Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

I love my hometown of Brooklyn, and Christmas is my favorite time of the year! And, I absolutely love Christmas lights. If I could light up my house so it could be seen from space, I would. I have a special feeling for the famous light displays in the Dyker Heights neighborhood in the southwest corner of Brooklyn. I used to visit when I still lived in Brooklyn, and it’s amazing how the light displays now attract people from all around the world.

This year, I was invited to be a special guests on the opening of a new tour called Dyker Heights Christmas Lights. The first tour of its kind operated by residents of Dyker Heights, it’s designed to give people the best experience possible to enjoy the neighborhood during the most wonderful time of the year. I was honored to be invited, and joined the tour on its opening day, Saturday, December 21, 2019.

The bus tour began with a pickup in Manhattan right across from Bryant Park. Driving around New York City and Brooklyn during the holidays is always hectic, so having a relaxing bus ride was a welcome start. Dyker Heights is crazy crowded and driving around or parking is almost impossible, so best to start in Manhattan. During the ride into Brooklyn, Steven Ramos, the tour’s founder and CEO, introduced us to the tour and the history of Dyker Heights.

When we arrived in Brooklyn, the bus dropped us off at the Dyker Heights Lounge, which was at the beautiful St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. Since the neighborhood is absolutely packed with people during lights season – over 100,000 people visit each year, and the police do not let people walk in the streets, making the sidewalks really packed, having a safe, comfortable spot to start off and return back to was really great. After a few quick instructions, Steven led us off to explore the neighborhood.

It’s amazing what people are able to do with their Christmas decorations. Some houses are simple and elegant, others have every inch of their properly lit up with decorations of every type. Most of the displays are classic, with lots of blow molds and traditional light bulbs. Dyker Heights is a strong religious community, so there are beautiful nativity scenes, and the holiday spirit is everywhere.

The centerpiece of it all is 84th Street. That’s where the home of Lucy Spata is. She started the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tradition in the 1980s and her home continues to be the most visited attraction. A few steps away is the beautiful home of Al Polizzotto, which is an absolutely incredible sight, and includes a 15-foot-high Santa, the largest in New York City! Experiencing these few blocks is a holiday highlight for me every year.

After the walking tour was done, we went back to the Dyker Heights Lounge. But, the Brooklyn experience wasn’t over yet! In addition to coffee and hot chocolate waiting for us, there were Brooklyn pizza and pastries. And, if you know anything about Brooklyn, the pizza and pastries are the best in the world. (It’s the water!)

We were also treated to Christmas carols, a visit from Santa Claus, and a wonderful experience given to us by the residents of this wonderful community.

The tour ended with a bus ride back into Manhattan, where we were left off back at the Bryant Park Winter Village to enjoy Christmas in New York.

The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tour will return next holiday season. It is absolutely the best way to get a true Brooklyn experience and be part of this world-famous holiday tradition. Tickets for next year’s tours, which run late-December/early-January, are expected to go on sale in September. Visit dykerheightschristmaslights.com to sign up for their mailing list and follow them on Instagram at instagram.com/dyker_heights_christmas_lights/ to be the first to know when tickets are on sale.

You’ll love Dyker Heights Christmas Lights and it will become part of your family’s holiday tradition each year as well.

Thank you to Steven Ramos for inviting me to participate in your debut tour, and I look forward to returning next year.

Steven Ramos, Founder and CEO of Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, prepares the tour group to set off on the streets of Dyker Heights.
The largest Santa in New York City at the Polizzotto family home.
The home of Lucy Spata on 84th Street is where it all started. 
This home is one of my favorites. The blue lights and the way the entire properly is designed is absolutely beautiful.
The evening wrapped up with Christmas carols and a visit from Santa.

Starduster New Year’s Eve Styles

This past year, Ellen’s Stardust Diner in New York City has becomes one of our favorite spots in midtown. Ellen’s is located on Broadway, a few blocks away from Times Square. What makes this place special is its famous singing waitstaff, known as Stardusters. The servers are all talented aspiring performers, many of whom take time away from Ellen’s to join national tours, cruises, and even Broadway shows.

We decided to spend our New Year’s Eve at Ellen’s, and loved the entire experience! The singers were entertaining and amazing as always. Because it was New Year’s Eve, they were all dressed up and stylish to welcome 2018! I wanted to share some of my favorite Starduster styles.

I don’t have all of these wonderful performers’ names, so please let me know so I can update and tag everyone properly.

Here’s the famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner marquee.

Our server (and, therefore, the star of the evening), was the wonderful Liz Davies (@lizdaviez). She has a great voice that’s perfect for jazz or smokey blues.

Courtney has a great cool and retro style. He brought a lot of energy to his performances.

Yes, bling! My favorite dress of the evening. Singer, dancer and actor Kayleigh Brennan (@misskayleighmarie) looks stunning, and agreed with me that you can never have enough bling!

