SantaCon participants may drink their way through Manhattan this Saturday, but there’s one place they can’t get sloshed: on public transportation.
The MTA is saying no to booze during SantaCon, the agency announced Wednesday. It is the 10th year that they have enacted such a rule.
The alcohol ban will last for 32 hours: from Saturday Dec. 10 at 4 a.m. through Sunday December 12 at noon. Alcohol will be prohibited on all LIRR and Metro-North trains and platforms during the Santacon ban. It is already prohibited across the subway system.
“Maintaining safe and orderly travel is always a priority,” said MTA Police Chief Mueller.
SantaCon officially takes place on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, some sauced Santas in years past have been known to keep the party going a little longer around town.
“SantaCon fully supports the steps the MTA is taking to make sure everyone has a merry SantaCon” said Shiny Galeani, an organizer of this year’s New York City event.
Galeani pointed out that a group of Santas on the LIRR once stopped a stabbing suspect who was swinging a knife and hurling slurs.
Organizers of SantaCon tout their event as one of artistic expression and communal merriment, designed to “spread absurdist joy.”
However, critics say it spreads unchecked drunkenness – leading to public urination, brawling and shoddy tips at bars, to name just a few bad behaviors associated with the day.
One Gothamist commenter summed it up this way: “This stuff about community, absurdity and holiday spirit is a load of crap. This is about suburban drunks overloading bars then brawling and urinating in the streets.”
Perhaps because of this reputation, organizers have listed 13 rules on their website called “the Santa Code,” reminding participants that “Santa doesn’t piss on the streets” and steering them against “urinating in public.”
One rule states: “Santa spreads JOY: Not terror. Not vomit. Not trash. Would you want those under YOUR tree?”
The MTA also said its police department will send more officers to Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal to enforce the no-booze rule. Kringles and others who violate the policy risk being removed from trains or stations.