For Dyker Heights, the holiday season is often the most wonderful time of the year. Residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood annually transform their homes into winter wonderlands. All 22 blocks of Dyker Heights are covered in spectacular displays of dazzling lights, merry garlands, and festive figures. Locals in the area even created their very own tourism company, called Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, to provide guests with the best experience possible.
For those wondering if there will be any changes to this year’s Dyker Heights Christmas lights, we’ve got you covered. WE interviewed Steven Ramos, the owner of Dyker Heights Christmas Lights LLC, who told us “the neighborhood is decorated and shining bright like any other year, even more so this year to bring a little more much needed joy to its residents and visitors.” In pursuit of holiday cheer, Dyker Heights will continue to showcase its Christmas lights to the public despite the coronavirus pandemic, and the community has implemented precautionary health measures to ensure safety.
The Polizzoto House. Photo by Steve Ramos
Normally, Dyker Height Christmas Lights accommodates its guests by foot and by public bus tours. However, to minimize crowds, they will only accept private groups of up to 20 guests this year. Additionally, Dyker Heights Christmas Lights has added walking tours that will be held completely outdoors. The Dyker Heights community also gathered a team of residents to help organize groups and ensure that everyone enjoys the holiday festivity while staying safe.
On the tours, visitors will be guided by a native Brooklynite to Dyker Heights’ most famous houses on 83rd, 84th, and 85th street, between 11th and 13th Avenue. uests will hear the history of the neighborhood’s Christmas light tradition. It all began in 1986 with one woman, Lucy Spata. It was her mission to enliven Dyker Heights with her grand exhibition of Christmas decorations. Now, Dyker Heights’ homeowners take the holiday season quite seriously and will even go as far as hiring professional Christmas decorators to deck their halls. Update: the Polizzotto house above which displays an enormous 15-foot Santa and mesmerizing holiday carousels, will not be lit this year due to two deaths in the family.
However, some of Dyker Heights’s residents are reluctant to welcome their homes to the public this year. The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights attract around 300,000 people each year but as reported by The New York Post, the community is split over this year’s festivities in light of the pandemic. One woman, Maria D’Onofrio who has hosted the lights at her house for twenty years is skipping this year. She tells The Post, “We don’t want a lot of people coming around. It gets a little too crazy around here. It’s dangerous. We’re afraid. There are too many people coming around. It was nice when it was just a neighborhood thing.” In recent years, tour buses have brought in many additional visitors, sometimes up to 10 buses a night, reports The Post.
But Ramos counters that the Christmas lights tradition supports local business and charities, all the more important this year. “We offer guests a real taste of the area and its history while viewing the beautiful holiday lights. Our efforts give back to the community by supporting local businesses and charities to keep this holiday tradition going” says Ramos.
Despite efforts to keep the tradition’s spirit alive and share it with the public, Dyker Heights Christmas Lights is well prepared to shut down if the condition of COVID-19 worsen. Ramos tells us that the company is more than willing to reduce tours or cancel them for the welfare of local residents and visitors.