They know that Santas are on their way — but there won’t be any crispy boys or boozy goodies allowed on the MTA’s sleighs.
The transit authority is preparing for what is sure to be a raucous weekend in New York City, as SantaCon returns to Manhattan on Saturday. And because of that, the MTA is banning alcohol on all Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains for the weekend.
The ban starts at 4 a.m. Saturday and lasts until noon Sunday. The MTA Police Department will be deploying extra officers to enforce the ban, as well as deal with potentially rowdy crowds.
“Maintaining safe and orderly travel is always a priority,” said MTA Police Chief Mueller. “We want everyone to enjoy their holiday festivities and get to their destination smoothly and on time.”
What is SantaCon?
The annual SantaCon event is held every December, with the exception of during the pandemic year of 2020. Droves of 20-somethings dressed up as Santas, Mrs. Clauses, elves and all sorts of holiday favorites celebrate the famed bar crawl that starts in midtown Manhattan and winds its way down to the East Village on Saturday.
The website describes the event as “a charitable, non-political, nonsensical Santa Claus convention that happens once a year to spread absurdist joy.” The organizers encourage all participants to donate $15 in order to get into all the participating venues for free.
Of course, there are always a few Grinches who have too many spiked egg nogs (God help them if that’s what they’re actually drinking all day) and ruin the fun for everyone, whether through obnoxious behavior or making messes on city streets and sidewalks.
The rules of SantaCon, stated on their website, are simple: Don’t mess with kids, cops, bar staff, the charity mission or simply, the city of New York. Basically, just be nice to people, clean up after yourselves, and no urinating or vomiting on the streets.
SantaCon Map — What Bars are Participating?
The jolly festivities kick off at 10 a.m. at the Christmas Spectacular on Broadway and 40th, where the cavalcade of Kringles will be on parade before heading to their first bars of the day.
For those participating, SantaCon’s map shows that there are several participating bars in Midtown and the East Village. More than 50 bars and clubs will be hosting revelers, and the website encourages participants to come and go at their leisure to each location.
Those looking to pick up their SantaCon “stamp” early can head to Margaritaville Times Square on Friday between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., though it is not required and the stamps will be available at the venues on Saturday.
Here are a few of the spots that the organizers have highlighted for those looking to hit up big venues and clubs:
For those preferring to avoid the event at all costs, steer clear of Midtown East and West as well as the East Village, where the largest concentration of bars will be. In Manhattan, stick to the Upper West Side, Harlem and the upper and lower parts of the island; for those in other boroughs…well, you might as well stay put if you’re trying to dodge the drinkers.
Or maybe it’s just a good weekend to get out of the city altogether, if the event isn’t your cup of nog.
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