A Mystery or a Drain: How Dyker Heights Got Its Name

Dyker Heights’ 13th Avenue in 1934. Photo via Bowery Boys

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Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature

An isolated residential nabe, Dyker Heights is known for its large Italian-American population and distance from subway stations.

Despite much of the ‘hood’s relative inaccessibility, Dyker Heights still attracts an outpouring of locals and out-of-towners alike to its renowned Christmas lights display, an annual tradition in which residents deck their mansions in illuminated Santas and snowflakes.

But can you guess how it got its name?

Like many things in Brooklyn it is thought to originate with the Dutch — but not the language. Instead, it is named for Dutch farmers’ use of dikes to drain local wetlands.

Another theory of Dyker Heights’ history is that the origins are based on something more recent, as the area was known as Bay Ridge East in real estate auctions up until the 1920s. What that more recent inspiration may be, however, has been lost to the ages.

Dyker Heights Brooklyn Neighborhood Name

1922 ad from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Brooklyn Christmas Lights Photos Bedecked Brownstones

Lights in Dyker Heights. Photo by Laura Leebove

Brooklyn Christmas Lights Photos Bedecked Brownstones

Lights in Dyker Heights. Photo by Laura Leebove

Related Stories
Dyker Heights’ Asian-American Influx
The Best of the Dyker Heights Lights
Schubert’s Dyker Heights Symphony

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