Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TOUR OF DYKER HEIGHTS
Homemade Winter Wonderlands can come in all shapes and sizes, but it would be hard to find a place this side of Santa’s workshop that creates them bigger than the neighborhood of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York. For the last 30 years, this one-square-mile neighborhood just over the Verrazano Bridge has transformed itself into one of the premier Christmas lights attractions in the entire tri-state area, and beyond, every December. It’s unknown exactly how many houses in the neighborhood are decorated for the season, but many of the homes in this upscale neighborhood deck the halls, their front yards, windows and garages in grandiose style.
Although there are smaller-scale Christmas light displays in Monmouth County towns such as in Spring Lake and Freehold, in Dyker Heights millions of Christmas lights glitter, sparkle and twinkle throughout every nook and cranny, while larger than life figures of Christmas characters like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus spread Christmas cheer to all who gaze and take in the extravagant holiday arrangements.
Perhaps one of the most impressive elements of the displays is that they are 100-percent community-driven. All displays are set up and funded by each individual homeowner and not overseen or organized by any one organization. Over time, the Christmas lights displays have organically expanded to become one of the most unique and family-friendly Christmastime attractions in New York City.
Just driving through Dyker Heights, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods of Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, to take in the displays is a fun and cheerful way to get the whole family into the holiday spirit. But for those who are unfamiliar with how to best navigate the Brooklyn neighborhoods, booking a tour of the area with A Slice of Brooklyn Bus tours allows you to see the best home decorations in the area without the hassle of navigating the roads. You can just sit back, relax, and take in the bright spectacle block after block.
Purchasing a ticket with A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours, which have been offering rides throughout the borough since 2005 and Christmas light tours since 2007, offers more than just a cursory glance at some of the best-decorated houses in the area. Inside a heated and fully-enclosed bus that can accommodate 21, 38 or 55 passengers, you can comfortably enjoy the dazzling displays no matter how cold it is outside, and partake in food or non-alcoholic beverages during the roughly three-hour trip.
However, the holiday trip wouldn’t be complete without Jack Frost nipping at your nose for a little while. The tour bus will also stop to allow a tour guide to escort you on brief walks through the neighborhoods. Feel free to get up close with enormous Christmas characters, nutcrackers, animatronic figures and religious scenes to snap a fun or romantic photo with a loved one, or get the picturesque family Christmas card shot you’ve always dreamed of.
Some of the highlights on the tour include a stop at the home of Lucy Spata, who is credited with starting the tradition of the “Dyker Lights” show in the 1980s, and a chance to see the largest man in the red suit in Brooklyn at the Polizzotto house. There, a 15-foottall Santa Claus will be on display, along with wooden soldiers that stretch above two stories tall. Also, at the home of Sam the Greek, an estimated 250,000 lights illuminate the outline of Santa’s sleigh, his pack of reindeer, and nearly every window of the three-story home. And no Christmas light display is complete without a light show synchronized to music such as at the Robert DeLauro house, where the lights dance and move along with your favorite holiday tunes.
The experienced tour guides, almost all of whom are native to the Brooklyn area, will bring the houses in the neighborhood to life with their knowledge of the route, relationship with the residents and a distinct brand of New York City humor. And keeping the passengers in the Christmas mood isn’t reserved for the trip through Brooklyn; a multimedia presentation will be on display during the trip back to Manhattan, which includes Christmas television specials and Christmas music from iconic singers like Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Sonny & Cher.
Booking a Christmas Light tour with A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours is fun way to get into the holiday spirit, and a sure way to get on that special someone’s “nice list” this holiday season.
Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights
A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours
• It’s believed that the tradition of extravagant holiday light displays in Dyker Heights began in the 1980s.
• The home of resident Lucy Spata, believed to be the first resident to start the tradition, is a stop on the tour.
• Some displays have been reported to take more than 1,000 hours to build and more than three
months to construct.
• New York publications have referred to the neighborhood as the “undisputed capital of Christmas pageantry.”
• It’s estimated that more than 100,000 visitors travel to Dyker Heights to see the light displays during the holiday season.
• TLC’s show “Crazy Christmas Lights” and PBS have featured the neighborhood’s Christmas displays.
• It’s estimated that some residents spend up to $20,000 to set up their displays in front of their homes.
• A Slice of Brooklyn began offering tours around the neighborhood in 2007.
Note: Although the buses depart from the Union Square area of Manhattan, the exact location of the start of the tour will be provided once tickets are purchased.
Take the New Jersey Turnpike North toward the Lincoln Tunnel. Take Exit 16E onto Route 495 East. After crossing into Manhattan, turn left onto W 34th
Street and then right onto 9th Avenue. After half a mile, turn left onto W 23rd Street. Proceed for 3/4 of a mile and turn right onto 5th Avenue, and then
left onto E 18th Street. Parking garages are also located on E 13th, E 15th, and E 16th streets.
BY MASS TRANSIT
Take the closest North Jersey Coast Line train to the Hoboken station. Take the PATH train toward 33rd Street and get off after three stops at the 14th Street station. Leave the terminal and walk along 6th Avenue toward E 18th Street. Turn right and continue toward Union Square area.
Christmas Light Tours Ticket Information
Please note: Tickets must be purchased in advance, as the tours usually sell out. Tours run every night from Dec. 1 to Dec. 30., except for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Check website or call for available times. Exact meeting times and locations will be provided upon purchase of tickets.
Total Tour Time: Approximately 3 ½ hours
Adults: $50 | Children under 12: $40
Children under 6: Free (if they sit on your lap and don’t eat)
Book online or by calling (212) 913-9917