Leaving Brooklyn for Rockefeller Center? Fuhgettaboudit.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Dyker Heights, a small southwest Brooklyn nabe known New York-wide for its larger-than-life holiday displays. The community – lauded as “Con Ed’s warmest heartthrob” and the “undisputed capital of Christmas pageantry” by the New York Times – is gearing up to light the night for four weeks straight.
“Every year, as we know, it’s a tradition in the Dyker Heights community that we celebrate the Christmas season by putting up decorations and lights and so forth that really brings the spirit of Christmas to the community and to the people, really, throughout New York City,” explained Dyker Heights Civic Association President Fran Vella-Marrone. “We have people visiting Dyker Heights this time of year from just about everywhere. Everyone is taking notice.”
Vella-Marrone is right.
Since the late ‘80s – though no residents are really sure of when the lights sparked such a buzz – those from neighboring communities have made the trek either by foot or by car to good ol’ Dyker Heights to “ooh” and “aah.”
Today, many make the trip from neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Manhattanites even traveling in on ticketed bus tours like A Slice of Brooklyn’s three-and-a-half-hour look at the “Dyker Lights” (which also makes a stop at a local pastry shop for some hot chocolate and a cannoli).
“It’s something we really need to thank the residents who do this for,” Vella-Marrone said. “This is something they do on their own, from their heart, and they take pride in it. We, as a community, take pride in it as well.”
Running up and down avenues and across streets, the scenic spectacle’s biggest and brightest can be seen from 10th Avenue to 12th Avenue across the 80s – some lights hung as early as Thanksgiving weekend.
For many, the Dyker Lights serve as a homecoming this holiday season.
“I love the Dyker Lights,” lauded Dyker Heights native Florence Marchesano who, as a child, would walk the streets with her family and take it all in. “Even though I live out of state now, I always make sure to stop in Dyker and see the lights when I’m home.”
“[The Dyker Lights] embody the true spirit of the holiday season, bringing people together and providing awe and joy,” said Alexa Magalhaes, a 72nd Street resident whose family hangs its own lights but still goes out to see the larger-than-life displays that make Christmas in Dyker its own holiday. “The tradition and the expectations are the same every year but that never takes away from the feeling you get even after seeing them for the 50th time over.”
“It’s just a wonderful way to show off the community,” said Vella-Marrone. “I look forward to it every year.”