By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dyker Heights is world famous for the elaborate Christmas lights decorating homes in that community during the holiday season. Thousands of tourists descend on the neighborhood each year to enjoy the, twinkling lights, illuminated inflatable snow globes, animatronic figures, giant gift boxes, and Santas set up on the front lawns of the imaginative homeowners.
This year, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will be joining the crowds of sightseers.
Carlo Scissura, the chamber’s president and CEO, is going to lead a walking tour of Dyker Heights on Thursday, Dec. 5, starting at 8 p.m. It's part of the Chamber Visits series, in which the chamber hosts an event in a particular community to promote business in that neighborhood.
Scissura, a lawyer who grew up in neighboring Bensonhurst, has been visiting Dyker Heights for the holiday lights each Christmas season since he was a child. During the walking tour, he will offer a running commentary on the sights and sounds of the community.
“The lights of Dyker Heights are the reason why people from across New York City, and the world, come to southern Brooklyn every December. Nothing typifies Brooklyn’s holiday season more than the decorated homes of Dyker Heights,” Scissura said.
And there are plenty of sights and sounds to enjoy.
Many homeowners play recordings of Christmas carols in addition to decorating their front lawns with thousands of holiday lights.
The Bensonhurst Bean reported last year that Redfin, a real estate company based in Seattle, named Dyker Heights the Number One place in the county to see Christmas Lights in 2012. “For years, residents of Dyker Heights have spent a pretty penny to make their homes the most festive in the city. This list, however, takes it a step further and names Dyker the first in all of the country,” Bensonhurst Bean reported.
The Dec. 5 walking tour will be part of an entire evening the chamber is devoting to Dyker Heights. The chamber is seeking to promote business and economic opportunity in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood.
The evening will begin with a networking cocktail reception at Boulevard Books & Café, a bookstore at 7518 13th Ave. at 6 p.m. Northfield Bank is sponsoring the cocktail party. The chamber is also working with the 13th Avenue Merchants Association on the plans for the evening.
“We invite everyone to come out on Dec. 5 and discover the many family-owned businesses that make this neighborhood so great during the holiday season!” Scissura said.
Tatiana Nicoli, owner of Boulevard Books and the co-president of the merchants association said the business group has close ties to the chamber. “A lot of the merchants on 13th Avenue have become members of the chamber,” she told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We’re happy to welcome the chamber here. It will be wonderful for them to see what we’re all about here on 13th Avenue,” she said.
Thirteenth Avenue, the main shopping thoroughfare in Dyker Heights, is home to hundreds of mom and pop stores, many of them owned by local residents.
Nicoli and her co-president Dominick Sarta, owner of Sarta real estate, are the driving force behind an effort to establish a business improvement district on the avenue. Scissura, who is a building owner on the avenue, is supporting the BID application.
Nicoli said she is also looking forward to the walking tour. “I’m happy that business owners from other parts of Brooklyn are going to get the chance to see these lights. We’re so spoiled with our beautiful lights,” she told the Eagle.