New York Santa
When Only The Real Santa Will Do!
Countdown 'till Christmas....
When only the "real" Santa will do.
Anyone can say "ho ho ho"
But when only the real Santa will do...
As Santa I’m asked for many things. Today, when asked what she wanted for Christmas, a woman simply replied, “I would like for you to say a prayer for the children and their families in Connecticut”. Needless to say, I was moved to tears, not only because of this stranger’s kind gesture, but because it made me realize how deeply children affect each of our lives. We take for granted that our children will come home at the end of the day. We take for granted, there will always be a tomorrow to share. We take for granted that the love we share, will always be more.
The children, the staff of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut their families and friends who met tragedy at the hands of a gunman will forever be remembered. Words cannot possibly express how truly and deeply saddened we are. I’m reminded of Eric Clapton’s lyrics “Beyond the door there's peace, I'm sure And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven”. One can only hope we will again see these angels in heaven.
As Santa I'm often asked by children if I'm the "real Santa"...
New York Santa has had the privilege and satisfaction of visiting children and
delivering unexpected gifts throughout the New York City area for over a decade
New York Santa visits more then 2,500 children every year
Many times I'm asked - why do I perform as Santa? Here's a brief explanation of the rewards:
As Santa I have the opportunity to meet and speak with literally thousands of children and young adults throughout the New York City area.
As you can imagine, I receive many requests for gifts, some nominal, others extravagant. Some want homes, cars, millions of dollars, while others make requests that are closer to the heart.
Last year, I decided to see if I could inspire the spirit of giving and asked each child (of appropriate age) the following question…
“If you could give a gift to anyone in this world, what would you give?”
One event sponsor thought the question was too hard for children to grasp, but I disagree. I believe if you’re old enough to ask for something from another, you should be old enough to understand the concept of giving something to another.
The children answers range widely. I’ve been told these youngsters would give away toys, money, a bicycle, video games, etc. Some deeply thought answers included, a car, furniture, a house, the return of a divorced parent, even water to people in Africa.
One twelve year old boy however, surprised me with a very profound answer:
“If I could give a gift to anyone in this world, I would give my life !
Needless to say, this answer caught me quite off guard and I asked this young man to explain what he meant. He simply answered that if someone needed, he would offer his life to save another.
Need I say more? Wishes for a peaceful and joyous holiday, and a prosperous and healthy 2010.
New York Santa has become a regular visitor and toy deliverer for infirmed, hospitalized, and institutionalized children throughout the New York area and with the aid of charitable donations, the Laws for the Claus program (http://kflawnyc.com) Santa has expanded annual visits and included the Applebee's Restaurant of Paramus, the U.S. Marine's Toys for Tots Drive; Bayside Kindergarten and Nursery School; Bayside YMCA; Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights Display (www.bronxzoo.com); Children's Aid Society (www.childrensaidsociety.org); Colonnade Management Toys For Tots Drive (www.columbuspropertiesinc.com); the Cub Scouts of America, Toys for Tots Drive (www.scouting.org); the Eagle Warehouse Corporation; Forestdale Children's Services (www.forestdaleinc.org); Gilda's Club (www.gildasclub.org); Jamaica Hospital Medical Center (www.jamaicahospital.org); J&R Computer and Music World (www.jr.com); N.Y. Foundling Hospital North Manhattan Family & Community Services and New York Foundling Hospital Queens Division (www.nyfoundling.org); Northshore Orthodontics, the Office of Dr. Scott Friedman, and Dr. Efraim Zak D.D.S. (www.braceman.com); Pizzeria Uno's of Bayside, the U.S. Marine's Toys for Tots Drive; the Queens Women's Bar Association. Visit them on the web at www.qcwba.com); Scholastic Books Holiday party for underprivileged children (www.scholastic.com); St. Mary's Hospital for Children. Visit them on the web at www.stmaryskids.org); U.S. Marine's Toys for Tots Drive. Visit them on the web at www.toysfortots.org); the U.S.O. United Service Organizations (www.uso.org), and much, much more.
You can also find New York Santa in internet performances on www.BudgetSanta.com; on television on the CBS News, The Early Show (www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4617089n); NTV (America Russian-Language Television www.russian-tv.com); the TV Guide Channel (www.tvguide.com); and on the radio at WNYC Radio www.wnyc.org).
In 2006, Santa was asked to appear at some non-charitable events. After weighing these expansion options, we decided that commercial appearances can be made, as long as they do not interfere with the charitable goals we set out to accomplish several yeas ago. As such, Santa has expanded his annual visits to include:
J&R Computer and Music World., 15 Park Row, New York, New York visit them on the web at www.jr.com
The Office of Dr. Scott Friedman, and Dr. Efraim Zak D.D.S. visit them on the web at www.braceman.com
When not making toys and gifts, or visiting girls and boys, Santa has been known to frequent the New York City Court system. A little known fact, in his off time, Santa is a trial attorney with the law firm of Kleinberg & Friedman, Esqs. For nearly a decade, through their "Laws For The Claus" program, Kleinberg & Friedman, Esqs. has enjoyed the pleasure of organizing and donating the services of what thousands of children have come to know as the "real" Santa Claus for visits during the holiday season. Along the way, other sponsors have added their support, and pun intended, Santa’s appearances are "snowballing".
In addition to being admitted to the United States Supreme Court, New York Santa is a graduate of the International University of Santa Claus (yes Virginia, there is such a thing) and is trained in (among other things), presentations for children, meetings and conventions on "The Origins of Santa Claus," "The Symbols of Christmas, “Christmas Folklore," "Christmas Customs Around the World" and "How to get a Head Start on the Holidays."
