Ahhhh Christmas, most commercial of all holidays!
Full disclosure, I’m a total Scrooge. I would happily let this holiday pass me by without so much as hanging a wreath. I couldn’t care less about mistletoe, or tinsel, or overweight geriatrics in red suits. But I have kids. And, as a Mom, I’m socially and morally obligated to at least pretend I’m having a good time. Not only that, but I have to keep coming up with new, appropriately festive things to do with my adorable progeny. A quick trip to Macy’s to sit on the fat man’s lap and admire the windows no longer cuts it. The tree in Rockefeller Center? Been there, done that.
So, what’s a Mom to do? And what are you going to do when you’re in NYC for the holidays and all the usual Yuletide activities have been exhausted?
Enter Dyker Heights!
If you’ve never heard of this tiny, affluent neighborhood in Brooklyn, don’t feel too badly. It isn’t on most travelers “Must See” lists. But each December the residents of this well-to-do enclave engage in the ultimate game of holiday one-upmanship. And when you’ve got a reindeer sized chip on your shoulder and an unlimited amount of disposable income the results are crazy. We’re talking twenty-foot-tall animatronic Santa on some dude’s front lawn sort of crazy! And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You want a life-sized nativity? Oh yea, they’ve got that. A working, miniature merry-go-round ridden by Disney characters? Check. How about a fleet of wooden soldiers that look like they’re ready to be Laurel and Hardy’s backup? You get the idea.
The bad news is, you’ll have to do a bit of legwork to get there. Take the D train to 71st Street and walk about fifteen minutes to get into the heart of the neighborhood. The best displays are concentrated from 11th to 13th Avenues between 83rd and 86th Streets.
The good news is, the kids will love it. They will have smiles on their little, cherubic faces from the moment you arrive until long after you’ve tucked them into bed to dream about sugar plums. The other good news is, if you’re discreet about it, no one is going to hassle you for bringing a flask of eggnog along.
Have a Merry!