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While it has been a neighborhood tradition to decorate for Christmas for the past two decades, one Brooklyn neighborhood has become a tourist trap for six weeks of the calendar year. Featured on social media platforms, late night news programs, and blog posts, the decorations have attracted different kinds of nighttime tours that help people gawk and gaze at the greatness that is Dyker Heights.
Because of the increasing attention received every year, the residential displays have gotten bigger, brighter, and more competitive. But with people coming in from the tri-state area and beyond and actually paying to see lights and lawn blow-ups, how much is too much?
A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours, a local company, has been providing tours to locals and tourists to the 'most lit' Brooklyn neighborhood for the last decade. Dyker Heights is part of its usual destination list including Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Red Hook, and Bensonhurst for the offered neighborhood, chocolate, and pizza tours.
According to A Slice of Brooklyn's website,
"This is the original and most authentic tour of the area. Don’t settle for cheap imitations. We don’t just drop you off in the area. We know the homeowners personally and escort you around like you’re family." ("The Original Christmas")
For a three and a half hour tour that leaves from Union Square, Manhattan, they charge $50 per adult and $40 per child under the age of 12. They used to serve cannolis and hot chocolate with a higher admissions price, but no longer do so.
But NYSee Tours takes the cake with the most expensive package out there for 'Private Tours to the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights' - at $650, minimum - *not listed in the below chart*.
As stated on its website (Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour | NY See Tours), "If you chose, we can arrange a private tour for you, your family and friends out to Dyker Heights. The prices vary, depending on the size of your party, but the minimum for a fully guided private tour is $650.00. Of course, we’ll pick you up at your hotel."
Residents have reportedly broke out a lot of Ben Franklins to partake in the neighborhood tradition, from purchasing the giant-sized decor to hiring contractors to make their houses and lawns look extravagant. According to NBC News, "B and R Christmas Decorators reportedly charges between $500 to $10,000 for a display and has had displays that top 50,00 lights."
As Dyker Heights gets exploited for the Christmas-season tourism, it does economically benefit from the spotlight, according to one of the local neighborhood representatives.
District manager of Community Board 10 Josephine Beckmann told PIX 11 News, "Tourists come and they travel and they eat and they sample. And they take a look at our community and take a taste of our food."
With less than two weeks left before Christmas, visiting Dyker Heights is still possible - though your choice in transportation may make or break your wallet. Check out the various tour companies' websites for further information on how you can make your way to the 'most lit' neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Sidenote: Though the neighborhood gets free publicity features on local news segments and backdrops in social media selfie posts for the six weeks, locals also deal with more pedestrian traffic, more vehicular traffic, and increased competition for parking spaces as they become limited during certain times of the day. See more at NYTimes and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The Original Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights | Slice of Brooklyn
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights: A Holiday Tour in New York City | NY See Tours
DYKER HEIGHTS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TOUR | Tour America
Group Bike Ride: Dyker Heights Lights | Get Women Cycling
DYKER LIGHTS: Holiday Lights Spectacular | ArchiTour NYC