Dyker Heights


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

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

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?

Cresco Realty Company. Brooklyn Eagle, 1907

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this story.

Developer Walter L. Johnson was a powerhouse. When he began building his Dyker Heights suburban community, he went with the best of the best. First of all, he had one of the best locations in Brooklyn to work with. His father had purchased the old DeRussy estate back in 1888 with the idea to develop it into an upscale suburban community.

Walter L. Johnson. Photo: Brooklyn Eagle, 1907

Read Part 2 and Part 3 of this story.

As most people know by now, the city of Brooklyn developed from the six original towns settled by the Dutch, or in the case of Gravesend, the English, in the mid-1600s. Using their English names, they were Brooklyn, Bushwick, New Utrecht, Flatbush, Gravesend and Flatlands.


Two Brooklyn Public Library branches in Cypress Hills and Dyker Heights have received large grants from the city to repair and renovate their aging buildings, according to press releases. The Arlington Library in Cypress Hills, pictured above, has gotten $1,000,000 in city funding to replace its boiler and install new piping, concrete padding, and damaged partitions. The work will be done while the library is open and not in need of heating, unless it has to close because of noise disruptions. Also, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Vincent Gentile have devoted $750,000 for replacing the badly damaged roof of the Dyker Heights library branch. Roof repair will involve demolishing and removing the current roof and installing a new one, as well as potential drain and paver additions. The roof replacement project will most likely be completed by 2016.

Image by Utopian Branch Library