Council Member Espinal shares a few words with a few of Bushwick’s local bar owners at the Community Board #4 meeting. All were pleased to hear his announcement.
The nightmare before Christmas has ended before it ever began. Last night at a Community Board #4 meeting, District Council Member Rafael Espinal delivered news that brought warmth to every corner of Bushwick: SantaCon, the annual dread booze bomb that proves that some kids never grow up, will not be coming to this neighborhood in 2014. On Monday, Bushwick Daily broke the news that SantaCon, an annual daytime bar crawl of thousands “bad Santas” frequently accompanied by vandalism, public urination and vomiting, was to be held in Bushwick.
SantaCon organizers promised that they will look for another location after the wake of negativity from the community (including local bar owners) and a press release from Espinal, which had a pretty biting tone itself with regards to the event (“I think I speak for many of my constituents and bar patrons when I say that we’re not ready for a ‘Santification’ of Bushwick.”) Yes, there is word that is even dirtier than gentrification in New York City.
Of course, the second that Council Member Espinal delivered the news, which he received via phone call from the Santacon organizers an hour before the board meeting, applause rose from a diverse crowd that cared about keeping the neighborhood safe from such disasters. Espinal then posted a second release about his phone call with said organizers:
“The team at SantaCon NYC agreed that our neighborhood is not the best choice for the 2014 even and confirmed that SantaCon would find a new location. I want to publicly thank SantaCon organizers for their quick response and respect for the community concerns, and I wish them the best of luck on a safe and successful event.”
When one bar owner asked how she felt about SantaCon not coming to Bushwick anymore, her immediate response was simple: “Thrilled.” There were representatives of several bars from the neighborhood, including Archie’s Bar and Pizza, The Three Diamond Door and Pearl’s Social and Billy Club, and every one of them embraced the news with the same sentiment.
Certainly the quote that captures the feel of the moment with the most accuracy came from Community Board Chairwoman Julie Dent: “I am so proud of our councilperson, and the community, and the barkeepers who stood up and said, ‘This is not what we want.’
Unfortunately, it is hard to know Santacon’s next unlucky pick for a host neighborhood, as they do not publicly post the location until the day of the event. However, we can all hope that they let the bartenders know ahead of time, and that those bartenders and their Community Board will be able act in the same admirable manner as Bushwick’s.
UPDATE: SantaCon organizer confirmed to AmNY that they are looking for a new location other than Bushwick: “We’ve had interest from quite a few Bushwick bars but, after our initial exploration, the team at SantaCon NYC has determined that Bushwick does not have the capacity to be an appropriate destination for this year’s celebration.”