[SantaCon 2013 via EVG reader Steven]
Via the EVG inbox...
Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman, along with City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senators Adriano Espaillat, Liz Krueger and Daniel Squadron, Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal, and Council Members Daniel Garodnick, Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez sent letters to SantaCon and the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) calling for greater oversight and accountability in an effort to rein in the annual pub crawl.
The coalition of lawmakers, building on similar efforts in 2013 and 2014, proposed a set of guiding principles for SantaCon’s organizers, including better coordination with officials, greater accountability on the part of the organizers, and stronger efforts to mitigate risks to pedestrians. SantaCon, an annual bar-crawl that draws thousands of participants dressed as Santa Claus, regularly draws the ire of local residents and law enforcement for its disruptive effect on local communities as well as its perceived threat to public safety.
"SantaCon needs to grow up," said State Senator Brad Hoylman. "An organization that brings over 25,000 people to our neighborhoods should show us respect by sharing its routes with community boards and local elected officials and working together with us well in advance to determine how we can mitigate the negative impacts of this bar crawl on our local communities and small retail businesses, whose annual sales depend heavily on this time of year."
The local officials also reached out to SLA Chairman Vincent G. Bradley, urging the agency to take a “proactive approach” to this year’s event by reminding participating licensees to be mindful of potential violations and committing additional inspectors along the route to ensure adherence to local regulations.
To Whom It May Concern:
For a third year, we write to express our concerns regarding the annual SantaCon bar crawl and the negative impact it has on the residential communities where it takes place. Each holiday season, local elected officials, community boards and local precincts face a wave of complaints as the SantaCon bar crawl passes through their neighborhoods.This year, we are again hoping to take preemptive action.
We appreciate that the SantaCon bar crawl can provide additional short-term sales to a small group of local business establishments. However, we also recognize that the event’s many adverse effects significantly disrupt the quality of life of entire communities. While the SantaCon bar crawl has pledged to take proactive steps in the past, the organization’s efforts have not mitigated the bulk of the event’s deleterious impact. There is still more that can and must be done to ensure that the event is positive and safe.
Previously, we requested that the SantaCon bar crawl adhere to a set of common-sense principles. We urge you to agree to a similar set of guidelines this year in anticipation of the event’s 2015 iteration. The three principles are as follows:
• Share defined routes with the community – The SantaCon bar crawl’s path often comes as an unwelcome and last minute surprise to community members, the NYPD, and local businesses. We ask that the SantaCon bar crawl make its routes and timetable publicly available far in advance in order to give all of these stakeholders time to adequately plan for the arrival of SantaCon bar crawl participants.
• Ensure responsible participant behavior – While the police can certainly play a role in ensuring SantaCon bar crawl participants abide by laws regarding public intoxication and urination and overly aggressive behavior, the NYPD is responsible for serving the public at large rather than providing security for a private event. The SantaCon bar crawl’s organizers must make a concerted effort to self-police at establishments along the route and should expel overly intoxicated and badly-behaving participants.
• Mitigate pedestrian safety risks – The Santacon bar crawl’s participants often overwhelm sidewalks that were designed to accommodate smaller crowds, posing serious safety concerns for participants and other pedestrians. The SantaCon bar crawl should identify opportunities to reduce these risks. For example, staff members or trained volunteers can be present along the route to ensure the free-flow of pedestrian travel and to prevent individuals from walking into busy vehicular traffic.
With the date of the event rapidly approaching, we urge the SantaCon bar crawl to act swiftly to adopt these guidelines and make its programmatic and safety plans public.
To date, the SantaCon route has been shrouded in secrecy. DNAinfo reported that the event to take place this Saturday will start in Bushwick, and wind up in the East Village.
Previously on EV Grieve:
SantaCon 2015 set for Dec. 12 in NYC, says SantaCon
Local politicians call on SantaCon 'to adopt good-neighbor principles'