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SantaCon 2011: A Jolly Good Time in NYC

SantaCon 2011: A Jolly Good Time in NYC (with some awesome HO HO HO’s)

Article by Joe Rocha

Photography by Billy Ludwig and Joe Rocha

Who: Thousands of festively dressed revelers

Where: New York City

When: 12/10/11

What: An early Christmas miracle

Why: Don’t try and think about it too long because you’ll hurt yourself

SantaCon is an apolitical flash mob coordinated through a Twitter and fairly bare bones website that involves partying in the streets and in any area with a large concentration of bars and public spaces. All this happens while dressed up in any kind of costume that hints at Christmas or any other holiday that falls in this celebratory time of year. OhComeOn staff photographer Billy Ludwig and I decided to dress as a classic Elf and Santa (with belly) duo, with Billy opting to substitute a normal Elf hat with one that introduced MISTLETOE into this liquor-drenched equation. But enough of the incriminating details…

We jumped a train toward World Trade Center, spotting a number of others making the pilgrimage for this merry event. North Cove Marina in the Financial District was the starting point, and by the time we got there the entire area was thoroughly clogged with thousands of Fat Men and Elves, along with a peppering of Dradles, Cindy Lou Who’s, Grinches, Trees, and more unconventional spins on the holidays’ spirits. One could tell in an instant just how friendly this overgrown mob was, with smiles abounding. Nonperishable food items were being taken as donations.

The chant came quickly, “Santas on the move! Santas on the move! Santas on the move!” Stone Street was quickly populated by most of the crowd and the bars were packed. South Street Seaport was the spillover area once the street was fully congested. It was on par with Mardi Gras, and still not a single NYPD officer was visible. That’s when the first peak in weirdness and awesomeness occurred. A gang of around a dozen giant Teletubbies arrived with a boom box, their dancing shoes on, and a huge inflatable zebra as their mascot. The entire street broke out into a massive dance party, with the zebra thrown into the air like an anorexic high school cheerleader.

That’s when the first villain of the Christmas miracle that is SantaCon arrived. The Abominable Snowman, a Yeti of surprisingly miniature proportions, got more than a little rambunctious and broke the boombox. The mob turned on a dime, and it certainly seemed this rare missing link was fearing for his life as people began shouting, pointing, pushing and shouting asshole. The situation was diffused and he high tailed it out of Stone Street.

The boombox was fixed within a few seconds and dancing resumed with a resounding cheer and renewed vigor.

Such a large gathering of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza Elves in one area led to talks of unionization. In one such confrontation the argument between Santa Clauses and Elves became especially heated when one Fat Man saw an Elf from his work camp that had not been given an R&R pass. When he was given a reprisal for insubordination it spurred a swift rebuttal from other Elves present. A full scale debate broke out, mimicking the violence of some South American country’s parliamentary process.

The next location was up toward City Hall Park, which was instantly occupied, the fountain full of red velvet (velour) and cheer. People were milling around smoking and drinking, with signs protesting the unethical treatment of reindeer. The party continued with a number of boomboxes and speakers spouting different tunes from the corners of the green space. The cops finally arrived and kicked everyone out of the park after a little over an our.

Santa Clauses from Brooklyn joined forces with their Manhattan counterparts across from the Brooklyn Bridge and it was up to Grand Central, with every train filled with caroling madness. This is where things start to get fuzzy.

We hit a bar called The Australian, and from there the night devolved into random tweets on various afterparties from Rubalad in Brooklyn to District 36 in Midtown, with caroling on the steps of the New York Public Library, some kind of candy cane massacre in Times Square, and a Warriors-type gathering of gingerbread marauders in the East Village. Disjointed and broken, we made our way home and counted our blessing we survived without using the bail money ferreted in our socks.

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