We all know that at this time of year we should head to Fifth Avenue for a view of the tasteful Christmas lights or to the Rockefeller Centre to see the tree. Manhattan, after all, is THE place to be when visiting the Big Apple. But the travel savvy are beginning to take a leaf out of the locals’ book and are going to the less salubrious New York borough of Brooklyn. The residents’ Christmas light displays in the neighbourhoods of Dyker Heights and the more middle class Bay Ridge are so incredible that they draw 100,000 visitors each December, reports the Daily Mail.
Most residents in Bay Ridge stick to one or two colours and choose a single theme, from nativity scenes, to reindeers, and many proudly display US flags, but in Dyker Heights things can get a little wacky. The tradition for 'gross' Christmas lights started on 84th Street when, in the Eighties, resident Lucy Spada’s garden decorations irritated her neighbours. But the tradition caught on and this year her garden sports life-size statues of choirboys, angels, snowmen, reindeer, and 14ft Nutcrackers that had to be installed by crane. There’s even a throne for a live Santa, who pops in occasionally. And no-one’s complaining as they’re too busy joining in.
The good news is that you can stay at the all-suite Buckingham Hotel on 57th Street (www.buckinghamhotel.com) from £88. If you stay four nights in January you get a fifth free. British Airways (www.ba.com) flies from London to New York from £444.