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LIRR Bans Booze Saturday for Santa-Con
Leave the spiked-eggnog at home.
That’s the Long Island Rail Road’s memo to any revelers taking the train to New York City on Saturday for Santa-Con, an annual Christmas-themed convention in which thousands of people dress in Santa suits, sing naughty carols and drink holiday cheer.
The LIRR, which similarly bans booze on alcohol-fueled holidays such as New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, said the policy is designed “to maintain orderly travel.”
The ban starts at noon. Santa-Con starts at 10 a.m. before parading randomly throughout lower Manhattan.
The event, which organizers balk at being referred to as a bar crawl despite its stops at countless pubs, is the only non-holiday to draw the LIRR ban, which will be enforced by MTA police officers.
Santa-Con has gotten a bad rap in recent years due to the rowdiness of some participants committing public-intoxication fueled quality-of-life crimes such as public urination. Organizers maintain that donations to charity are the event’s entry fee.
While many establishments offer Santa-Con participants drink specials, this year some city pub owners are reportedly taking at least one NYPD officials’ advice and insisting that over-served Santas not belly up to their bars.
Santa-Con, believed to have started in San Francisco in the 1990s, has spawned hundreds of similar events in cities worldwide, although the New York City version is considered to be the largest with estimates as high as 30,000 participants last year.