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.