Street art photo of the week: Santa Claus visits the East Village

In honor of Christmas, we’ve chosen Santa Claus as our street art photo of the week. But be warned: this isn’t your typical St. Nick.

Street art in NYC's East Village shows Santa Claus drinking alcohol and wearing an "anarchy" t-shirt

Street art Santa is in a festive mood; we assume that's eggnog in his bottle.

This downtown Santa swills booze straight from the bottle and wears an anarchist t-shirt. His politics clearly lean left; he grabs Wall Street tycoons by the collar and isn’t afraid to step on their coattails.You’ll find him in New York City’s East Village.

According to neighborhood blog EV Grieve, Santa is the work of street artist Sergey.

Street art in NYC's East Village shows Santa Claus drinking alcohol and wearing an "anarchy" t-shirt

This Santa Claus is located near Mars Bar in the East Village.

I came across Santa while walking by Mars Bar, a venerable East Village dive bar on 1st Street and 2nd Avenue. The bar offers a taste of the neighborhood before it was gentrified.  This review from New York magazine sums it up:

There’s always a bad smell over by the bathrooms; the drinks are stiff and the people are crazy… No credit cards, no draft beer—hell, you’re lucky if there’s toilet paper.

Notably, the magazine labels Mars Bar a “critic’s pick.”

Street Portrait: The East Village Is DeadPhoto: Todd Shaffer/ flickr

While digging online for information about Santa, I spotted this photo of another Mars Bar mural.  Taken by Todd Shaffer in 2009, the photo appears to show the same man I captured in my flyby shot.

Todd identifies the man as Rami and notes that he bears a strong resemblance to ‘Law & Order’ star Jerry Orbach. Rami must be a Mars Bar regular– or this is quite a coincidence!

>> For more info and photos on Sergey’s street art, visit the EV Grieve blog.


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About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.