If this flyer is to be believed, SantaCon supporters scorned by Bushwick bar owners will gather at Pearl’s Billy & Social Club tonight “to protect the constitutional rights of a charitable, good-natured right to assembly.” But is it to be believed?
Betsy Maher, owner of Pearl’s, posted the flyer to her Facebook page today, with the message, “Someone just sent me this. All I can say is, Bring it on Santa!”
The call to action reads, “Pressure from grinches pressured Community Board 4 to outlaw SantaCon from Bushwick. We intend to peacefully protest this decision.”
We’d bet our beer money this is a joke — listing “Jefftown” as the location of Pearl’s has to be the work of a troll (though it should be noted, Pearl’s actually is on “St. Nicholas” Avenue), and there’s nothing about the “Million Santa March” on SantaCon’s page or seemingly anywhere else online. But as with St. Nick himself, we want to believe.
After sharing the flyer, Maher told her fired-up Facebook commenters, “There’s no way this can actually be real. It’s too ridiculous.” When we got in touch with her, she explained that a friend had posted it and tagged her in it, saying that it was circulating online. “I wouldn’t put it past him to have made it as a joke, though,” she said. “He denied it when I asked, so who knows?”
Either way, she says, “We aren’t taking [the flyer] seriously at all. I have no idea who did it. We aren’t worried at Pearl’s, we eat Santas like them for breakfast.”
On Tuesday, before it was announced in a community board meeting that SantaCon wouldn’t be coming to Bushwick after all, Maher appeared on Heritage Radio Network along with owners of Kings County Saloon, Montana’s Trail House and Roberta’s to explain why they wouldn’t be allowing Santas into their establishments.
“After working in the East Village and the Lower East Side for many, many, many years in bars and dealing with SantaCon people,” Maher said, “I know what a total shitshow it is — it’s kind of like St. Patrick’s Day in winter and we just don’t want to deal with it. I don’t want drunk people puking and pissing themselves and running around in Santa costumes. And most importantly there’s a lot of little kids in this neighborhood who still believe in Santa Claus, I presume, and for them to see them fighting each other and passing out in a pool of their own vomit and all of that, it’s just disgusting.”
Yesterday, a SantaCon spokesperson told AM New York that organizers ultimately decided that Bushwick didn’t have “the capacity to be an appropriate destination for this year’s celebration.” But Maher noted on her Facebook page that the Santa swarm may yet orchestrate a sneak attack on the neighborhood, since the starting location won’t be announced until the night before the event, which takes place Dec. 13 this year. “So I urge all other bar owners in Bushwick to continue to boycott SantaCon,” she wrote. “We will have posters printed up for businesses to put in their windows stating that SantaCon participants are not welcome in their establishment.”