Dyker Heights leaders step up effort to police Christmas lights display
As the first of the famous Dyker Heights Christmas lights displays went up, community leaders and local officials are stepping up efforts to tame the month-long extravaganza to avoid the craziness of previous years.
“The city has been very supportive of us. What we want is to have a safety plan in place that works,” Dyker Heights Civic Association President Fran Vella-Marrone told this newspaper on Monday.
The end of the long Thanksgiving weekend usually signals the start of the Christmas lights display as homeowners turn their attention to decorating their front lawns with eye-popping holiday decorations in preparation for the hordes of visitors who come and gawk at the over-the-top extravaganza.
Vella-Marrone also sought to clarify the position of the Dyker Heights Civic Association on the Christmas lights.
Following a Nov. 13 civic association meeting during which a crackdown of the holiday display was discussed, Vella-Marrone said she read numerous comments on social networking sites criticizing her group’s efforts and accusing the organization’s members of being Grinches.
People had gotten the mistaken impression that the civic association is opposed to the display, she said.
“We’re not against the Christmas lights display. We’re not trying to shut it down. I couldn’t shut it down even if I wanted to. These are private homeowners doing something on their private property. But we want to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone,” Vella-Marrone said.
The safety plan the civic association is pushing would include traffic enforcement to keep the tour buses and private cars moving as well as enforcement by the New York City Department of Health to crack down on unlicensed vendors selling cider and hot chocolate on the streets.
Working with Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, Vella-Marrone is also seeking a crackdown on homeowners who lease space in their driveways to the food vendors in violation of city health regulations.
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