Saint Nicks get into the holiday spirits at SantaCon

NEW YORK -- Santas came by the hundreds, reindeer formed a kick line and oversized elves cavorted with saucy Mrs.

See Full Article

Clauses as a police helicopter circled overhead.

Welcome to SantaCon, the annual Christmastime costume-parade-meets-pub-crawl that was hoping this year would persuade New York it's more nice than naughty.

"Look out for your reindeer. Look out for your elves," organizers advised the crowd as Saturday's festivities began with a mix of safety messages and psyching-up: "Can I get a 'ho'?!"

Before long, over a thousand costumed revelers were headed off to bar-hop and make merry through Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Jessica Carr and Victoria Pirolli had turned themselves into snow globes, each encasing her head and torso in bubble-umbrella-like plastic, with a foam rubber base around the hips. The two science teachers and friends from New Jersey said they were at their fifth SantaCon for the creativity, not the carousing that earned the event an out-of-control reputation in recent years.

"We have fun," Pirolli said. "We don't pee in bushes or anything."

Tracing its origins to a prankish, anti-consumerist gathering in San Francisco in 1994, SantaCon has mushroomed into events in hundreds of cities. New York's is generally the biggest, drawing thousands of people.

It's also drawn criticism, particularly after the 2012 and 2013 celebrations generated two arrests, 85 summonses for disorderly conduct and other offences, and online videos of brawling St. Nicks. Organizers say there were no arrests or summonses last year.

Pressured to clean up SantaCon's act, organizers began telling police their plans in 2013. This year, they publicly released their route days ahead of time, got a permit to assemble at Brooklyn's McCarren Park and even agreed to tweet police advice about pedestrian safety.

Still, a dozen city and state officials publicly aired concerns about potential binge drinking and bad behaviour and asked liquor regulators to keep watch. Police Commissioner William Bratton on Friday warned "anybody who wants to come into the city and raise hell dressed up as Santa Claus -- we're not going to tolerate it," while NYPD Chief James O'Neill suggested the event was a burden at a time of heightened security concerns after attacks by extremists in Paris and elsewhere.

"We are in trying times all throughout the world, and to have to expend more resources on an event like this, at times, it's frustrating," O'Neill said. SantaCon's lawyer, Norman Siegel, said Saturday the group aimed to self-police anyone who got out of line.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Historic eclipse darkens skies across U.S.

    World News Toronto Sun
    Millions of Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century. Source
  • Canadian man's body found along Appalachian Trail in Maine

    World News CTV News
    WYMAN TOWNSHIP, Maine -- Authorities say the body of a Canadian man has been found along the Appalachian Trail in Maine. WABI-TV reports that the body of 55-year-old Gerald Gabon, of Ontario, was found Sunday evening by another hiker along the trail in Wyman Township in Franklin County. Source
  • Chilean court upholds measure legalizing some abortions

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile -- Chile's constitutional Court on Monday upheld a measure that would end the country's absolute ban on abortions. The court's 6-4 vote accepted the constitutionality of a measure to legalize abortions when a woman's life is in danger, when a fetus is not viable and in cases of rape. Source
  • Guam official says the island is calm despite North Korea threat

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- The lieutenant governor of Guam reassured Japanese on Monday that the U.S. territory is calm amid the recent tension between the U.S. and North Korea. Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio said at a news conference with the president of the Guam Visitors Bureau in Tokyo that Guam remains in a "state of normalcy. Source
  • Jury awards $417M in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. Source
  • Judge shot, wounded near Ohio courthouse; gunman killed

    World News Toronto Sun
    STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — A judge walking from his car into the county courthouse was shot by a gunman Monday morning but managed to fire back before a probation officer stepped in and ultimately killed the suspect, authorities said. Source
  • Quebec police hint at arrests after anti-immigration counter-rally turns violent [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Quebec City police are saying there is a very strong possibility there will be more arrests in connection with violence during duelling demonstrations over the weekend. A right-wing group called La Meute gathered Sunday to protest what it claims is a too-charitable refugee and immigration policy by the federal and Quebec governments. Source
  • Ottawa wants info on impact of nuclear-waste bunker on Indigenous community

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Further information on how a proposed nuclear-waste bunker near Lake Huron might affect area First Nations peoples is needed before the government decides whether to approve the project, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Monday. Source
  • U.S. Embassy in Russia stops issuing tourist visas for 8 days

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- In a step that could affect hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists, the U.S. Embassy in Russia said Monday it would suspend issuing non-immigrant visas for eight days from Wednesday in response to the Russian decision to cap embassy staff. Source
  • Attorneys believe Marcellus Williams is innocent

    World News Toronto Sun
    ST. LOUIS — Attorneys for a condemned Missouri inmate warn that the state is preparing to execute a potentially innocent man. Marcellus Williams, 48, is scheduled to die Tuesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre for stabbing to death former St. Source