Wanderlusting: Dyker Heights
“ “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “Doesn’t come from a store….maybe Christmas …perhaps means a little bit more!” ~ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Two years ago, I gave a shout out to Dyker Heights on this blog, and it is only fitting I give it some more recognition because it is the epitome of Christmas Cheer.
I visited Dyker Heights eight years ago, and I have been going every year since. It is absolutely magical. A Christmas, the Whovilles would be proud of and the Grinch would cringe at. It is Christmas on speed. Every year it gets bigger and brighter beginning from the moment you step off the subway to the closer you get to the streets that were the OGs that began it all.
Dyker Heights has been written up in the New York Times, and featured in other publications. It is New York’s best kept secret during the holiday season and the place to visit.
The main (and OG) houses are located between 81 and 87 streets from 11 to 13 Avenues, in Brooklyn, but many more have caught the Christmas spirit and begun decorating so it goes on for blocks. It is truly endless, and it feels like no matter how many times I go there is always something new and different or another street to discover.
Begging shortly after Thanksgiving, the houses are usually lit from dusk until about nine or ten o’clock at night. It is so bright on some streets tat I feel like I have stumbled upon the Christmas version of Time Square. I wonder what their light bills are!
By Car, Bus, or Subway
While I might be a Manhattan girl, Dyker Heights is worth venturing into Brooklyn for! And it isn’t exactly easy. I is a trek, but so worth it!
There are three ways to see the decorations. The first one is to fight the New York City traffic and take a car out there, IF you are lucky enough to have a car. The bright side is you will have a warm place to escape the chilly temps. Unfortunately getting out to take pictures is more difficult as parking is limited and it does get congested with people anting to see decorations.
Because it is such an extravaganza, they now offer bus tours for a fee. You hop on near Union Square and for two hours they will drive you around touring the lights and at the end they offer hot chocolate. Unfortunately you are at the mercy of the driver as to which streets you visit.
The third option is what I and my friends do every year, though it does entail quite a bit of walking. The R and D trains run out to Brooklyn and from the stops you walk about a half mile to the streets, though many of the houses along the way are decorated now. While it gives you the flexibility, you not only get your cardio on, you also might be an icicle near the end of it! BUT it is mot definitely worth it!
I went last night with my best friend and it really is the best experience. One that has become a tradition for us. It was a warm twenty degrees out, (we wonder why I am sick?) but with the brisk walk from the subway, which wasn’t that bad at all, and all the festive cheer as well as tons of layers, I didn’t notice the cold. I was to busy taking all the decorations in!
The houses are an eclectic mix of small houses with lights or blow-up decorations to mansions that go all out with displays, music, and even Santa visiting. The decorations range from minimalistic, to classy, to tacky, to going all out and it is absolutely amazing. there really is something for everyone to appreciate. Not all the houses are my cup of tea, but I can not deny I love the creativity and enthusiasm!
‘Tis the Season
Dyker Heights makes you believe in the spirit of Christmas. It is absolutely magical to walk through the neighborhoods looking at all the decorations. It makes me absolutely giddy and so joyful. No other place quite puts you in the holiday mood like Dyker Heights does. (sorry Rockefeller)
Even the Grinchiest of people will love Dyker Heights and the holiday cheer it invokes. It is such a feel good place this time of year, that you can not help but get into the spirit and magic of the holidays.
Have you done Dyker Heights? Do you have a neighborhood near you that is a Christmas light extravaganza?