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Whitestone Christmas display takes a break amid safety concerns

Whitestone Christmas display takes a break amid safety concerns
Kevin Lynch will not decorate his Whitestone home with bright lights this year.
Photo by Michael Shain
By Gina Martinez

After 22 consecutive years of delighting neighbors with his Christmas display, Whitestone resident Kevin Lynch is taking a year off.

The retired firefighter’s 23rd Avenue home has been the center of attention for over two decades, with super bright lights and innovative Christmas time decor. But this Christmas Lynch said he decided to take a break because he thought that the display was becoming a safety hazard for neighbors.

According to Lynch, the decorations caused traffic when people driving by stopped and took pictures, sometimes blocking neighbors’ driveways and causing congestion. He said neighborhood children and passers-by would sometimes stop in the middle of the street, which raised fears someone could get hurt.

“It attracts people from the neighborhood and it’s also a tourist thing,” he said. “We made it to the list of top 10 attractions in the city for Christmas. I love the people, love decorating and seeing everyone coming by, but I’m trying to regroup and get more organized. I’m planning on getting help, hire someone to walk up and down the street, so that people don’t park in driveways. I don’t want it out of control.”

Lynch said he reached out to the 109th Precinct for help with traffic and crowds for the hundreds of people who were coming by to see the Christmas display, but they were not able to provide assistance. No one has been hurt so far, but children run in the street. “If a child were to get injured, it would destroy me’” he said.

He said he reached out to the police auxiliary to help, but they cannot unless they have a patrol car with them. Lynch said he understands there are more important things police could be doing than staking out his Christmas extravaganza, but he is wants to step aside for a year to plan on making it safer for people stopping by.

“The break is more or less for myself,” he said. “It gives me a chance to regroup, and also a chance to see other displays for myself, enjoy them and get inspired. I honestly miss it already. It’s just tradition. There are some people in the neighborhood who have been coming since they were kids and now they’re in their 20’s.”

Lynch said he began his spectacular display 22 years ago when he had his first child. A neighbor put up lights and he did as well. Eventually it turned into a competition and he kept getting bigger and bigger.

“My hope is that they’ll find a way to help so that it’s safe for everyone,” he said. “That would be fantastic. Next year we’re coming back and we’re going to do things differently. I can’t wait.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart[email protected]cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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