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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dyker Heights Lights

This was originally posted three years ago, but I've had a couple of requests for it again. I haven't been to Dyker Heights yet this season, but the houses that have the huge displays stay pretty consistent year-to-year. As such, I imagine this map is still pretty accurate. I'll update it if I notice anything different next time I'm there. 

You don't have to go to Dyker Heights to see crazy Christmas displays – pretty much any neighborhood with the magic combination of detached houses and Italians will do the trick. Houses at Westervelt and Pelham Parkway in the Bronx, Beach 144th and Neponsit in the Rockaways, East 93rd street and Flatlands in Canarsie, and 81st street at Colonial in Bay Ridge all easily rival the big displays of Dyker Heights.

But Dyker Heights has quantity along with quality. I've included a handy-dandy map of the highlights below. The map is for the heart of the area - surrounded by 15th Avenue, 86th street, the Gowanus Expressway, and 79th street - but you'll find lights well beyond these borders.

Now, keep in mind that pretty much every block in this area has at least one house that would take the cake on whatever street you live on. With that being said, red blocks are streets that are especially worth a stroll down, while blue blocks are can't-miss. Green points mark exceptional displays, and bathrooms (Nathan's and Bklyn Pizza) are indicated by the familiar symbol. The area's about equidistant from the R at 77th street or 86th street on the west, or the D at 79th street or 18th Avenue on the east.

View Larger Map

As you walk around, the displays start to seem a bit repetitive. You notice the same sparkling reindeers, inflated ferris wheels, and Christmas Countdown clocks. For the really big boys (and some of the smaller guys) I'm pretty sure the lights remain a labor of love, but for others the yard signs proclaiming designs by B&R Decorators and V&J Lighting show that the Dyker Heights lights are mostly about the social pressure of keeping up with the customs of the neighborhood.

No, no pictures – go see them for yourself. If you can't take the schlep, check out Gothamist or Flickr.

Tracts Walked: B140, B144, B146, B148, B150 (every street in tract), B186, B184, B170