NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Dyker Heights holiday lights are up and on – each next house more elaborate and illuminating than the last.
It’s one of the biggest attractions in New York City at this time of year, drawing thousands of tourists every winter to come see the Dyker lights, reports CBS2′ Ali Bauman.
Each house is more elaborate and illuminating than the next.
“Puts you in the Christmas spirit,” Joe Tenteromano of Staten Island said.
James Bonavita of B&R Christmas Decorators is one of Dyker Heights’ leading designers, handling up to eight small houses in a day with as many as 32,000 lights on a single house. He’s been decorating houses here for 27 years.
“It was like a dream when I was a kid,” he said. “I came here and now I’m doing it.”
“My dad’s electrician was doing the electric in our garden while I was decorating,” said Bonavita. “He said there’s a guy in Dyker Heights… His workers, they don’t know what they’re doing, why don’t you go show them. I went there not knowing what I was doing, got paid $75 a day and from there on then, from that to now.”
Bonavita starts rolling out lights in October and he’s tweaking his work until Christmas Eve.
“That’s why people call me back, because I’m so neurotic about that,” he said.
Arguably his grandest display is Frank Fogliano’s house on 83rd Street.
“I had little kids and decoration was a big thing and I just kept it up,” Fogliano said.
Expensive to keep up?
“As expensive as you want it to be,” he said.
In case you think this is all so lavish it loses the true spirit of Christmas, “my son Michael is affected by a disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” Robert Capolongo said.
To fight his son’s terminal illness, Capolongo has been raising money at Frank’s house since they met years ago.
“I said I get a lot of people coming by my house for Christmas, we can do something here,” Fogliano said.
“The donations we’ve gained to help fund research has been nothing short of remarkable,” Capolongo added.
There’s no such thing as too bright or too bold for the front of these houses.
“If it’s something you love don’t cut it short make the time,” Fogliano said.
“Do you feel like you’re gonna be doing this for the rest of your life?” Bauman asked Bonavita.
“Yes I love it I really love it.”