Where Santas Crawl And Elves Chunder

“The word is world!” Orson shouted at her.
“I said world!” she shouted back.
“Speak as though you came from New York,” he told her.
“I did come from New York. How does one from New York speak?”
“Not the way you speak!”
“Why should I talk like someone special?”
“Because you are.”
“Yes, but I don’t want you to be conscious of it.”

—Orson Welles and Eartha Kitt, in rehearsal for Time Runs

New York City is known for many things. Among these, and fatally, as the demonic cesspool out of which slouched Mongo. The place has always been cursed, which is why the Lenape were content to let it go for a handful of beads. But neither they, the purchasing Dutch, or even H. P. Lovecraft, could conceive that it would one day prove such a hellpit it would belch forth the most hideous beast in all creation. But it did.

Which is why, in the fullness of time, it shall be drained of all its human inhabitants. They will leave in a long and winding stream of refugees; possessions piled high on wooden carts, strapped firmly to their backs. As behind them officials of the Department Of Shame set about demolishing the entirety of the city. All works therein of human hands shall be ground into dust. The city shall be returned to the wild, and it will stay that way. The only human-crafted object to remain shall be a small plaque containing the words of Mongo’s mother: “What kind of son have I created?” Forever shall it stand as an otherwise mute monument, to What Can Happen.

But that is in the future. (Though it won’t be long now/it won’t be long.) Here, today, in the present, New York City, it is ground zero for the strange holiday ritual of SantaCon, which involves dressing up like Santa Claus, going out into the streets, and then drinking the alcohol, until there is the puking.

Such, such, are the humans.

Across many cultures, many times, humans ritually combine in groups to consume vast quantities of intoxicants, commonly entering states of no, this world isn't weird at allinebriation so pronounced and prolonged that they often, later, bring new meaning to such phrases as “I did WHAT?” or “how do you mean, there are ‘charges’?”

This is particularly true of American humans, condemned to a nation where people have been awash in intoxicants since the Founding.

Various “reasons” are summoned to engage in these bacchanalian rites. In America, these “reasons” can range from viewing the spectacle of identically-dressed young men furiously battling over balls, to honoring a calendar passage like a birthday, to genuflecting before a totem like a clover.

In recent years, humans in New York City have increasingly combined to decide that the advent of the Christmas season is reason enough to dress up like a Santa person, or one of his assistants or associates, consume vast quantities, and then pour out onto the streets to wantonly hump and heave upon them.

These humans call themselves SantaCon, and maintain that: “We do not pout. We do not cry. We are Jolly.”

It is further asserted that “SantaCon is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.”

Finally, “Santa does not accept corporate sponsorship or speak to the press.”

As can be seen here, it is evident that, as is true of so many things, SantaCon has inevitably spread—like bedbugs or bad writing—from out of New York, and into the larger World.

And so, over the next couple weeks or so, the event shall ride a giant tsunami of hormones and liquor through such international hot-spots as Yountville, California and McKinney, Texas. As well as wee sleepy hamlets like London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Madrid. The SantaCons in locales such as santa gets nekkidSan Francisco and Fort Lauderdale feature a pronounced nakedness component, something absent in the fests in, say, Winnipeg, Buffalo, or Oslo.

Ur-iterations of this event included the 1994 “Santarchy” of Suicide Club in San Francisco, and a 2005 anti-commercialization shindig in Auckland, New Zealand, one that boiled over into “such criminal acts as looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards.” Novelist Chuck Palahniuk, meanwhile, several times penned mention of  a “Santa Rampage,” which subsequently got loose from out of his books, and poured out onto the pavement.

Because it occurs in America, the NYC SantaCon is basically a pub crawl, “a holiday ritual that takes costumed revelers on a boozy tour of the city’s pubs.”

The thing begins at the Farley Post Office building at 31st Street and Eighth Avenue. It ends when the last straggling survivors either stumble home, or are put in the pokey.

A past-year’s NYC Con was benignly described in this way:

Over the course of the day, the revelers tipped their glasses and their fuzzy caps at the South Street Seaport, caroled at the New York Public Library, gathered in City Hall Park and fanned out to watering holes around the borough.

While Santa was the most popular outfit, the partiers also donned reindeer, elf and dreidel costumes as they packed the streets and subways, singing carols and spreading holiday cheer.

Vaudie Puckett, imported for the day from Delaware, explained the penchant of SantaCon revelers santa defies gravityfor downing vast quantities thusly: “Santa has to have a crutch.”
New Yorker Damiana Valentini said, “I see it every year. They pretty much take over the city.”
Dania Bdeir, indulging in her first SantaCon, waxed ecstatic about “fifty thousand Santas walking around New York!”
If this number is accurate, it means the SantaCon people brought out roughly 10 times as many humans as for Occupy Wall Street in one place ever assembled.
Occupy Wall Street was a thing that occurred several years back where some earnest young people gathered in some parks to say they did not want there to be any more mean rich people. This continued until the State moved in and arrested some of the earnest young people. At which time the earnest young people forgot all about what they were initially complaining about, and began complaining instead about being arrested.
Classic State trick. People fall for it every time.

Back at the SantaCon, various assorted nonplussed non-revelers complain in this way:

[T]he NYPD devoted more resources to Occupy Wall Street than to SantaCon, and [locals] asked police for a better response at the neighborhood’s next expected pub-crawl on St. Patrick’s Day.

“The mayor put so much power on Occupy Wall Street, he had Downtown under lock occupy santaand key—but he forgot about Santa,” said Ann DeFalco, a member of Community Board 1′s Seaport/Civic Center Committee, at a meeting Monday night.

Residents said they saw unruly Santas buying six-packs of bottled beer on Fulton Street, then standing in the middle of the street drinking them and shattering the empty glass bottles on the ground.

The event was described as something truly strange and terrifying in the lead to this piece:

Thousands of drunken Santas terrorized Lower Manhattan when they flooded into the neighborhood for SantaCon earlier this month, openly flouting public drinking and urination laws, locals say.

Angry residents attended Community Board 1′s Monday night santa has needsmeeting to complain about the latest incarnation of the annual pub crawl, whose participants have been allowed to grow more rowdy every year, they say.

“There was public urination, people vomiting all over the place, open containers and no police,” said John Fratta, chairman of the Seaport/Civic Center Committee[.]

Speaking from out of a time warp, one Paul Howitz opined: ”Santa should be associated with milk and cookies, not beer.”
As we speak, It Is Happening, out there, right now. And not a milk, or a cookie, may be seen.
The crimson plague known as SantaCon, fueled early Saturday by cigarettes and peppermint schnapps, came to Midtown as the annual holiday boozefest began beneath the Corinthian columns of the Farley Post Office.
Comedian Mike Oldroyd, 31, sported a picture-perfect elf outfit as he offered a defense of the oft-derided pre-Christmas party.

“We’re having fun, we’re getting in the Christmas spirit, we’re kicking off the festivities, interacting with people, and we’re going to have a couple beers,” the Manhattan man explained.


The 19th annual charity event endures an annual backlash from New Yorkers repulsed by the sight of Santas vomiting or urinating in the street.

This tube helpfully provides a map, pinpointing the best places to see the vomiting and the urinating. I tried to embed the map here, but the tubes wouldn’t let me. I blame Mongo.

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When I Worked

December 2017

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