By Seth Fera-Schanes
Every year in New York around mid-December a very interesting thing happens. Similar to the great Wildebeest migration of the Serengeti or Monarch butterflies traversing North America, thousands upon thousands of Santa Claus’ begin to congregate in midtown Manhattan. It is the annual SantaCon and is known more for drinking and merriment than seeking food and a warmer climate. However, this is a large group of people moving en masse to different bars around the city. The other parallel I can draw between this event and other great animal migrations is the predators stalking the heard. The difference in this case is the predators are hangers-on with cameras hoping to document the event.
Let me be clear about my feelings toward SantaCon. I really like this annual event; that is before I hate it. I can explain. The festivities (i.e drinking) start around 11am. One might think that is a bit early but I am willing to let it slide. People are out and having fun with friends. Starting around 2pm the Santas start to take over midtown. Again, this is a group of people with a common purpose and for participants and outsiders alike it is fun to watch.
Then something happens. As with any all day drinking event, the initially strong become weak, disoriented and down right annoying. The herd has had a lot of fun. A lot. Some recognize this and board their respective trains to bed down for the night. Others, against all reason continue long into the night, taking over bars, Dunkin Doughnuts and any other establishment with a glowing neon sign. Towards the end of the night in just about all corners of the city, you will see a solo Santa Claus slowing working his way home. The person’s head will be down, red suit a little worse for wear and festive hat askew. And so ends the annual SantaCon migration.
As for a recommendation, if you are in the city, have access to a $5 Santa costume and want to party, this is the event for you. If not, then grab a camera and let the stalking begin.
Categories: Manhattan, Union Square
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