Join 3,417 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Miracle on 22nd Street
December 24, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

"Two New York City men feel a tremendous responsibility to respond properly when they mysteriously receive hundreds of letters addressed to Santa Claus at their Chelsea apartment."

A note from the filmmaker.
posted by pwally (54 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Santa Gays of Chelsea!
posted by ericb at 7:21 AM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The guys are lovely but the story is soo frustrating! Even the filmmaker's note comes up empty on how the letters got to West 22nd Street. I can't help but believe that MeFi sleuths could have solved this mystery successfully, not to mention fulfilled the remaining 300 letters!
posted by thinkpiece at 7:26 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was actually coming to MetaFilter to post this very same link in hopes that Mefites could solve the mystery, but pwally beat me to it.

Oh -- and assuming these two men are gay, how could anyone object to this aspect of the homosexual agenda?
posted by Tin Man at 7:28 AM on December 24, 2010


Awww. I too want to know the mystery.... of where Jim gets such cute sweaters!

What a great story!

When we were kids we burned our letters to Santa (I guess the wind is like the USPS for magical creatures.) I'm starting to think my parents made up this tradition because I've never met anyone else who did this.
posted by vespabelle at 7:34 AM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tin Man, they're giving poor children welfare presents they can't afford, which will discourage them from...

You know what, it's Christmas. This is the one day of the year nobody should snark. Let's have a moratorum.
posted by shii at 7:35 AM on December 24, 2010


When we were kids we burned our letters to Santa

That's a great idea... they get to write them, you can 'help' so you can read them, and then you don't foist off the problem on the Post Office or two guys on West 22nd St. :)
posted by Malor at 7:39 AM on December 24, 2010


good on these guys. Seriously. They did a good thing and I would like to think that I would do something similar if the opportunity arose!

My criticism is more with the producer of this segment and the tone that they decided to go with...

*spoiler*
What I found a little weird was the tone of the entire video was in the style of an Oprah Winfrey special or Hallmark special, where receiving these letters turned out to being some kind of overwhelming, emotional, tear-laden burden and soul-searching journey that these two guys had to endure, followed by the moment where these guys said "OK, we are going to do this, no matter what the cost", blah, blah blah.

A little too overdramatic for me.

They're letters to Santa - reading them should reflect the fun and light-heartedness of youth and childhood and not be a Dan Fogelberg sappy experience.

You can still think about the kids who have nothing and not be all boo-hoo about it. You can still be kind and caring and loving and charitable without the whole sighing and deep breathing and pensive staring into the void.
*end spoiler*

Again, my issue is with the producer/director (who is it anyway that decides the tone of these?) These guys can feel any which way they want to, but there clearly was a decision made along the way to make this into some wah wah blah blah.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


At 5:03 you can see the Facebook page where people sign up to receive a forwarded letter from them to fulfill the Christmas wish. Any idea what the address of the page is? I've been searching on Facebook, as well as trying to zero in on some of the names listed to see if I can find a comment on their wall that could take me back to their page.
posted by ericb at 7:41 AM on December 24, 2010


posted by bitteroldman at 10:40 AM on December 24

Eponysterical!

I keed. I keed.
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM on December 24, 2010


Again, my issue is with the producer/director (who is it anyway that decides the tone of these?)

"Filmmaker!" That's a good word thinkpiece!
posted by bitteroldman at 7:44 AM on December 24, 2010


Eponysterical!

I keed. I keed.
posted by ericb at 10:43 AM on December 24


Oh, if only you knew...
posted by bitteroldman at 7:46 AM on December 24, 2010


I think it's so funny how hurt mefites get when they aren't personally asked to produce, direct, or oversee all of the bits of media they consume, regardless of the fact that they could totally have done it better. Keep posting your nitpicky, purely subjective takedowns, people, and hopefully someday someone will finally thrust the camera and clipboard into your hands for a change.
posted by hermitosis at 7:47 AM on December 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


Tin Man, they're giving poor children welfare presents they can't afford, which will discourage them from...

You know what, it's Christmas. This is the one day of the year nobody should snark. Let's have a moratorum.


