Every holiday season, an estimated 150,000 people make the journey to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights to admire its houses decked out with lights and holiday decorations. That number may not sound like a lot compared to the 6.5 million people who visit New York City overall during the holidays, but this is quite substantial for this quiet residential neighborhood of 42,000 people. If you’re planning on being one of the thousands of visitors marveling at the neighborhood’s creativity and beautiful houses, here are some things you should know about Dyker Heights before you go.
1. The over-the-top Dyker Heights Christmas displays were not initially beloved.
When Lucy Spata moved to Dyker Heights in 1986, her neighbors did not appreciate her colorful display of lights and plastic nutcrackers and angels. In an effort to get her to tone it down, she claims that they even called the police on her. But Spata ignored the Scrooges. “If you don’t like it, move” was her attitude. But instead of moving, other Dyker Heights residents joined her in covering the houses in traffic-stopping holiday displays. I would say that Spata’s house still has the most eccentric display though.
2. It can be expensive to deck the halls in Dyker Heights.
Some of the most impressive holidays displays that you see in the front yards of Dyker Heights homes were set up by professional decorators, like B & R Christmas Decorators, whose services can cost up to $20,000. And that’s not the only expense associated with these holiday displays. It’s said that residents end up paying ConEd between $5,000 to $8,000 for their electricity usage during the holidays. But Lucy Spata has gone on the record saying that she pays under $700 for electricity, so either she’s super savvy or someone’s exaggerating.
3. There’s more to Dyker Heights than bright lights.
The light displays are mesmerizing, but be sure to take notice of the houses behind the displays. The affluent Dyker Heights is full of mansions with unique architectural details. Keep an eye out for the landmarked Saitta House at 1135 84th Street; it’s one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood and, in my opinion, one of the prettiest. And while you’re there, don’t forget to patronize a few of the neighborhood’s local businesses on 13th Avenue’s commercial strip. Stop by Boulevard Books, La Bella Marketplace, and Krispy Pizza, which has been serving up slices in Dyker Heights for 50 years.
4. The origin of Dyker Height’s name is disputed.
This video from the Shiloh in the City Instagram page will tell you more.
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