Breaking from a years’ long tradition of withholding its starting point until the night before, SantaCon announced last night that its red-suited revelers will first gather Saturday morning at the sprawling James A. Farley Post Office at 421 8th Avenue. Organizers reportedly made the early announcement as a bow to public officials who have complained that they needed more time to alert their constituents to the costumed boozers coming into their neighborhoods.
The Farley Building, where festive folk will meet from 10am to 11am, stretches two blocks from West 31st to 33rd Street. It’s right across the street from Penn Station, where many from an expected crowd of 20,000 merrymakers will emerge. They’re then expected to fan out to bars in midtown and the East Village for the day-long drinking event, making their rounds at establishments listed on SantaCon’s site. Those in the East Village including Solas, Professor Thom’s, Pinks and Crocodile Lounge.
Vincent Greany, commanding officer of the precinct that covers the East Village, told Bedford + Bowery that his officers will provide additional covereage and are “ready to go,” adding, “We don’t anticipate any problems.”
Starting point for SantaCon NYC is Farley Post Office! See you in your best most creative costumes at 10am Saturday! Full list of venues at https://t.co/BWpwjJwPHr #santaconnyc pic.twitter.com/9GUtwwq5ns
— Santacon NYC (@santacon) December 8, 2017
Earlier this week Norman Siegel, the famed civil rights lawyer retained in 2014 after residents in the East Village and Brooklyn sought to keep SantaCon out of their communities, told Bedford + Bowery he “could not confirm or deny” a couple of startup locations that had been mentioned, including Farley and Madison Square Park, turned down last year for being too small, according to an organizer. Siegel would only reveal that he planned to attend a meeting last Friday of police from various precincts and other public officials at the Manhattan South Bureau Patrol command.
Why the attempt to shroud SantaCon in mystery? “It’s like a secret Santa society,” said Manhattan graphic designer Eliza Spear, one of the organizers. She noted some of the secrecy helped to “build anticipation” of the event. But she added that in recent years, it was also a way to protect SantaCon from people “who want to knock off our event.” These imposters, she said, have their own website, “but we’re the real SantaCon.NYC.”
Spear expects this year’s participants to “again make their presence known in all five boroughs.” She believes critics have “mellowed out on the situation. They understand we want to work with them. We don’t want to be their enemy. I think people are cooler about us in recent years.”
Update and Correction: This story has been updated with a quote from Greany (whose name was originally misspelled in this correction) and revised to correct the estimated number of participants.