Neighborhood Holiday Lights and Christmas Lights in NYC: Dyker Lights and More Spectacular Houses

The spectacular holiday lights in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, are an exercise in holiday excess.
The spectacular holiday lights in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, are an exercise in holiday excess.

Every year it seems the holiday lights installations in New York City get more elaborate, making a visit to the top Christmas lights displays a must-do seasonal activity.

We've rounded up the best holiday lights displays in NYC. Most of these attractions are in the far-flung stretches of the five boroughs, such as Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Howard Beach in Queens, and on Staten Island, but all of these holiday houses are worth the trip.

So, start your own holiday tradition this year by checking out these spectacular holiday lights when dusk hits. To find more seasonal fun, including a peek at Midtown's holiday store windows, visit our NYC Holiday Fun Guide.

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The houses below light up around Thanksgiving, and displays come down around New Year's Day. Lights go on (and are best seen) after dark. If you want to avoid crowds and potential traffic jams, go early in the evening on a weekday. These places tend to get busy on weekends. If you're traveling on foot, please respect the homeowners' property and other visitors' space.

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Holiday lights in NYC: Dyker Heights
Houses are decorated to the max in Brooklyn's Dyker Heights neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Dyker Heights Lights

1. Dyker Lights – Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Dyker Heights is famous for its Christmas lights displays. There's even a PBS documentary called Dyker Lights and countless videos on YouTube. Check out our full Dyker Lights review for the details on this over-the-top display that carries on for blocks and blocks.

How to get there: Displays can be seen throughout the neighborhood, but the hot spot is 11th to 13th Avenues between 83rd and 86th Streets. Be prepared for serious gridlock or take the subway. The D train to 79th Street is the closest stop, but it's still quite a walk.

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Holiday lights in NYC: Modaferri home
Get festive and support the local fire department at the Modaferri home. Photo courtesy of the family

2. Modafferi Home – Howard Beach, Queens

97-03 165th Avenue
Tony Modafferi has been lighting up his corner lot for more than 30 years. The lights are on full display nightly from 5-10pm. Bring some extra cash to donate to the local volunteer fire department.

How to get there: Tony Modafferi's home is on the corner of 97th Street and 165th Avenue in Howard Beach. It's best reached by car, though the A train to the Howard Beach/JFK station is about a 20-minute walk from Modafferi's home.

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Holiday lights in NYC: Little North Pole
The Little North Pole was created to spread holiday cheer in Rockaway and raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research. Photo courtesy of the Mure Family

3. Little North Pole – Rockaway, Queens

144-03 Neponsit Avenue
The home of Joe Mure turns into a sight fit for Santa annually, with a charitable mission to boot. Updates about this year's display are posted on its Instagram account. Usually, the Little North Pole's over-the-top decor stays on through the holiday season with two missions: to put a smile on visitors' faces and, thanks to a collection box out front, to raise money for children with juvenile diabetes.

How to get there: Located at Neponsit Avenue and West 144th Street, a car is your only option.

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Holiday lights in NYC: Community Chiropractic
Dr. Michael Montalbano transforms his office, Community Chiropractic of Whitestone, into a winter wonderland. Photo by the Judith Aquino

4. Community Chiropractic – Whitestone, Queens

199-04 22nd Avenue
For the past 15 years, Dr. Michael Montalbano has transformed his office, Community Chiropractic of Whitestone, into a winter wonderland. It takes about nine days for Montalbano and his wife to set up the displays at the office, which was previously a residential home. This year it has three sections: the North Pole, city streets, and a nativity scene–each with its own music. It also accepts donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Santa visits Saturday, December 17. Drop by to say hello and snap a photo.

How to get there: The fastest way to get there is by car. Another option is the Q31 bus, which drops you about 10 minutes away.

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Holiday lights in NYC: Lights 4 Life
In Staten Island, the DiMartino house, dubbed Lights for Life, raises funds to fight children's cancer. Photo courtesy of Lights for Life

5. Lights for Life — Charleston

107 Sharrotts Road
Joe DiMartino and his family transform their house into a Christmas wonderland annually in honor of DiMartino's wife, Debra Ann, who was killed on 9/11. The display covers every square inch of the property and allows revelers to gawk at tableaus like Mrs. Claus baking gingerbread, a nativity scene, and more. Donations are collected for Staten Island University Hospital's pediatric cancer ward.

How to get there: While a car is the optimal form of transportation on the island, the X22 bus drops you about 4 minutes from the house.

Got a car and looking for fun seasonal outings? Find the most decked-out holiday houses on Long Island, in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, and in New Jersey.

Originally published in December 2009.

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