I think you're misinterpreting Tin Man's comment. Maybe try reading it again more closely.
posted by John Cohen at 7:47 AM on December 24, 2010


Why did their building's porters even deliver these. They must have pissed someone off to get all that junk.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:49 AM on December 24, 2010


Why did their building's porters even deliver these. They must have pissed someone off to get all that junk.

Perhaps whoever delivered the mail thought a "letters for Santa" type program was being run from the apartment (is it that hard to believe?)
posted by piratebowling at 8:04 AM on December 24, 2010


What I found most interesting is how they apparently have gotten letters to Santa at that address for years, but it just picked up a great deal this year.I'm so intrigued by thy mystery of where these gifts are coming from.
posted by piratebowling at 8:05 AM on December 24, 2010


I think it's so funny how hurt mefites get when they aren't personally asked to produce, direct, or oversee all of the bits of media they consume, regardless of the fact that they could totally have done it better. Keep posting your nitpicky, purely subjective takedowns, people, and hopefully someday someone will finally thrust the camera and clipboard into your hands for a change

You're right, and I'm sorry for being critical so early in the post, but I figured since this was a NYT piece, and not somebody's personal Vimeo or YT project, I could go ahead and be an ass.
I also have this stubborn, steadfast opinion that X-mas should be happy and zany and fun, and I have heard too many sappy X-mas carols on the radio, so I guess I needed to let out some steam.

And I totally have nothing against Dan Fogelberg. I even recorded one of his songs off the radio once

To demonstrate my penitance, I shall go to Blockbuster and rent the sappiest, tear-jerkingiest Hallmark movie about Christmas and watch it tonight.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:06 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not that I am anti-magic, but I did find a 1998 NYT reference to the Children's Aid Society running a Santa Mailing address from a location on E 22nd Street, they still run a "Santa's Workshop". I could not see the number, but the letters are addressed to W 22nd. I loved the story, really.
posted by cgk at 8:11 AM on December 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't know about all of you, but there is something in my eye, make that eyes. I gotta go now.
posted by emhutchinson at 8:11 AM on December 24, 2010


This is the one day of the year nobody should snark. Let's have a moratorum.

Man, I have so many jokes too, but to honor the request I'll keep them to myself. This makes three times, metafilter! Three times I've used my poorly developed impulse control!

I found this story a bit unsatisfying because of the lack of address. I'm pretty good at tracking these things down, so might try that on Sunday. I am sure these guys will get hit again next year. i'd take a letter or two. I'd write back even. I'd also donate a bit of cash to the cause.

There are tons of scammy/business addresses out there where one can write to Santa and get a paid reply (you fill out a web form and pay for your response to come back).

You can write:

Santa Claus
1 Santa Claus Lane
North Pole, AK 99705

And get a form letter response for free.

If anyone does figure out the facebook page or the address of these guys let me know.

I also want to point out that the guy who refused to take a Santa letter while on camera will probably never get laid again.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:15 AM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


cgk, even if they had swapped east and west, 105 W 22nd street is not cozy and residential like the film made it appear, it's more commerical and industrial. I think those men live further west.
posted by piratebowling at 8:18 AM on December 24, 2010


Wow, my mom was the director of personnel, education and something else I can't remember at the Community Service Society, an adjunct of which was Children's Aid Society. My entire childhood she took the subway from 86th down to 22nd. I loved going to her office because her secretary gave me all the office supplies a seventies girl could ever want, and candy sometimes too. My mom is ninety now. I will have to ask her if she knows anything about Santa ruses in Chelsea.
posted by emhutchinson at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2010


I know a guy that worked "security" for a lot of bands in the 80s. He eventually settled down in new jersey, bought a house, and had kids. One year around Christmas his 8 year old daughter started getting a lot of mail, packages from one address in new York. He had no idea why they would be sending his daughter presents. After about the third or fourth package he got concerned, why was a stranger sending his daughter gifts. He got a few of the guys he used to work with and went to the return address. The way he tells it, it was an office in the empire state building, they rushed past the receptionist into a large single office, grabbed the guy and knocked him around while asking why he was sending 8 year old girls presents. After beating the guy senseless they finally figured out that it was a charity that helped children. The guy picked up the phone and called his wife, turns out she had mailed a letter to Santa. It ended up at this charity and the guy started sending gifts.

Needless to say they were very apologetic.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:29 AM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Perhaps whoever delivered the mail thought a "letters for Santa" type program was being run from the apartment (is it that hard to believe?)

Sorry, it was a "these guys live in a buliding with no concierge" joke. Must gut more Christmas spirit.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:32 AM on December 24, 2010


Glasses guy is awesome. I loved his optimism. The world needs a few more like him.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:34 AM on December 24, 2010


That was so sweet. It's amazing they chose to take responsibility for the letters - I can barely manage to bake and mail Christmas cookies to my closest friends and family without having a nervous breakdown - to get gifts to hundreds of families they don't know seems superhuman to me. Asking other people to help out was a pretty brilliant idea. I wonder if they took care of all the wishes or if they had to weed out some of the more obviously privileged children?
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


piratebowling: this is why I love MeFi, the things I learn. In discovering more about New York geography I find that Clement Clarke Moore Park, at 10th Ave and W 22nd St, is named after the author who wrote "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Their family estate was named Chelsea, from which the area took the name. That doesn't explain the letters or the address, but it accounts for extra magic.
posted by cgk at 8:48 AM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


I also have this stubborn, steadfast opinion that X-mas should be happy and zany and fun, and I have heard too many sappy X-mas carols on the radio...

By all means then be sure to avoid The Boston Globe's Santa.
posted by ericb at 8:50 AM on December 24, 2010


Man normally if someone is begging a large bearded guy in Chelsea it's at Rawhide.
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on December 24, 2010


Awww. I too want to know the mystery.... of where Jim gets such cute sweaters!

Friend of mine tells me you can tell if you are in a good gay bar in ny if the guys are "wearing the latest sweaters"
posted by Ad hominem at 8:52 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm going to be super stereotypical for a second here.

Dear fucking god their apartment is huge!

Okay, over.
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 AM on December 24, 2010


Dear fucking god their apartment is huge!

No doorman though, how do they get dry cleaning delivered.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2010


This is awesome, but I feel bad for whoever moves into their apartment after them!
posted by tristeza at 9:02 AM on December 24, 2010


I find that Clement Clarke Moore Park, at 10th Ave and W 22nd St ...

A comment at the New York Times article:
"A quick google for 'Santa Chelsea' came up with the wikipedia page for Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote the Christmas classic 'The Night Before Christmas.' There is also Clement Clark Moore park at 10th Ave and 22nd St — probably very close to where these gentlemen live — as well as the Chelsea seminary where Moore worked for many years. I’d guess that a review of the previous tenants of their apartment had something to do with Moore or the seminary."
posted by ericb at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2010


Many people commenting at the NYT article web pages want to get involved with replying to the letter requests in the future. Jim and Dylan should really consider setting up a non-profit. It would be welcome by many -- and would have a real chance at success.
posted by ericb at 9:23 AM on December 24, 2010


Keep posting your nitpicky, purely subjective takedowns, people, and hopefully someday someone will finally thrust the camera and clipboard into your hands for a change.
hermitosis, I just wanted more info so I could help, if that's directed at me, as frustrated #2 poster. Doesn't seem nitpicky to hope for contact info, or wonder from whence the letters came -- both those things seem like Storytelling 101, not by the guys, but by the NYT.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:52 AM on December 24, 2010


Yes, Metafilter, there is a Santa Claus.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:57 AM on December 24, 2010


Thanks, this was heartwarming. I don't mind me some xmas schmaltz.

