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SantaCon revelers crawl through Brooklyn with less mischief

SantaCon participants gather in McCarren Park in Brooklyn

SantaCon participants gather in McCarren Park in Brooklyn on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

SantaCon was naughty but nice Saturday, with little of the public urinating, outdoor boozing and other disorder that police warned wouldn’t be tolerated as in Christmastimes past.

“We haven’t been advised of any wrongdoing,” an NYPD spokesman said Saturday night.

Organizers of the seasonally scorned SantaCon — the Christmastime procession of bar-crawling revelers dressed as Santa and his helpers — had promised everyone would be on their best behavior this year.

Thousands of ho-ho-ho-ing Santas began their bi-borough procession Saturday morning from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood to the East Village, a route organizers disclosed to the public for the first time.

Lengthy lines formed outside some of the bars that signed up to host the Santas, and the police precautions included parking a vehicle with flashing lights outside at least one of those popular East Village destinations.

Police Commissioner William Bratton had warned “anybody who wants to come into the city and raise hell dressed up as Santa Claus — we’re not going to tolerate it.”

The festivities began as thousands had gathered at 10 a.m. in McCarren Park as an NYPD helicopter whirled overhead.

Eric Fiammetta, 18, of the Riverdale section of the Bronx, was there with three friends he knows from high school at Sacred Heart in Yonkers.

The shirtless Fiammetta sported a red, white and green elf hat, a scarf around his neck that said “ho ho ho” and red sweatpants. “We’re behaving well. It shouldn’t be a problem until something goes wrong,” he said.

SantaCon obtained an assembly permit for the park, where Santas posed for a group picture. Negotiations with the city government began a month ago with talks that included the city’s parks and police departments.

At SantaCon’s first stop, a bar called Verboten at North 11th Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, costumed partyers formed an orderly line as they waited for bouncers to check IDs.

First-grader Odin Hagert, 6, of Williamsburg had come out with his mother to take pictures of the Santas. “I don’t know what to say. I think they’re silly,” said Odin, who also carried a lightsaber.

Friends Rachel Rosenthal, 26, and Alisha Hagen, 28, came out from Long Island for the festivities hoping to meet men and have a good time.

“I want to get into trouble!” Hagen, a Levittown resident, said at about 12:30 p.m. “I would like to meet a nice young man to settle down with.”

Rosenthal celebrates Hanukkah, but still thought the Christmas-themed crawl was a good opportunity. She stood out from the Santas on the street in her blue sweater with a menorah on it.

“I would like to meet a nice Jewish boy,” said Rosenthal, of Dix Hills. “Obviously the wrong place to do it.”

SantaCon — which has related events in more than 300 cities, with New York City’s the biggest — traces its roots to a San Francisco meet-up in 1994 that parodied yuletide consumerism.

The NYPD and State Liquor Authority promised to combat disorderly SantaCon revelry, which in the past included vomiting and urinating in public.

With Joan Gralla and AP

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