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The Christmas lights are up in Dyker Heights: ‘I do it to make the children smile’

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DYKER HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — How do you know when it is Christmas time in the city?

Some say it’s when the tree in Rockefeller Center goes up or when Santa marches down Fifth Avenue to end the Thanksgiving Day parade.

But real New Yorkers know it’s actually when the world-famous Dyker Heights lights illuminate their neighborhood.

More than 100,000 people drive through this Brooklyn neighborhood each year to see these huge, inflatable Santas and snowmen, nativity scenes and angels.

“It’s so beautiful and we are just beginning to see it,” Manhattan resident Anastasia Hargett told PIX11.

Dyker Heights homeowner Lucy Spata says it takes more than three weeks and lots of help from relatives, friends and workers to turn her home into this Christmas wonderland.

“I do it to make the children smile,” Spata told PIX11. “And I do it because my mother did it.”

This grandmother has been decorating her house like this since 1986 and she does it for the sheer joy of it. She disagreed with a few homeowners who wanted more police protection and more rules limiting the crowds.

“There is always a Scrooge,” Spata said. “But I put even more decorations on my house this year,” she added to applause from the crowd.