Like the Alps in winter, and Paris in the spring, Dyker Heights at Christmas has earned its strips as a premier Brooklyn seasonal tourist attraction. It's as Brooklyn as Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, as Park Slope's Food Coop, as the Brooklyn Book Festival, as BAM's Next Wave Festival, as the Brooklyn Museum's First Saturdays. It's a thing, a cultural phenomenon that's part of the lifeblood of Brooklyn's remarkable stew of traditions.
And yes, it is fun, and wonderful, and really worth a visit, especially if you are nuts about Christmas festivities, love folk art, kitsch and electric light holiday displays and, of course, if you have little kids in tow.
What's the Fuss About Dkyer Heights at Christmas?Simple: local residents in this predominantly, and historically, Italian neighborhood outdo one another in mounting over-the-top Christmas light decorations. Tens of thousands of tourists come to see this neighborhood outpouring of creativity and fun, as light displays spill over their homes, roofs, and gardens. Kids will be awed by the sheer amount of holiday decorations: brightly lit Rudolphs on the roof, Santas on the lawn, and entire homes ablaze with lights.
It's not a wealthy or ostentatious neighborhood, but Dyker Heights, adjacent to Bensonhurst and for decades a bastion of Italian Americans, takes Christmas seriously, and invites everyone to come and join in the fun.
Where to Go In Dyker HeightsCheck out the amazing holiday lights displays from 82nd to 85th Street, between 10th and 13th Avenues. Note that 13th Avenue, in this neighborhood, is also called Dyker Heights Blvd.
When to Go to See the Christmas Lights in Dyker HeightsThe displays go up after Thanksgiving.
For the best displays, go around dinner time, when the locals are home with their own kids, from about 5 P.M. when it gets dark, until 9 to 11 PM.
Thankfully, the lights do go off around bedtime, because otherwise the entire neighborhood would be sleep deprived.
How To Get to the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Display SubwayYou can drive, take a tour bus or walk. If you drive or take a bus, be patient because, as the media has touted this grassroots attraction, there have actually been traffic jams along the streets of Dyker Heights during the Christmas season. So, consider public transportation.:
- Take the D train toward Coney Island and get off at 79 Street in Brooklyn
- Exit near intersection of 79th St and New Utrecht Ave.
- Start out going northwest on 79TH ST towards 16th Ave.
- Turn left onto Dyker Heights Blvd., also known as 13th Avenue, and wander around!
About Bus Tours of Brooklyn's Christmas LightsBus tour companies that run Brooklyn Christmas lights tours include Christmas Lights & Cannoli Tour three-and-a-half hour guided bus tour that starts from Union Square in Manhattan at 7 P.M. The tour includes both Dyker Heights and some decorated homes in Bay Ridge, too. They promise to show guests a mechanical reindeer, glowing nativity scenes, 30-foot toy soldiers — and an audio-visual presentation including Christmas specials from TV's Golden Age.
See photos here.