A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 03, 2011
Dyker Lights (Dyker Heights at Christmas)

Dyker Heights is a Brooklyn residential neighborhood, located between Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Gravesend Bay. Since about 1980, its houses have displayed elaborate Christmas lighting. The area from 83rd to 86th streets and from 11th to 13th avenues has been dubbed “Dyker Lights” since at least 2001, when a PBS documentary by that name aired.


Wikipedia: Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Dyker Heights is a residential neighborhood in the southwest corner of the Borough of Brooklyn in New York City, USA. It is sandwiched among Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, and Gravesend Bay. According to the Post Office, Dyker Heights is bounded to the west by Interstate 278, to the north by Bay Ridge Avenue, to the east by Fourteenth Avenue, and to the south by Fort Hamilton. The Dyker Beach Golf Course extends to the Belt Parkway. Dyker Heights originated as a speculative luxury housing development in October 1895 when Walter Loveridge Johnson developed a portion of woodland into a suburban community. During the height of his development, the boundaries were primarily between Tenth Avenue and Thirteenth Avenue and from 79th Street to 86th Street. The finest homes of the development were situated along the top of the 110-foot (34 m) hill, at about Eleventh Avenue and 82nd Street. Dyker Heights is patrolled by the 68th Precinct of the NYPD.
(...)
Christmas
Dyker Heights is now most famous for its Christmas lights and decorations erected each year by its residents. It’s been called “Con Ed’s warmest heartthrob,” the “undisputed capital of Christmas pageantry,” and the “king of the Christmas lights.” Christmas lights are now the core of the Dyker Heights identity as not just one home, or one block, but rather the entire community participates.

Although in which December the lights began is unclear, newspaper reports and tours of the area suggest it started sometime in the 1980s. In 1985 one Lou Singer began running tours (Singer’s Brooklyn) through the most elaborately light parts of Bensonhurst, Canarsie, Bay Ridge, and Dyker Heights where one could find “designer lighting.”

Since those initial 1980 reports, the lights of Dyker Heights have become increasing more popular with New Yorkers as countless newspaper articles, news programs, documentaries, and remotes were created. Early on, the two most noted homes were on 84th Street, between 11th and 12th avenues, directly across from one another. The home of Lucy Spata with her Santa theme at 1152 84th St and that of Alfred Polizzotto with his Nutcracker motif at 1145 84th St.

Spata’s home is covered in lights, illuminated soldiers and choirboys, and other Christmas figures. The inside is decorated with 50 motorized dolls, miniature villages and many gifts. Outside Santa, played by her nephew, greets children and others who pass by.

The white mansion, owned by Alfred Polizzotto, is adorned with a pair of 29-foot (8.8 m) high wooden solders which stand guard and wave their arms. The front lawn has rearing horses and a quartet of dancers. In 1988, Mr. Polizzotto was diagnosed with lymphoma, which was successfully treated the following year. To celebrate his triumph, Mr. Polizzotto mounted the display the following year and ever since. Unfortunately in 2001 Mr. Polizzotto passed away and his family has continued the tradition in his honor.

In 1996, the Casos, who moved to Dyker Heights in 1995 (they have since relocated) had Midwood artist Carl Oliveri design Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which included 29 life-size figures on their front lawn at 1062 84th St.

In 2000, Conan O’Brien filmed a remote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien in Dyker Heights. A PBS televised documentary “Dyker Lights” was produced in 2001 as an insight into the neighborhood with stories involving the Christmas celebration lights.

The Internet Movie Database
Dyker Lights (2001) (TV)
Release Date: 23 December 2001 (USA)
Runtime: 28 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Sound Mix: Stereo
Company: Park Slope Productions

New York (NY) Post
BROOKLYN LIGHT - STOPPING TRAFFIC IN DYKER HEIGHTS YEAR AFTER YEAR
New York Post - New York, N.Y.
Author: LINDA STASI, TV Critic
Date: Dec 22, 2005
There are 30-foot-high moving wooden soldiers, giant toy trains that kids can ride, 35-foot-high gingerbread houses, millions of lights covering roofs and lawns. There are singers, dance troops, live bands, and gigantic manger displays that Christ, his whole family, and all of his disciples - not to mention the Magi and their families - could have lived in comfortably for decades.

In short, its a neighborhood full of displays that makes the malls look tame. And so, to celebrate the wonder that is Dyker Heights at Christmas, Ch. 13 has a documentary, “Dyker Lights,” premiering tonight. And it’s about time.

New York Daily Photo
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Dyker Lights
There are Christmas tree lights and then there is Dyker Heights. This Brooklyn neighborhood (between Bayridge and Bensonhurst) is known worldwide for its elaborate Xmas light displays. PBS did a 2001 documentary detailing the phenomenon - apparently many of the displays have been motivated by various family events and crises. When I first visited this area in the 1980s, I had never seen anything remotely like it. The predominantly Italian neighborhood is quite affluent - many of the homes are mini-mansions. The premier block is 84th Street between 10th and 12th Avenue

ABC News
Dyker Heights Holidays Lights Draw Crowds at Christmas
Tens of Thousands Flock to Neighborhood’s Dazzling Displays

By DARCY BONFILS
Dec. 8, 2010
Every Christmas for a quarter of a century, a six-block area of Brooklyn has been transformed into a dazzling holiday lights extravaganza.

Spanning 83rd to 86th streets between 11th and 13th avenues, the Dyker Heights neighborhood – seasonally dubbed “Dyker Lights” in a nod to the display – attracts an estimated 150,000 visitors every year.

It started 25 years ago with Lucy Spata’s initial display. The rest of the neighborhood followed suit. And those that complained, well, Spata says she invited them to move.

The Brooklyn Paper
December 20, 2010 / GO Brooklyn / Dyker Heights / Where to GO
Now is the time to see the Dyker Lights
By Meredith Deliso
Do they know it’s Christmas? They do in Dyker Heights.

Year in and year out, thousands flock to the neighborhood to see some of the best holiday decorations in the city, even earning it the nickname “Dyker Lights.”

This year isn’t any different, as the six-block area bounded by 83rd and 86th streets and 11th and 13th avenues is decked out in two-story Santas, 10-foot tall dancers that pirouette to the music of the “Nutcracker Suite,” and 29-foot-tall toy soldiers marching in place. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • (0) Comments • Monday, January 03, 2011 • Permalink