NYC Guide

Where to see Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Many people travel to New York for the Holiday season and it is magical! And there is no denying that New York is amazing at this time – and I think a lot of people get even more delighted because of all the Christmas movies that are set in NYC. So many lights, trees, music:  it is a magical atmosphere! But if you want to enjoy the Christmas decoration and you wanna go beyond the Rockefeller Christmas tree, I recommend a visit to Dyker Heights neighborhood, in Brooklyn!

This neighborhood is famous for the Christmas extravaganza – families here take Christmas lights seriously! There are thousands of colored lights in a lot of houses, illuminating the streets, attracting many tourists to the area. The tradition began in 1984 and now the place attracts about 100,000 tourists every year who visit the neighborhood to check this decorating show.

Some facts about the neighborhood:

  • The population of Dyker Heights is approximately 40,000 people, Italian-Americans.
  • A house in the area costs from 700,000 to 3,300,000. Dyker Heights has long been known for having the most elaborate houses in the city.
  • The tradition of Christmas decoration in Dyker Heights began in 1984, more than 30 years ago. Today, more than 100,000 people visit the neighborhood every year.
  • The costs for installing and removing decorations – when done by a specialized company – are between $ 3,000 and $ 6,000. Not counting expenses with the electricity bill. The two companies that take care of the decoration are B&R Christmas Decorators and Di Meglio Decorators. They even dismissed some customers to better serve Dyker residents. \
  • Companies usually work throughout the month of November to complete the decoration.
  • Some households are rumored to pay up to $10,000 in electricity bills.

Some stories:

Scarpa’s – Lucy and Angelo Spata’s house, on 84th Street (above), is the one that supposedly started the tradition over 30 years ago. It is the most extravagant house. Lucy started decorating the house after her mother died. Even the number of angels present in the decoration has a reason: to honor her memory. At first, the neighbors didn’t really like the idea of decorating the house with such many things – and do you know what she said to the neighbors? The troubled ones who move! The neighbors ended up changing their minds and embraced the Christmas spirit. Lucy’s house has about 20,000 lights. The function to decorate the house takes three weeks and includes a team to do the job. The electricity bill costs $3500 a month on average.

Scarpa’s House – 1152 84th Street.

Polizzotto’s – this house is a highlight in Dyker Heights because of the giant Santa Claus. The owner of the house, Alfred Polizzoto, hired Lou Nasti, an artist from Brooklyn known for creating dolls of this kind for showcases around the world. Alfred wanted to bring joy to the neighborhood and Santa Claus was set up during a period when he was battling cancer. Unfortunately, Alfred passed away, and when that happened, all the lights in Dyker Heights were turned off for one night.

Polizzotto’s House – 1145 84th Street.

It’s certainly a cool thing to do if you are in the city at Christmas time! Remember that there is no exact date for the residents to begin to decorate the houses. Generally, some lights already appear after Thanksgiving (late November), but the best time to go is after December 10th – and they keep the lights through January 8th. Also, it is better to visit the neighborhood during the weekends, from 5 pm to 9 pm – because the lights are switched off after this time, generally. The houses are located between 11th Avenue and 13th Avenue, from 83rd to 86th Street. If you are coming between the end of November and beginning of December make sure to check Dyker Heights location on Instagram for stories and pictures to make sure that the decorations are set!

To get there, you need to take the subway – D line to 79St station or R to 86th St. As the area is far away from the station, you need to take a bus – check out Google Maps – and get off at 13th Avenue. If you want, A Slice of Brooklyn offers special bus tours, departing from Union Square – $50 per ticket. It is a long ride – about an hour from Midtown!

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