By Dylan Campbell
After a year hiatus, the annual Christmas display nicknamed “Santa’s Corner” in Whitestone is illuminated again.
Every year homeowner Kevin Lynch coats his house at 66-04 23rd Ave with thousands of bulbs and surrounds it with hundreds of nutcrackers, Santas, nativity sets and snowmen that shine for hundreds of spectators. Last year, however, he decided to take a break — much to the disappointment of local residents.
“It's their tradition. They've been coming here their whole lives since they were three, and they're 18 years old,” said Kevin Lynch, homeowner and decoration mastermind. “So I said, ‘You know, what let me do it again.’ I have all new stuff to put on the house, and I just went out and went crazy again.”
Lynch has been wrapping his house in lights for two decades and was even featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” a reality show competition that he won.
Last year, Lynch decided to take a break over safety concerns about uncontrolled traffic, he said. But this year, after an agreement with 109th Precinct, and encouragement from the community, Lynch decided to bring the Christmas magic back to Whitestone — with a big assist from his son Timothy.
Timothy, 15, motivated Lynch to unravel his lights again, and, for the first time, convinced him to let someone else lend a hand in building the wonderland, Lynch said.
Lynch said the display had always been a solo job and he was skeptical about having a partner by his side through the creative process.
“At first, I was really leering and very typical. Everything's gotta be straight and perfect and safe for everyone walking around,” Lynch said. “And, you know what, he was good. I was amazed at that, too. I was like, 'Oh, look at you. You did watch me all these years.”
Lynch said that Timothy quickly took to the artistic part of the job as well as the manual labor. Timothy was the driving force during the seven-week process, Lynch said. He also took designed his own 100-piece display box.
"He did a good forty percent of [the whole display],” Lynch said. “I was very proud of him doing it and he pushed me. He said 'Come on, Pop. Don't get lazy on me, Dad.’”
Lynch’s lights obsession began two decades ago when he moved into the home and noticed the neighbor across the street put up some lights. He was inspired so he put up some of his own.
Soon things turned competitive. His neighbor put up more lights the next year. So the following year, Lynch lit back, adding even more lights. The two went back and forth as their displays grew and the neighborhood glowed. After Lynch’s first daughter was born, he decided to kick things up a notch, doubling his lights until his neighbor gave up and said he had won.
“It just progressively got bigger and bigger,” Lynch said. “It's just something that I love to do.”
Lynch said he also loves the camaraderie among his neighbors. From putting up the display to coming out dressed as Santa, he said fostering the holiday spirit among families is his main priority.
“When you see people in the community come by and smile and say ‘Great job’ and shake your hand, you know, it's a good feeling,” he said.