In order to subsidize the charitable work of Laws for the Claus, New York Santa charges a nominal appearance charge for Santa to appear at non-charitable events such as private parties, corporate parties, photo shoots, community festivals, commercials, etc. The funds received from these appearances go towards the expenses of the many non-compensated charitable appearances, so in essence, hiring Santa to appear at your private or corporate party, goes towards helping those less fortunate.
New York Santa does not accept payment for charitable services. We love what we do, and it shows!!
Some people have hobbies. Personal injury lawyer Dana Friedman has a seasonal alter ego. Every year, the Bayside father begins growing out his beard in July. Two months later, he stops watching his calories. By October, he's watching the film "Miracle on 34th Street" in preparation of his transformation into jolly old St. Nick. "It's the most ridiculous job that anyone could ever think of, but it's got to be the most fun," Friedman, 50, said of his ninth season as Santa. "There's nothing more rewarding than seeing a child's face light up."
Friedman, who is Jewish, was inspired to become Father Christmas after the World Trade Center was reduced to a smoldering rubble a block away from his office. Suddenly, his firm Kleinberg & Friedman was being asked to donate money to a variety of new charities that had sprung up seemingly overnight, he said.
Wary of where the money was going, his office created Laws for the Claus instead. The program provides charities with toys and Santa visits. He also does additional appearances on the side when the Santa season kicks off after Thanksgiving. "It hopefully brings joy to a lot of kids and adults who might not otherwise see Santa," Friedman said of his merry making. "What I get out of it is the sheer joy of doing it."
And he takes the job very seriously. He earned a certificate from the International University of Santa Claus about five years ago. During the two-day course, he learned tricks of the Santa trade. "One thing Santa does is he never promises anything that he himself will not deliver," Friedman said. And "when you're taking pictures with anybody it's very important that Santa have both hands visible."
He used what he learned in class and his years spreading holiday cheer to pen a 500-page manuscript on how to be Kris Kringle. "I call it 'The North Pole’s Guide to All Things Santa,'" Friedman said of the book he's been shopping around to publishers. One chapter is on one of his least favorite parts of the job - the Santa suit. He owns three hand-made costumes, which each weigh more than 100 pounds. "The whole suit is incredibly hot," said Friedman, who stuffs cooling packs inside them. "The boots are heavy and hard to walk in ... [and] it's very difficult to go to the bathroom."
But visiting the sick and injured kids at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, in Bayside, is worth it, he said. Some of the hospital's nearly 100 charges may not make it to another holiday season. "He brings the magic of the holidays here," said hospital spokeswoman Leslie Johnson. "He spends time with the children and makes them feel special."
After learning that Friedman was planning to visit the hospital, Salon Deana in Astoria spearheaded a toy drive for the children. The Bayside YMCA is also collecting toys for the kids. Hundreds more are to be donated by a manager at Manhattan’s famed Katz's Delicatessen. Faye, who declined to give her last name, met Friedman after he wandered into the deli last week in full Santa regalia following an appearance. She was so touched by his work that she donated hundreds of Beanie Babies she had sitting in a Manhattan storage unit, she said.
But Friedman may soon get a run for his money. His 8 year old son accompanies him on many of his Santa visits. "He wears his own Santa suit and he refers to himself as Little Claus," Friedman said. "When the time comes, he's taking over the job."
James Leung, 3, has a jolly time when Santa, aka lawyer Dana Friedman, visits the YMCA Early Childhood Program in Bayside.
Visit the dancing reindeer at http://web.icq.com/shockwave/0,,4845,00.swf Be sure to click on the reindeer & see them dance.
Come visit Budget Santa at www.BudgetSanta.com. Visit the Annual NORAD
I want to thank all of you who welcomed Santa into your hearts, your homes, to join in your holiday functions, and your facilities. Without you, Santa would just be another guy in a red and white fur suit, carrying a sack of goodies, wearing really heavy boots and a strange hat with a pom-pom at the end, well, you get the point, without you, Santa couldn’t see all the children that he does, for that I personally thank each and every one of you.
A very special thanks to Para-Legal Patricia Florio www.KFLawNYC.com who always makes sure that Santa is where he is supposed to be, to Sally Unger, Esq., President the Queens Women's Bar Association, to Eugene Kahn at GreatKolor for all his assistance, Adele of Adele's of Hollywood www.adelescostumes.com for some pretty amazing Santa suit updates, and Marty Singer and Phil Tudanger of J & R Music World (www.jr.com) for opening new doors and possibilities.
New Venues and Announcement of a Santa Workshop This year, we were invited to several new venues, and our list keeps growing. During the coming "off season" I plan to hold a Santa workshop and invite representatives all past and hopefully future venues. It is our hope that together we can make future Santa visits easier and far more fun for everyone involved. If you are interested in attending, or know someone who might be, please eMail me at Santa and also check website for updates.
Photographs Due to the nature of many of the facilities Santa attends, for security reasons, we cannot publish many photographs to the web. Please contact us at Santa, for information pertaining to pictures at our functions.
Television This year, look for New York Santa to appear in area television commercials, interviews and on the internet.
Light Reading We've been working on an instructional book to help make the better Santa's for the children of the world. While still in it's infancy, the manuscript is nearly ready to be sent to the editor, and will hopefully be published and available in time to be assistance to all for the coming Christmas season. If you are interested in obtaining a copy or know someone who might be, (it makes a great gift) please eMail Santa and watch our New York Santa website for updates.
Santa was interviewed by CBS News in a discussion on how the slow economy is affecting Christmas. To see this Early Show interview, simply click on the following link: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4617089n