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SantaCon 2013 invades NYC
Photograph: Grace ChuSantaCon 2013 invades NYC

SantaCon is headed to Bushwick

Written by
Jenny Singer

You might be about to cry, and we're telling you why: SantaCon, the annual St. Nick-themed bar crawl, is dashing through the snow all the way to Bushwick this year. Some Bushwick bar owners were shocked to find an email in their inboxes from SantaCon organizers letting them know that Santa and his blitzed reindeer will be bar-hopping in their 'hood. The event, held on Dec 13 this year, will place SantaCon-ers in Bushwick from 10am to 2pm before moving on to terrorize other neighborhoods. The email also asked if the bars would like to be listed as participating venues, which would guarantee they'd be as full as Santa's beard with holiday revelers.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to SantaCon in NYC 

If anything could make you nostalgic for hipsters dressed like Katniss Everdeen, it's this "charitable, non-commercial, non-political, nonsensical Santa Claus convention," which, despite its claim to be "cleaning up Santa's act this year," has garnered the nickname "Vomit Town USA." The event has also been challenged by East Village bar owners and the police. The accusations against the drunken Santas have included discriminatory behavior and public urination (imagine 30,000 of your worst neighbors intoxicated and dressed in polyester). 

Bushwick bar owners, residents and City Council members are protesting the spread of SantaCon even further into Brooklyn (the bar crawl included stops in Williamsburg in 2012 and downtown Brooklyn in 2013). Rafael Espinal Jr., chair of the Council's Consumer Affairs Committee, issued a staunchly anti-Santa statement, saying "Bushwick is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the country because of its cool, low-key, diverse community, and we want to keep it that way. I think I speak for many of my constituents and bar patrons when I say that we're not ready for a 'Santification' of Bushwick."

SantaCon participants are required to donate $10 as their price of admission (though there's no conceivable way to enforce the rule). The price of admission as well as a portion of proceeds from each official venue stop goes to local charities. Last year's festivities raised more than $60,000 for NYC causes including the New York Food Bank, Figment Arts Festival and World Hoop Day. Santas meet in full costume at 10am at an undisclosed location (participants can text "follow @santacon" to 40404 to get location updates straight to their phone) and follow the texts to bars and other venues all over Bushwick.

Santas, the tables of milk and cookies have turned: We see you when you're puking, we know when you're destroying the sanctity of Christmas, we know when you've been bad or good so don't pee on our stoops for goodness' sake.

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