Actor Zach Snyder (@zachallensnyder) had the coolest silver bling bow tie. He has a great stage presence puts everything into his performances.

Zach Snyder

Liz looks cute and festive. I love her ankle boots and flair skirt.

It was quite a party! Everyone was dancing and having a great time. The show lasted about four hours.

Here’s actor and writer Marrick Smith (@marricksmith) looking suave and sophisticated.

For more about Ellen’s Stardust Diner, visit www.ellensstardustdiner.com, or look for the long queue on 51st Street and Broadway!

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Pop-Up Store in New York City

Sarah Jessica Parker is a fashion icon. Her Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City,” is the embodiment of a New York fashionista. When I heard about the new pop-up store for her SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker line, I knew I had to check it out. On Saturday, I made the trip to 52nd Street and was immediately struck by the bright, colorful space. The warm feel of the store drew me in. Then I saw the shoes, which are amazing. Sarah Jessica Parker loves bling!

I spoke with one of the sales associates, who told me that Sarah Jessica has been in the store almost every day it’s been open. The line was originally launched in 2014, but this is the first store dedicated to SJP in New York City. The pop-up is scheduled to be open for about 10 days, but hopefully it will lead to a permanent location in the city.

I love this wallpaper. Everything about the store is so cool and distinctive. I was told that Sarah Jessica is very hands-on with everything and the attention to detail really shows.

I love bling! All SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker shoes are handmade in Italy. Holding these shoes, I am impressed by the quality of the craftsmanship. Sarah Jessica designs all of the shoes herself. Beautiful style, high-quality construction, and they are so comfortable! I was pleasantly surprised by the prices as well.

I love the fact that these shoes don’t feel like a celebrity line, but a really high-end designer brand. One of the sales associates told me that since she launched the line, Sarah Jessica has been very active in soliciting feedback about what her customers want. I really wasn’t expecting to buy something when I visited the store, but after a few minutes I wanted everything!

I tried on these bling boots, and was thrilled that they sell Size 5! Since they are Italian made, they are sized perfectly, which is difficult for me to find. It just keeps getting better and better!

In addition to shoes, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker also includes these super cute clutches.

When I walked into the pop-up store for #SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, I was greeted by Jake. I was looking at a pair of bling booties that were on the shelves. I asked him if you have a size 5. He said, sorry I have a 5.5. I was bummed. Then, the magic happened! He showed me another pair of bling booties that were on the shelves. Eureka! They were a size #5. I told him “I want them!” This must have been the fastest sale he ever had.

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker also features fragrances.

Here is another look at the clutches. I just love the bright, bold colors. These are products that will make you feel good when you are wearing them. When fashion can brighten your day, you know it’s special.

I love that the collection has bold, stylish bling shoes that aren’t only stiletto heels. These are shoes that any woman can wear, dressed up, or when in jeans. They are adaptable to any look, and really flexible so they can work in lots of different situations.

More bling! I still can’t get over how high quality everything is.

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker

I’m thrilled to have discovered the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker line! I have some new favorite shoes. Being in the store and having her retail experience, I can feel how much she loves what she does. When a designer puts their passion and personality into their work, it reflects on the person who wears it.

The pop-up is scheduled to close on Sunday, December 3. My visit was extremely memorable, and I can only hope that this experiment is a huge success. If I can have a Christmas wish, I’ll be attending the grand opening of a brand new SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker store somewhere in midtown Manhattan in 2018!

Congratulations Adriana Marie of AMCONYC

I had the opportunity to attend two of the fantastic runway shows produced by AMCONYC as part of New York Fashion week. The runway shows by Ollari and Jovan O’Connor were wonderfully memorable and be sure to visit the AMOCNYC website at www.amconyc.com to see some runway images from that weekend.

Congratulations to AMCONYC founder Adriana Marie, pictured below with me on the red carpet, and your team for an incredible fashion weekend! Thank you for inviting me to be a part of it, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.


Small Boutique Fashion Week – NYC – September 12

I am so excited to be attending Small Boutique Fashion Week in New York City on September 12! It will be my first time in New York for Fashion Week and SBFW2015 is one of the exciting events that features a lot of really talented designers and stylists. Watch the video above for details. Tickets are available at www.smallboutiquefw.com. If you are going, let me know!

I have my front row seats to the 8pm show at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street) where one of my favorite designers, Robert Greco, will be highlighting his couture collection.

Other designers who are being featured at the 8pm show include: Clavon Wear, Jo David by Jd Noble, Bryant Alexander Brand, Trang Tram Design, Charles Andrews Couture, Lainy Gold, Shadeth, Yvonne Jewnell, Lvi Fashion, Susnyara and House of Van Miller. Can’t wait to see all of their work!

SBFW is the only business-oriented runway show and market geared toward small business owners, emerging designers, and novelty designers that are looking to get their start by selling to small boutiques and unique shops.