City rejects Dyker Christmas Lights permit request
A move by Community Board 10 to take tighter control over the famous Dyker Heights Christmas Lights display was knocked down by the city, which flatly denied a request by the board for a permit.
Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told board members about the permit denial at the board’s monthly meeting on Oct. 16.
The board hoped a permit would bring a sense of order to the often haphazard traffic tie-up that take place every December when thousands of tourists descend on Dyker Heights to view the dazzling Christmas decorations put up by homeowners in the neighborhood.
The delightful giant Santas, snowmen, angels, reindeer and cartoon characters are fun to gawk at, but the holiday extravaganza is nerve-racking to anyone living in Dyker Heights who is trying to get around, according to Beckmann.
A permit from the city via the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) would officially categorize the Dyker Christmas Lights display as a street activity, bringing it under closer supervision by the city.
The Christmas Lights display can be found in the area from 11th to 14th avenues and between 82nd and 86th streets.
The permit request was nixed by NYPD, Beckmann said.
“As you know, Community Board 10 supported an application to the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office to formalize the ‘viewing’ of the Dyker Lights to a street event in response to numerous complaints associated with quality of life and safety concerns relating to Dyker Lights displays. On Oct. 12, I met with the Street Activity Permit Office to what I believed to be the first interagency planning meeting regarding the Dyker Lights Street Event Permit. At this meeting, I was informed that our application was disapproved by the NYPD,” Beckmann wrote in a report to the board.
NYPD asserted that assigning additional traffic cops to the Dyker Heights area during the Christmas Lights display should help alleviate traffic concerns.
“The NYPD Legal Department felt that it did not meet the criteria of the Street Event permit. They asserted that a detail could amply provide coverage for this event,” Beckmann wrote in her report.
Beckmann said she tried arguing the point, but to no avail.
“The goal of the permit was to put into place guidelines as well as to bring the needed resources to address the quality-of-life and safety issues residents raised at two public meetings. I stressed that the permit was a collaborative effort with residents and Dyker Heights Civic Association with a goal to bring resources to address quality of life issues facing residents as well as keep the area safe for viewers which in recent years has amounted to thousands of tourists. I expressed my sincere disappointment,” she said.
Undaunted by the defeat, Beckmann said Board 10 will stick with its plans to hold a public meeting in conjunction with the Dyker Heights Civic Association to discuss how to proceed.
The meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 30, at Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church Hall, 1072 80th St., at 7 p.m.
“The bottom line is that we need more resources in the community to handle all of the traffic coming through. It gets so bad sometimes that residents can’t get out of their own driveways,” Beckmann told the Brooklyn Eagle earlier this month.
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