Like many children of the '80s I grew up watching the "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," but never did I dream I would one day experience it for myself!
Far away, in a borough called Brooklyn, in a rather well-off neighborhood called Dyker Heights that would otherwise not be newsworthy, there is a group of people whose love of Christmas runs so deep that they wear it on their sleeves, uh, houses in the form of lots and lots of lights. They are the real-life Whos, blaring their holiday carols, spreading their Christmas joy and creating a scene so full of spirit, cars from across the tri-state area are lined up to watch.
These people's outrageous and totally awesome decorating skills bring pleasure to city dwellers whose cramped apartments do not permit the full expression of the holiday season.
While Manhattan is no doubt an incredible vision around the holidays, let's face it, sometimes you just need some good ol' fashioned suburban kitsch. Only a well-manicured lawn is fit to display blow-up Santas, moving reindeer, carousels, nativity scenes, and enough lights to wrack up an electric bill of epic proportions (see photo).
Not only will you be in awe of the lights, but you'll gawk at the McMansions you never knew existed in New York City. And, of course, the brazen Italian-style sculptures littering so many lawns will remind you that money doesn't always buy taste but it sure makes for interesting design ideas!
For the cost of a round-trip subway ride -- and maybe a slice of pizza on 86th Street -- the Dyker Heights holiday lights are not to be missed. Take the D/M to 18th Avenue or the R to 86th Street. Once you get off the subway, it's approximately a 15-minute walk to the neighborhood. Peak viewing times are from 7:00-9:00 PM. The best sights are between 80th and 86th Streets and 10th and 13th Avenues.