FILE PHOTO: A man stands outside a decorated house at the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., December 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
By Dan Fastenberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City neighborhood is fully turned on for Christmas, drawing throngs to its annual light show, even as the Omicron variant puts a damper on celebrations.
Residents in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights vie to outdo each other with colorful displays of snowmen, nativity scenes, reindeer, nutcrackers, candy canes and light-studded trees and bushes.
For some visitors, the experience was just what the doctor ordered.
“It was important for me to see the Christmas spirit,” said French tourist Virginie Issautier. “And here is the best thing, in the best fashion to see it. And after all these months and years of disease, of COVID, it’s a new hope to see all these lights.”
The lack of snow did not faze visitors from more tropical areas.
Dyker Heights’ seasonal lights took off in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and stayed on even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, residents said. The light show has become a pit stop for tour buses along with the likes of Rockefeller Center and Times Square.
“It’s weird watching it explode to the popularity that it is now,” said Frank Wilders from the neighborhood, with his son Ryan by his side. “Now that I am able to share it with my kids, especially my son, makes it even better.”