If you spend the Christmas holidays in New York City, you will certainly have no time to get bored! The city is transformed for the occasion and you will enjoy an unforgettable festive atmosphere. But among all the awesome attractions that can be discovered at this time of year, there is one that is truly a must – the Christmas decorations in the Dyker Heights neighbourhood! 🤩
NYC's most beautiful residential area during the holidays
Dyker Heights is an affluent residential neighbourhood in Brooklyn that is now known worldwide for one reason: every year around Christmas since the 1980s, the residents compete to decorate their homes so as to make them the most beautiful – to the point that they became tourist attractions.
From late November or early December, the neighbourhood’s houses are all lit up. From fairly simple decorations to large, sophisticated scenes with thousands of lights, music, animatronics and inflatables – there’s something for everyone!
Most of the houses are decorated directly by the owners, but some hire professional decorators to create incredible sceneries that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Dyker Heights has become such a must-see during Christmas in New York that many guided tours are organised every day during this time of year ✨
Let yourself be guided in Dyker Heights 🎅🏽
If you want to make sure that you don't miss any of the amazing decorations in Dyker Heights, taking a guided tour is definitely the best option. You will sit in a warm and comfortable tour bus that will take you to Dyker Heights. You will then walk around the area (the streets are too narrow for a bus) with a local guide who will show you the best of the decorated houses. The tour will then continue with a stop on the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy a beautiful view of the Manhattan Skyline, after which you will return to Bryant Park in Manhattan, where you will be able to visit one of the most famous Christmas markets in New York 😃
What to see at Dyker Heights during Christmas Season?
The most impressive decorations can be found in the heart of the neighbourhood, on 12th Avenue between 82nd and 85th Streets, and on 84th Street between 10th and 13th Avenues. The best decorated houses vary from year to year, but some just never disappoint 👌
Lucy Spata's house at 1152 84th Street is still the most popular of all. Lucy Spata is the person behind the Dyker Heights decorations: in 1986 she started what would quickly become a neighbourhood tradition. Every Christmas season since then, she places 40 angels on her lawn in honour of her late mother, and the collection continues to grow each year 👼
Just across the street, at 1145 84th Street, the Polizzoto family home is also a favourite, with its giant Father Christmas, mechanical horses and 8-metre-high 'toy' soldiers.
Not far from there can also be seen the house of James Bonavito, who is none other than the owner of B&R Christmas Decorators – a company specialising in Christmas decorations. Not surprisingly, his house is one of the most impressive and elegant in the area 😄
Another very popular and original house is Stephen Brimigion's, with its decoration made entirely of large inflatables 😁
Have you booked your activities in New York? 🏙️
If you are still pondering what to do in New York during your stay, you will be spoilt for choice! There are many activities possible: from visiting the must-see places like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, to a helicopter flight over New York, to the museums of New York...! I only advise you to book your activities beforehand to be sure not to miss anything 😉
When to visit Dyker Heights?
For most of the year, Dyker Heights is not really a tourist attraction. It's a fairly typical residential area with beautiful houses and gardens, but no monuments, shops or even restaurants. So it's really only during the Christmas season that it becomes interesting.
Some of the decorations are put up as early as mid-November, but to get the most out of your visit, it would be best to wait until the first days of December.
Of course, the decorations are at their most beautiful when it is dark, so I would recommend to arrive around sunset or a little before, so that you can see the houses being lit up. Don't visit too late though, because most of the houses don't stay lit up late in the evening and during the night.
As such, the best time to visit Dyker Heights is between 4:30 and 9 pm.
How to get to Dyker Heights?
Dyker Heights is a residential neighbourhood in southwestern Brooklyn that is sadly not directly served by the New York City metro. The easiest way to get there on your own is to start in the heart of Manhattan and take the D line metro to 71st St. The ride takes between 40 and 45 minutes depending on where you start, and then you'll have to walk for about ten minutes before you get to the decorated houses in Dyker Heights.
Another option is to first go to Lower Manhattan and then take the X28 bus (from Wall Street) at the Battery Pl/Greenwich St stop, which will take you directly to Dyker Heights (86 St-12th Av) in about 25 minutes. From there, it's just a 5-minute walk to the neighbourhood. You can make the return trip on the B1 bus.
And as I explained above, you can also opt for a Dyker Heights guided tour from Manhattan.