Good folks. The world needs more like them.
posted by maxwelton at 10:37 AM on December 24, 2010


I came here to post this. I think it's a beautiful story, made more beautiful by the fact that the letters DIDN'T all get fulfilled and the guys didn't do them all themselves. They took a few, they shopped the giant bag of letters around to as many people as they could, and they took the rest to the Post Office. It's not a Hollywood movie or a Very Special Episode, it's two guys doing what they can. That's the essential decency of humanity that should get the "Christmas Spirit" label, in my humble opinion.
posted by KathrynT at 11:15 AM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


i love this story! i actually like that there was no explanation of how the letters ended up there. i mean, it would've been easy enough to find out and no doubt the answer would be something extremely banal, sort of a one-liner that would take away a lot from the focus of the story. so much better to focus on this couple and how they handled this sudden and strange responsibility. amazing!
posted by MaddyRex at 11:24 AM on December 24, 2010


bitteroldman:They're letters to Santa - reading them should reflect the fun and light-heartedness of youth and childhood and not be a Dan Fogelberg sappy experience.

I'll wager a guess and say that the child who writes in that Mom/Dad can't afford presents or the child who writes for the little sister (wanting nothing for themselves) isn't experiencing much of the fun and light-heartedness of youth and childhood.
posted by dr_dank at 1:33 PM on December 24, 2010


At 5:03 you can see the Facebook page where people sign up to receive a forwarded letter from them to fulfill the Christmas wish. Any idea what the address of the page is?

I think that's Jim's personal Facebook page, which is set to private.
posted by amarynth at 2:11 PM on December 24, 2010


vespabelle: "When we were kids we burned our letters to Santa (I guess the wind is like the USPS for magical creatures.) I'm starting to think my parents made up this tradition because I've never met anyone else who did this"

That's so funny, because it's what I suggested to my son and niece. I'd never heard of anyone else doing it either. I was just trying to get out of going to Macy's on Christmas Eve. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 3:12 PM on December 24, 2010


ericb: "Many people commenting at the NYT article web pages want to get involved with replying to the letter requests in the future. Jim and Dylan should really consider setting up a non-profit. It would be welcome by many -- and would have a real chance at success"

The US Post Office has a program to let you fill the requests in a Dear Santa letter. Just go on down, the elves would be thrilled to see you.
posted by dejah420 at 3:15 PM on December 24, 2010


The US Post Office has a program to let you fill the requests in a Dear Santa letter.

I know. The Muppets told me so!
posted by ericb at 3:31 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Could this be why they received so many letters?



If it is, it was very easy to find (I can't take credit, though--- it should go to Dave L. from the comments section), and the reporter who wrote the story easily could have easily done her due diligence and searched the archives of her own newspaper. Doing so may have taken the mystery away from the story, but uh...it's her responsibility, isn't it?

Maybe I'm being petty, but this was a saccharine and irritating story.
posted by shushufindi at 5:32 PM on December 24, 2010


Whoops. I meant could this be why the received so many letters.
posted by shushufindi at 5:40 PM on December 24, 2010


Except that 105 West 22nd street doesn't appear to be residential.
posted by KathrynT at 6:12 PM on December 24, 2010


Hey ya'll - Jim created a Facebook group for future info about the letters. I've spoken with Jim a few times on Twitter and followed his work for awhile (he works with a marketing agency I'm a fan of) so it was really cool seeing this story play out in the video.
posted by cvp at 8:30 PM on December 24, 2010


On Christmas Eve I had e-mailed Sarah Klein, one of the producers of the video -- and author of the NYT accompanying article. I pointed her to this thread and to cgk's clues, etc.

Here's her response:
Thanks so much for the clues. There are so many theories...but not one of us has cracked the mystery. Maybe it's better that way?

Here's the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_128258867239016
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on December 27, 2010


Some Theories Why Chelsea Couple Got A Ton of Santa's Mail.
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on December 27, 2010


MetaFilter: Maybe it's better that way?
posted by hermitosis at 2:36 PM on December 27, 2010


New York Magazine: ‘Kids Think Santa Claus Lives in Chelsea,’ So Adorable Couple Obliges.
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on December 27, 2010


MSNBC interview with Jim Glaub & Dylan Parker.
posted by ericb at 8:04 AM on December 28, 2010


« Older Christmas Eve Gift!...  |  Pope’s child porn 'normal' cla... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments