Hoboken’s annual SantaCon bar brawl saw nine Santas and/or elves arrested, and another 70 received summonses. Furthermore, patrons who purchased event bracelets were left irate when bars stopped honoring them in the early afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante told Hudson County View that the annual holiday binge drinking event yielded nine arrests this year: four for disorderly conduct, two for aggravated assault and three for driving while intoxicated offenses.
The first arrests of the day occurred outside of Cadillac Cantina around noon for disorderly conducts – where one individual had the distinction of being being the only person to get arrested for the same thing twice, Ferrante said.
Another unique disorderly conduct arrest took place on Court Street about an hour later, where some patrons were disgruntled for not being allowed into popular bar One Republik.
In response, they then pulled an our of service fire alarm on Court Street, prompting the Hoboken Fire Department to show up, police said.
Another bizarre situation occurred at 79 Hudson Street, a small coffee shop, where three heavily intoxicated Santas took money from the tip jar. Ferrante explained that once one of the Santas “came to consciousness,” he explained to police it was a misunderstanding and they gave the money back.
The store owners opted not to press charges, explaining that they were just happy to get the tip money back, authorities said.
In what Ferrante described as the most violent altercation of the day, a man was knocked out cold on Washington Street near Rita’s Italian Ice (121 Washington Street). He said that police are currently unsure what the altercation was about but detectives are investigating the incident.
Hoboken police also set up a driving while intoxicated checkpoint (DWI), with the most notable arrest being of a man who was caught with two ounces of marijuana inside his vehicle, according to Ferrante.
Ferrante said throughout the course of the day, where calls for service were the largest between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., 60 to 70 motor vehicle summonses were issued with about 30-40 coming via the DWI checkpoint and the other 30-40 coming via patrols.
Ferrante also noted that calls for service were fairly consistent from noon until 2 a.m., though police response was not as dramatic as it was for Halloween and Leprocon – the annual St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl.
As a whole, Ferrante referred to SantaCon as “an unnecessary, unsanctioned event in the city that causes problems the weeks before Christmas.”
“While half of the money people pay for event bracelets is supposed to go towards the Hudson County Boys & Girls Club, I don’t think that justifies people coming to Hoboken and putting other visitors and residents at risk.
Ferrante also acknowledged that Hoboken police are looking into a multitude of patron complaints about the event promoter – who hasn’t yet been identified – opting not to honor prepaid bracelets at 2:15 p.m.