Big, brash light dis­plays draw some bah-hum­bugs

The Times-Tribune - - Weather / Nation - BY WIL­LIAM MATHIS

NEW YORK — It’s a neigh­bor­hood Christ­mas dis­play with New York City at­ti­tude: big, brash, loud and over-the-top.

Blaz­ing lights, gi­ant toy sol­diers, an­gels, snow­men, wise men, San­tas and piped-in Si­na­tra car­ol­ing form an all-out bar­rage on the senses from nearly ev­ery house in the heart of Brook­lyn’s Dyker Heights neigh­bor­hood, an an­nual ex­trav­a­ganza that draws thou­sands of tourists ev­ery evening by the car and bus­load.

But it has some res­i­dents just wish­ing for a silent night.

“As pretty as it can be, it’s dif­fi­cult,” says Linda Reb­mann, 72, who has lived in Dyker Heights all her life and has only an un­lit cran­berry wreath on her home. “It’s a lit­tle out of hand. It’s got­ten to be a bit much.”

No­body is talk­ing about pulling the plug on the dis­plays, which are still a source of neigh­bor­hood pride. But there has been ex­tra grum­bling this sea­son, espe­cially af­ter some park­ing spots usu­ally used by res­i­dents were blocked off for rows of tour buses.

“This close to Christ­mas you can’t walk. It’s like Manhattan,” says Joyce Ar­pino, 55, a res­i­dent for three decades. She says she stopped dec­o­rat­ing in­side her win­dows be­cause gawk­ers would peer in­side and rap on the glass. Tourists used to park in front of her house or even in her drive­way un­til she set out some or­ange traf­fic cones.

“I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge,” she

says, “but it’s hor­ri­ble.”

To that, res­i­dents like 30-year-old Vinny Priv­itelli re­spond: lighten up.

This year, he spent all of Novem­ber and thou­sands of dol­lars to in­stall strings of red and white lights on his roof and around ev­ery win­dow and adorn his lawn with rein­deer, a trio of danc­ing elves and a na­tiv­ity scene. Mr. Priv­itelli ad­mits part of the fun is try­ing to outdo his neigh­bors, some of whom hire pro­fes­sion­als to do their dis­plays. And he has no prob­lem with the throngs of vis­i­tors who come to check it out.

“It’s nice to see them en­joy­ing it, that’s what we get out of it,” he says. “Ev­ery­thing in the news is neg­a­tive, so at least we get one pos­i­tive thing.”


A sign in front of a dec­o­rated house warns vis­i­tors to keep off the premises in the Dyker Heights neigh­bor­hood of New York.

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