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Where to see Christmas Lights in Brooklyn- Dyker Heights and beyond

December 6, 2011

If you hear the words “Brooklyn” and “Christmas lights’ in the same sentence, chances are the person is talking about the Dyker Heights holiday lights. The famous holiday tradition has been on national news, TLC and featured in a dedicated PBS documentary. While this is the “grand slam” of holiday lights in Brooklyn, there are a couple of serious competitors that shouldn’t be missed either!

Dyker Heights Lights
Expect to see this Italian-American neighborhood put on their holiday best as they do every year.  You will see everything from thousands of lights to inflated figures, to a giant santa and toy soldiers.  Dioramas flicker with nativity scenes, singing choir figures and toy figures.  Your children can even get on a motorized ride at one of the houses. As it is is the most spectacular display of lights in Brooklyn, expect traffic and lots of bodies. You might consider making a whole trip of it and enjoying some of the nearby Italian restaurants that are lauded for their fabulous cuisine. If you want to just sit back and enjoy the lights, you can take a 3.5 hour tour of the neighborhood with Brooklyn native Tony. The 55 seat bus also makes a stop at Mona Lisa Pastry Shop & Cafe for a cannoli and cappuccino. It’s an expensive ticket at $55 for adults and $45 for children ages 12 years and under and begins in Union Square.
Tips: Don’t miss the Spata household at 1152 84th Street.  The house across the street (1145 84th Street) is a toyland with enormous toy soldiers complete with rides. A lot of the families collect money for charities outside their spectacularly lit homes, so bring some dollar bills for the kiddios to contribute- if you are so inclined.
Where: Stroll or drive between 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street. Be warned: parking is near impossible and the traffic is really slow. If you can, find a parking spot a bit away from the hubbub and walk to the lights.
Subways: D/M trains to 18th Ave and New Utrecht Avenue ; R train to 86th Street and 4th Avenue.
Bus: You can  take the B63 bus to 5th Avenue and 86th Street.
Take the Belt Parkway to Exit 4 (park before 84th Street and 12th Avenue, walk up 84th to 10th Ave).
Eating: We found some good Restaurant Recommendations from chowhound: “Europa Ristorante on 20th Ave and 65th St, a wonderful restaurant with brick oven pizza and Sicilian specialties. Same goes for Il Colosseo on 18th ave and 78th st. A newcomer to the neighborhood that I just love, is Bella Sicilia, located on Bath Ave btwn 16th and 17th aves. ” and another we heard echoed a few times, “It is probably not better than Bamboo Pavilion (haven’t been there, but heard good things universally), but Grand Sichuan House at 87th and 5th is also excellent Sichuan and may be more conveniently located if you’re coming into Dyker Heights from the Bay Ridge/R Train side rather than the Bensonhurst D Train side. We ended up there after our visit last year (on Christmas Eve, no less) and had a great meal.”

South Slope Holiday Light Show
This house goes all out with a computerized music and 10,000 plus light show that runs every twenty minutes. They even have a Facebook page where you can see videos from the past years, and photos of the hard work they put into the show this year. They started building November 25th for spectacular display that will debut on Monday, December 12th.  In 2009 the theme was the Grinch that Stole Christmas and in 2011 it was a 1950s Rock N Roll Christmas.  I’m excited to see what they will create for 2012!
Tips: The show runs nightly beginning December 12th between 5-10pm on weeknight and on Fri. & Sat. until 11pm.
Where: 310A 22nd Street Brooklyn between 6th and 7th Avenues. The show is about 5 minutes and happens every twenty minutes starting at 5 (so 5, 5:20, 5:40, 6 etc)
Driving: 6th Avenue to 22nd Street, parking on street.
Subways: D train to 9 St Station heading Downtown/Coney Island, get off at 25 Street and 4th Ave and walk to 22nd Street.  R or N to 25th Street or R train to 25th street.
Bus: B63 to 5th Ave and 22nd Street.
Eating: Try Roots Cafe that is a few blocks away at 5th Ave and 18th Street and has rockin’ reviews or head to the nearby pub/pizza house Toby’s Public House on 6th Ave and 21st Street or  Luigi’s Pizza at 5th Ave btw 20th and 21st Streets.

Christmas Lights in Canarsie
Looking for a whopping display of lights? Try the corner house in Canarsie Brooklyn with its carousel, 250,000 lights, santa’s elves and nativity scene from Milan. According to the Brooklyn Daily, this  year’s spectacular display will showcase a “cast of 100 animated characters (that) includes a new, singing-talking-joke-cracking parrot, and Stumpy, the fan-favorite talking Christmas tree. Eight wondrous displays feature vignettes depicting Hanukkah and Kwanza, and there’s a 12-foot wreath crowning the roof”. You might even catch sight of some of those blue smurfs skating in the front yard. The owner of the home, Frank Seddio, no longer lives there but uses it as his law firm’s office. The electric bill for 2009’s light display was $10,000. That’s quite a donation to the Christmas spirit!
Where: The corner of East 93rd St. and Flatlands Ave.
Driving: Take Atlantic Ave to Rockaway Ave, right on Foster Ave and then left on E. 93rd Street and end at Flatlands Ave.
Subway/Bus: Take the 4 to New Lots Station. Then take the B60 bus towards Canarsie Williams Ave, get off at Glenwood Road and 98th Street and walk about 8 minutes to Flatlands and E. 93rd Street.
Eating: If you drive, you can stop off at the Fisheye Bar and Grill for some Carribean seafood.

Carroll Gardens
A Facebook fan wrote in to suggest “Carroll Gardens! President Street between Smith and Hoyt specifically!”

Any other places you would recommend?