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No one can accuse Frank Seddio of being a Christmas Grinch — or of being tight with the light.
The Democratic district leader donned his red Santa hat on Sunday and roared “ho, ho, ho” like a pro to the eager-eyed crowd assembled outside his merry manse at Flatlands Avenue and E. 93rd Street to watch him flip the switch and bring to life a magical carpet of more than 50,000 lights while a choir from PS 115 sang sweet seasonal songs.
That shimmer-fest was just the tip of the joyous delights on Seddio’s magnificent holiday display, which boasts an eye-popping assortment of life-sized figures and talking animatronics, and has become a widely-anticipated community tradition, which the former assemblyman and Surrogate Court judge has diligently performed for the past 24 years, much to the awe and admiration of his faithful fans.
“I’ve been coming for as long as I can remember, it’s mind-blowing!” said 15-year-old Christa Samuels, who attended the unveiling with a group of her friends, all of them thrilling in the visual feast of elaborate decorations, colorful characters and sugar-spun Yuletide scenes, including almost 100 animated dolls and a 12-foot glinting wreath that can be spied from airplanes landing at John F. Kennedy Airport.
The display, which Seddio dedicated this year to late Canarsie Democratic District Leader Bernie Catcher, is valued at more than $300,000 and features plenty of other joyful eyefuls as well: There are seven areas celebrating a different holiday tradition, including vignettes hailing Hanukkah and Kwanza to reflect Brooklyn’s diversity. Then, there’s Santa’s workshop, complete with eight shiny reindeer, elves making toys and St. Nick, himself, supervising the work. Nearby, a 10-foot-high carousel of reindeer, ridden by its own army of toy soldiers, circles the inner yard of the property, while a scene depicting the Van Deer’s enjoying Christmas Day is matched for wonder by Mickey, Minnie and other Disney characters decorating Stumpy — an eight-foot computer generated animatronic tree which kvells out holiday songs and even tells jokes.
The collection is so colossal that it can fill a couple of garages and a basement, said Seddio, who inherited the labor of love from the home’s previous occupants — the Guarinos, owners of the funeral home down the block, who began decorating the house back in 1963, little knowing that their handsome handiwork would ignite a tradition that’s still going strong after more than four decades.
“If you come and look at the faces of the kids watching the display, you’ll see why I’ve been doing this for so long,” said the man of the hour, who will keep the display illuminated each night through the New Year.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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