Elected officials and scores of neighborhood families can usually be found around this time of year enjoying annual Christmas displays and decorations. A tradition that took a bit of a dip because of the COVID-19 crisis and its restrictions. Nevertheless, families and friends still strolled through one of Brooklyn’s favorite holiday neighborhoods, Dyker Heights.
The bulk of exquisitely decorated mansions and houses were concentrated in the area from 11 Avenue to 13 Avenue, and 85th Streets to 82nd, but the entire neighborhood shone just as bright with its characteristic lights.
Traffic was backed up with police in the streets carefully directing cars. Families and couples roamed from block to block taking pictures, and in some cases, invading people’s porches and driveways for better angles and group shots. A few solemn ice cream trucks served frigid ice cream throughout the chilly night. Vendors flooding the ordinarily residential area has become somewhat of a hot button issue for residents who complain about trash left behind from visitors.
James Bonavita has been the owner of B & R Christmas Decorators Inc for almost 30 years. Bonavita said he’s really the only one that covers his neighborhood with the exception of DiMeglio Decorators.
“Why do I do it? Because I love it,” said Bonavita. “It brings great joy to me and joy to the people when I see them looking at my lights. I love it. And I always loved it as a kid. I was one of the first to do it.”
He said this year’s mess hasn’t been quite as bad because the crowds have been much smaller and there’s been no bus tours. Plus, he said, most of the bigger homes weren’t done this year.
Bonavita said he estimates they’ve done about 170 homes in the Dyker Heights area, but his company services the tri-state. “It was a different year. It was more tri-state, Staten Island, than Dyker,” said Bonavita. “They didn’t want the crowds around because of COVID.”
Bonavita said that he’s done a few houses “pro bono” to give people a break for the holidays. Most of the light displays will be up through January 6.
Here’s a gallery of a few favorite shots of the neighborhood over the Christmas weekend: