked by the number of drunkards partying like it was 3AM. Feeling a bit nervous and out-of-place without a costume, I rushed to the bar for some emergency courage.
From there, the Santas made their way to the subway station. This was the highlight or lowlight depending on your perspective of SantaCon. Hundreds of Santas crammed the metro station like businessmen on a Monday morning needing to get to the office before the opening bell.
When the train arrived, the Santas created an unstoppable sea of red as they overtook every space aboard the train. Christmas cheer and the smell of alcohol was in the air as the Santas did their best attempt at caroling unsuspecting train riders who were taken aback by the volume of SantaCon participants. Once in Manhattan, the Santas kept up the blitzkrieg pace, leaving liquor stores with no inventory and local bars with no capacity.
When night came, the few Santas who managed to last to this point began to feel more self-conscious as their numbers dwindled. After the novelty of being a grownup while stumbling around New York in Santa costume or the alcohol wore off, the Santas, almost as quickly as they had appeared, retreated back into the shadows of the City, to never be seen again or until next year when the spectacle is back and bigger than ever.
Willy would be proud. Marcus would be outraged. Now let me fix you some sandwiches.