If you thought that the Rockefeller Plaza’s Christmas lights were a little bit over the top, think again: the craziest light displays in New York are not in Manhattan, but in Dyker Heights, a largely Italian-American neighborhood in the Southwest corner of Brooklyn.

Called the “undisputed capital of Christmas pageantry” or “Con Ed’s warmest heartthrob”, this area started this sort of decoration-contest among the neighbors in the 1980s and has now become a big tourist attraction during the holiday season. The amount and beauty of the light displays has been increasing every year and this area has become so popular that people come from all over the US to walk in the neighborhood, despite the cold weather. Tourist buses blocking the streets are making some residents angry. 

While the entire area goes all out from Thanksgiving to the first few days of January, the best lights are on 83rd and 84th streets between 11th and 13th avenues: giant Santas, soldiers, ballerinas, cute animals, but also Marvel super heroes, inflatable decorations, hundreds of thousands of lights.

The best time to visit Dyker Heights is from mid-December to January 1st. If you walk there, bring a heavy coat, hat, and gloves as your hands can freeze. It is best to visit this area from dusk to 9P.M. as most houses turn off the lights after that time to save some electricity and money: the electric bills for the month of December are huge and can go from $2000 to $10000. Decorations are expensive as well: while some homeowners take care of their own light displays, most residents use the services of decorating companies and the cost of hiring professionals varies from $1000 to $20000 or more, depending on the displays. Some companies also offer additional services, such as taking down and storing decorations.

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If you prefer not to take a guided tour and want to visit Dyker Heights on your own, you can get there by subway (R train to 86th st or D train to 71st street) and from the subway stops you can walk (approx 20 min) or take an Uber/cab.

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