Holiday decorations in New York City are usually considered to be the one’s at Rockefeller Center and the lavish store window displays of Midtown Manhattan. But some of the best sights to be seen are actually in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Starting in the 1980’s, Christmas started getting bigger and brighter out in Brooklyn with each passing year. In 2016, expect to see massive, professionally-done light displays (some costing upwards of $20,000!) Here’s a quick guide to plan a trip to Dyker Heights:
How to get there: The best lights are on 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street. The closest subway is the D/M trains at 18th Avenue.
Where are most of the lights: The single best block to visit in Dyker Heights is 84th Street between 11th and 12th Avenue. The must-see houses on the block are:
Saita House: An architectural gem that is listed on the National List of Historic Places.
The Spata House: Lucy Spata started it all roughly 30 years ago. You could call her a legitimate Christmas junkie. She decorates her house (well, her half of a duplex) with all sorts of holiday objects, from reindeers to toy soldiers to Santas.
The Polizotto House – Alfred Polizzotto first decorated his house more than 20 years ago as a way to celebrate some pretty great news: Polizzotto’s cancer had gone into remission.
The twin houses, one decked out in red and another in green with lighting completely enveloping the homes and even running 20 feet into the air into the trees.
Near 12th Avenue there are often people selling hot cocoa and Christmas sweets for the tourists and 3 of the most elaborately lighted houses in the area.
Plan your visit
- Even though some owners have their lights up the weekend after Thanksgiving, the best time to see the most lights is in mid-December or later.
- The best displays are usually on weekends.
- Try to go between 5 and 9pm. Most owners turn on lights when it gets dark and then start shutting them down before they go to bed.
- The best lights are located quite far from the subway station. You will be in for about a mile walk (20 min), so be prepared!
- December in NYC can be very chilly and you will be outside for awhile. Dress warmly!
- The Dyker Lights have been the subject of both a Conan O’Brian special and a PBS documentary.
- Most of the displays are not actually done by the homeowners, but rather by local professional decorating companies.
- The Dyker Lights are always wonderful, and you can choose to plan your own trip or take a bus tour/walking tour through one of the brooklyn events companies!
Watch out the video of our visit to Dyker Heights on Vimeo!