The Dyker Heights Christmas lights have reigned as one of New York's best and brightest holiday light displays, said Abby Hornacek, who explored the glistening neighborhood where homeowners extravagantly bring Christmas to life.
"Dyker Heights is the undisputed king of Christmas pageantry in New York City, or as we like to say … fuggedaboutit," said Tony Muia, owner and operator of "Slice of Bus Tours," a business that services transportation of thousands of visitors to the lit-up town during the holiday season.
The Christmas extravaganza wouldn't be possible without a "strong-willed woman" named Lucy Spata, Muia said.
When Spata first moved to the neighborhood, she brought her creative decor skills as, at the time, most homes did not decorate for Christmas. Her decor brought in visitors, which upset the neighbors.
She said, "If you don't like it, move!" Muia noted.
"That's why we love Lucy," he said.
Spata starts preparing for Christmas in October and uses 15,000 to 20,000 lights, which cost hundreds of dollars in electricity bills, she said.
"I am in awe," Hornacek said. "I could see this house from Heaven."
"My husband was very crazy about Christmas — more crazier than me," Spata said. "He never let anybody know. He always blamed me."
"It grew into something, people started to complain that they didn't like it … The more they complained, the bigger I got."
Before Spata's husband died, he said, "If anything ever happens to me, this cannot be stopped. You have to continue."
Hornacek also explored a home with more than 320,000 lights of a Greek immigrant named Sam.
"How do you turn it all off?" Hornacek asked.
Sam pushed a button, and the entire property went dark.
"If you're having a bad day, there's just something about the lights that puts you in a better mood," another resident, whose home had the word "believe" in giant lit-up letters, told Hornacek.
"It gives a message to people that there are better and brighter days coming," the resident added.
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