The Dyker Heights Christmas lights display is getting extra attention from the city this year, according to a local lawmaker who said the Department of Sanitation will be coming into the neighborhood more often to pick up litter tossed by visiting tourists.
Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents the area, said Sanitation officials had agreed to his request for additional collections of trash from litter baskets on the streets.
Longtime Dyker Heights residents have been complaining to local officials about litter baskets overflowing with trash. “It’s a mess. And we’re not the ones doing it. It’s the tourists,” one woman told this newspaper.
The trashy condition of Dyker Heights streets has also been a topic of discussion on social media sites like Facebook, where dozens of residents have posted comments.
In another development, the New York Police Department has assigned additional cops to the community for traffic control and to ensure public safety, Brannan said.
“I requested additional cops to help keep things under control + to direct traffic. The NYPD agreed and will give us more resources. I also requested additional trash cans and more garbage pick-ups and that was also granted by DSNY,” Brannan wrote in a Facebook post.
The residential areas of Dyker Heights do not normally have litter baskets. But during the Christmas season, with thousands of visitors attracted to the Southwest Brooklyn neighborhood each night, Sanitation officials had agreed in previous years to requests from Community Board 10 and the Dyker Heights Civic Association to place litter receptacles at several locations throughout the neighborhood.
“This is something we ask for every year and they always give it to us,” DHCA President Fran Vella-Marrone told this newspaper.
This year, Brannan said, he requested a larger number of litter baskets than usual.
Brannan expressed concern, however, that more will still have to be done to address litter problems in the neighborhood.
“Nothing ruins the holiday spirit faster than seeing garbage all over the place. I thank Sanitation for providing the extra bins but I am still concerned they won’t be enough,” Brannan told this newspaper via email.
The Dyker Heights Christmas lights display is a dynamic, community-wide event that has been going on for many years. Scores of local homeowners become holiday season stars by erecting larger-than-life Santas, dancing reindeer, giant “Nutcracker Suite” figures, illuminated snowflakes, super-sized snow globes and other elaborate decorations on their lawns.
Once a homegrown event, the holiday lights display has grown immensely in popularity in recent years.
But the success of the event has led to traffic jams as well as an increase in noise and litter, according to CB 10 and leaders of DHCA.
Visitors purchase candy, ice cream and hot chocolate from food vendors and then carelessly drop the wrappers and cups on the sidewalk, according to some fed-up residents.
Brannan had a special message for visitors. “So, tourists, Dyker Lights fans, inflatable Santa aficionados: if you see a garbage can overflowing, please take your garbage with you and throw it away elsewhere. Throwing garbage on somebody’s lawn is not how we say Merry Christmas in Dyker Heights,” he said.
Brannan vowed to “continue to work closely with Sanitation, NYPD and other city agencies to monitor the Dyker Lights situation.”