It would not be Christmas without lights and decorations and residents who look forward to seeing their neighborhood ablaze each evening will be pleased to hear that many of the regulars have flipped their switches and it's officially holiday season in northeast Queens.
Those who were disappointed in last year's showing at 166-08 23rd Avenue, Whitestone will be pleased to know that the Lynch family has completed their renovations and outdone themselves with this year's decorations.
Inside their home, there is no sense of the radiant theater that is taking place on the streets as neighbors and passersby gather to admire the show. The house is quiet and the curtains block the glittering display. When asked if the light bothers him, Kevin Lynch shrugs and shakes his head, “The lights go out at midnight.”
At 20-07 Clintonville Street, Whitestone, Anthony Teri uses blackout curtains to protect himself from the glare. The colorful show he has created takes Teri, his friends and family more than forty hours over three days to assemble on the outside of his home.
Three years ago, Teri, who has been decorating the home he shares with his parents for the past 25 years, decided to use his display to raise funds for St. Mary's Hospital for Children.
The Lynch Family - Kevin and Tina Lynch with their three kids Tori, Tara, Timothy whose age ranges from nine to three years old, are relative newcomers to the Christmas show, having only been exhibiting for 9 years.
Decorating at 166-08 is a longer, more drawn out, but fun process. “We usually start on Columbus day. This year we kicked off on October 3,” Kevin said. From taking the first box of decorations out, to switching on the lights generally takes a month and a half. “We just work on warm days,” said Tina, who decorates the windows too.
For both houses, the cost of celebrating Christmas is not cheap. Teri estimates electricity alone will cost $800-1,000. When asked the value of their collection neither enthusiast could but a price on the collections they had spent years amassing.
Teri has set a goal of raising over $1,000 for St. Mary's this year. “The first year we raised $500, the second it was $600 and the third year it was close to $1,000. There is more signage and it's more prominent this year so we're hoping to break the thousand dollar level,” he said.
A highlight of the season for the Lynches is the December 18 benefit for St. Luke's school. “Starting around 6:30 p.m. there'll be 40 kids singing Christmas carols, and the mothers club will be serving hot chocolate, cookies and baked goods.” Tina said. “After the singing, Santa pops up on the roof and a fire truck will lift him and carry him to the lawn where he'll distribute little goodies to kids,” Kevin, a retired FDNY firefighter, added.