Let there be light in Dyker Heights.
The small south Brooklyn nabe — lauded as “Con Ed’s warmest heartthrob” and the “undisputed capital of Christmas pageantry” by the New York Times — has begun to deck its halls with this season’s round of larger-than-life holiday displays that, neighbors say, only get bigger and brighter each year.
“It’s a beautiful tradition; the spirit, the energy, everyone is just so happy,” local resident Renea Gargiulo, who started the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Facebook page “on a whim” four years ago, has told this paper year after year. “It’s been something that I’ve attended every year traditionally and, being so close to the area and living in the neighborhood, I’ve always loved it.”
A yearly staple since sometime in the late ‘80s – though no residents are really sure of when the lights sparked such a buzz – the decorative, dazzling and sometimes over-the-top lights recruit visitors from neighboring communities along with travelers from other states and even countries (some of them even utilizing ticketed tour buses). Many of those admirers keep up with the festivities via Gargiulo’s page, which as of this season has close to 15,000 followers.
However, as can be expected, the growing displays do come with their fair share of criticism – much of it sparked by the tradition’s growing crowds and coinciding congestion.
“The reality is that it’s getting bigger,” said Dyker Heights Civic Association President Fran Vella-Marrone who, at a November neighborhood meeting explained to residents that a permit request she and Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann submitted to the city earlier this year to get more resources for the event (such as heightened police presence and sanitation services) had been turned down by the New York City Police Department with no further explanation than that the request does not meet the required guidelines.
Arguments aside, the Lights can be seen now through early January, with the area from 10th Avenue to 12th Avenue across the 80s particularly dramatically lit.
Displays typically begin to go up over Thanksgiving weekend and tend to stay up well into the New Year, including everything from lights to inflatable characters as big as the houses themselves.