Booze-soaked, brawling Santas have some New Yorkers seeing red

Posted at 10:23 AM, Dec 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-16 10:28:25-05


New York (CNN) — Featuring a display of black eyes and bruises, a video of naughty Santas in New York on their worst behavior surfaced on Sunday. The Christmas-themed brawl was caught on camera at the end of a day of heavy drinking and has drawn the holiday ire of some New Yorkers.

Police were alerted at 8:20 p.m. Saturday that group of eight to 10 people dressed as Santa Claus were fighting on the snow-covered corner of 17th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan’s Gramercy neighborhood. By the time police arrived, the bad Santas were nowhere to be found.

The New York City Police Department is looking into the incident but has no assault complaints, according to Sgt. Lee Jones.

Bargoers dressed in Christmas-themed costumes descended upon hundreds of cities worldwide Saturday for the annual bar crawl known as SantaCon.

In New York, thousands took to the streets dressed as elves, Santas and holiday-themed characters, as they have since 1997. In recent years, the debauchery of some of its participants has become too much — even for some who take part in it.

“It was just terrible; they were throwing up in the streets. It was really just disgusting. I just put a red suit on and have a good time,” Sandy Bachom, who participated in the event last year, told CNN affiliate WABC.

“I think New Yorkers generally are extremely tolerant of visitors, but when they come in such droves, and then combine that with public intoxication, it has a negative impact in our neighborhoods,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman said to WABC.

Despite the brouhaha, city officials are still supporting the event.

“It’s what makes New York New York,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference Friday. “There has been some rowdy activity by a small handful of people.”

However, NYPD officers were handing out fliers stressing that they would stop revelers who publicly consume alcohol.

SantaCon NYC is vowing to clean up its act.

“SantaCon has had growing pains,” the event’s organizers said in a news release on the NYC SantaCon website. “With a little elbow-grease from the elves, a little patience from the community, and just a pinch of holiday magic, SantaCon can spread joy.”, a website that attempts to keep up with SantaCons wherever they are and assist organizers in publicizing them, maintains a list that on Saturday showed 146 locations where events would be taking place this weekend and next, from Helena, Montana, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.