Bloomberg News

Booze Banned by MTA on Trains During NYC’s SantaCon Bacchanal

December 13, 2013

SantaCon Revelers Drink Outside a Bar in New York

Revelers dressed as Santa Claus drink outside at a bar during SantaCon in New York in a Dec. 10, 2011 file photo. Photographer: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Beer, wine and liquor will be banned on usually alcohol-tolerant commuter trains serving Long Island and New York’s northern suburbs tomorrow during an annual gathering in which young people dressed as Santa Claus flood the city’s bars.

The booze ban on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North goes into effect during SantaCon, a loosely organized worldwide event that in New York features tens of thousands of revelers in red costumes and white beards parading the streets and congregating in watering holes. The prohibition stretches from noon tomorrow until noon Sunday, Dec. 15, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the lines.

MTA police officers will be on duty at Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and at train stops to enforce the rules, the agency said in a news release. Police will confiscate alcohol and issue summonses carrying fines of as much as $50 or 30 days imprisonment, or both. Violators may also be subject to ejection from the train or station by police.

While the event’s “focus is on spontaneity and creativity while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill,” in the past, “some participants have been cited as a public nuisance,” the agency said.

Transit authorities have enforced similar measures on St. Patrick’s Day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at

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