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Meet the mastermind behind NYC’s most iconic Christmas lights show

All of the lights shine bright in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights

Lucy Spata of Brooklyn is credited with pioneering Dyker Heights’ annual Christmas Lights show, which began about 30 years ago. Today, it draws up to 100,000 visitors each year—but the display of holiday lights and decorations adorning homes on the blocks between 11th and 13th Avenues, from 83rd to 86th streets, wasn’t always popular with neighbors.

At one point, Spata, who is known as the southwest Brooklyn neighborhood’s de facto “Mrs. Claus,” said that the highway department, mayor’s office, and department of sanitation all paid her a visit demanding that she take down arches she put up on the block. But she persevered, and with each subsequent year, the displays got bigger, brighter, and bolder, with neighbors getting in on the festivities, too.

Spata typically begins preparations—both inside and outsider her home—on November 1. Everything is ready to go by the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Then, on the night of Thanksgiving, she switches on the lights, keeping them on until 1 a.m. every night until the first week of January. Watch the video above for a glimpse at all the twinkling lights.