OUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO THE BOROUGH OF KINGS
BY ROSE ADAMS
Dyker Heights continues to light up
Brooklyn’s holiday season this year,
though some favorite houses — including
the beloved “Toyland” mansion —
The Polizzotto home, located on
84th Street between 11th and 12th avenues,
will no longer display its 30-foottall
nutcrackers and moving Santa
Claus, dancers, and horses, the mansion’s
“Forty years I’ve been going that
house,” said Lou Nasti, who made and
installed the family’s gigantic Christmas
statues every year. “It’s kind of
funny that it’s gone.”
The house’s owner, Alfred Polizzotto,
was one of the fi rst Dyker
Heights residents to partake in the
holiday lights tradition, along with his
neighbor, Lucy Spata. In 1988, while
in remission from cancer treatment,
Polizzotto commissioned the fantastic
display, which became one of the
neighborhood’s main attractions.
After Polizotto’s death in 2001, his
wife, Florence, continued the tradition.
In 2019, Florence passed away,
and her children decided to erect the
decorations for one more year in her
and Alfred’s memory, Nasti said.
COURIER L 30 IFE, DECEMBER 25-31, 2020
But now the younger generation
has put the mansion up for sale, and
has divided the decorations between
their respective homes in New Jersey
and Nassau County, Nasti said.
“Dyker Lights will never be what
it was,” Nasti lamented.
Several other homes across the
southern Brooklyn neighborhood are
still shining bright this year — including
Lucy Spata’s house across the
street from the Polizzottos.
Spata put up her full display before
Thanksgiving, and the blazing lights
and statues continue to draw admirers
despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
One couple, who stood outside the
Spata house on Dec. 17, said they travel
from their home in Rockaway, Queens
every year to see the lights.
“It’s a yearly tradition,” said Vlad
Fedorie, who said there were fewer decorations
this year. “It’s a little less.”
Another group agreed that there
were fewer displays.
“Usually every house is decorated,”
said Josh Bogatan, who speculated
that residents wanted to reduce foot
traffi c amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I guess people just don’t want people
coming to their house.”
Bogatan’s friend was still wowed by
“I mean, this is still crazy though,”
Though fewer people were milling
around the neighborhood than usual
on the night of Dec. 17, one local leader
said that attendance has been surprisingly
high — particularly during the
weekend of Dec. 12.
“The weather was nice. It was really
crowded; we did get some complaints,”
said Josephine Beckmann, the chair
of Community Board 10. “People were
concerned about social distancing.”
Locals also complained about two
vendors who’ve stationed their trucks
in the neighborhood every weekend in
defi ance of a new law, Beckmann said.
Local Councilman Justin Brannan
passed legislation last year banning
food vendors from the neighborhood between
Thanksgiving and the New Year
after residents complained of trash and
noise. But some street merchants took
advantage of a loophole in the new law
by hiring disabled veterans, who can
vend anywhere in the city with few exceptions
according to a 1894 law.
But despite the setbacks, Beckmann
said the lights have been a success so
far, and that locals have relished in the
comfort of the annual tradition.
“People are really yearning for a
place to go and feel festive,” she said.
shines on without
DASH AWAY ALL: The Polizzotto house featured a 15-foot Santa Claus for more than 30 years. This year, he’s gone, but there’s still plenty
Christmas cheer in Dyker Heights. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly