Brooklyn has no shortage of houses whose owners mount elaborate, colorful and expensive displays of lights for the Christmas season.
The best known are in Dyker Heights, so much so that some tourist buses have made the neighborhood and its lights a Christmas destination. But in Canarsie, the display mounted by the Seddio family home has also become a tradition over the decades.
Now, however, Canarsie has gotten a bit less joyous for the holiday season. Former Kings County Democratic Chairman Frank Seddio’s home, which has generated large crowds with its massive holiday display at the corner of Flatlands Avenue and East 93rd Street, is up for sale.
In addition, due to several circumstances, the lights won’t go up this year. Seddio told the Eagle there were several factors to not doing the lights this year, including the fact that he is just recovering from hip surgery.
“I just came back yesterday to work after five weeks out,” said Seddio, who boasts a long career in public service. In addition to serving as county Democratic chairperson, he was an Assemblymember for many years, served as Kings County surrogate judge, and was a president of the Brooklyn Bar Association.
“Our entire crew that helps us had one issue after another, including our lift that we used to put the lights up broke down. We just didn’t have the ability to put the team together to do it this year,” said Seddio.
Along with his brother and nephew having moved to Florida, his nieces have left the borough, and the friend who helped him every year has broken his ankle.
“To me it’s heart-wrenching that we weren’t able to make our last year one where we could give the community the pleasure that it gives to everyone each year,” said Seddio. “My regret is the small children who enjoy it most won’t have the opportunity this year to see it one more time. It’s hard for me not to be able to do this, and we have to look at the house after over 50 years not having decorations on it.”
He also discussed the house that is currently on the market and how he hopes the tradition can continue once he’s gone.
“I am in the process of selling the house,” he revealed. “I’m hoping that the new owner may be interested in doing it once we finalize a deal but we’ll see what happens. I don’t have one yet. I’m keeping everything intact and we’d give them a hand doing it next year. I want to try to make that part of the deal.”
According to Zillow, an online real estate marketplace, the 3,418-square-foot house is listed at $975,000. Seddio says the home was built in 1904.
“This house has only been owned by four owners,” he said. “It’s around 118 years old, and there’s only been four owners in this house in all those years. It’s amazing, and half of those owners are people in my family.”
The holiday display started with one front window in 1965 with a couple of dolls and a Christmas tree. Seddio helped the previous owner with the modest decorations. When he bought the house in 1986, he promised to continue the tradition, and he made the display bigger.
The neighborhood is saddened by the display’s absence.
“You can’t imagine how many people have called to thank me and how many community members,” he said. “I find boxes of cookies, candy with thank-you notes on my porch every day. People just stop by and leave a gesture of gratitude for us doing it for so many years.”
The house was featured last year on the ABC show “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” Families across the country decorate their homes, with the winner receiving a cash prize and the Light Fight trophy.
However, what Seddio will miss the most are the kids visiting the Santa’s workshop that’s part of the display.
“We put that together five years ago, and it’s just a magnificent display that can’t be matched anywhere in the way it’s set up,” he said.