I love my hometown of Brooklyn, and Christmas is my favorite time of the year! And, I absolutely love Christmas lights. If I could light up my house so it could be seen from space, I would. I have a special feeling for the famous light displays in the Dyker Heights neighborhood in the southwest corner of Brooklyn. I used to visit when I still lived in Brooklyn, and it’s amazing how the light displays now attract people from all around the world.
This year, I was invited to be a special guests on the opening of a new tour called Dyker Heights Christmas Lights. The first tour of its kind operated by residents of Dyker Heights, it’s designed to give people the best experience possible to enjoy the neighborhood during the most wonderful time of the year. I was honored to be invited, and joined the tour on its opening day, Saturday, December 21, 2019.
The bus tour began with a pickup in Manhattan right across from Bryant Park. Driving around New York City and Brooklyn during the holidays is always hectic, so having a relaxing bus ride was a welcome start. Dyker Heights is crazy crowded and driving around or parking is almost impossible, so best to start in Manhattan. During the ride into Brooklyn, Steven Ramos, the tour’s founder and CEO, introduced us to the tour and the history of Dyker Heights.
When we arrived in Brooklyn, the bus dropped us off at the Dyker Heights Lounge, which was at the beautiful St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. Since the neighborhood is absolutely packed with people during lights season – over 100,000 people visit each year, and the police do not let people walk in the streets, making the sidewalks really packed, having a safe, comfortable spot to start off and return back to was really great. After a few quick instructions, Steven led us off to explore the neighborhood.
It’s amazing what people are able to do with their Christmas decorations. Some houses are simple and elegant, others have every inch of their properly lit up with decorations of every type. Most of the displays are classic, with lots of blow molds and traditional light bulbs. Dyker Heights is a strong religious community, so there are beautiful nativity scenes, and the holiday spirit is everywhere.
The centerpiece of it all is 84th Street. That’s where the home of Lucy Spata is. She started the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tradition in the 1980s and her home continues to be the most visited attraction. A few steps away is the beautiful home of Al Polizzotto, which is an absolutely incredible sight, and includes a 15-foot-high Santa, the largest in New York City! Experiencing these few blocks is a holiday highlight for me every year.
After the walking tour was done, we went back to the Dyker Heights Lounge. But, the Brooklyn experience wasn’t over yet! In addition to coffee and hot chocolate waiting for us, there were Brooklyn pizza and pastries. And, if you know anything about Brooklyn, the pizza and pastries are the best in the world. (It’s the water!)
We were also treated to Christmas carols, a visit from Santa Claus, and a wonderful experience given to us by the residents of this wonderful community.
The tour ended with a bus ride back into Manhattan, where we were left off back at the Bryant Park Winter Village to enjoy Christmas in New York.
The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tour will return next holiday season. It is absolutely the best way to get a true Brooklyn experience and be part of this world-famous holiday tradition. Tickets for next year’s tours, which run late-December/early-January, are expected to go on sale in September. Visit dykerheightschristmaslights.com to sign up for their mailing list and follow them on Instagram at instagram.com/dyker_heights_christmas_lights/ to be the first to know when tickets are on sale.
You’ll love Dyker Heights Christmas Lights and it will become part of your family’s holiday tradition each year as well.
Thank you to Steven Ramos for inviting me to participate in your debut tour, and I look forward to returning next year.