Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Spirit on Crack (Otherwise Known as the Garabedian Christmas House)

If you live in the Bronx or have driven through the Bronx during the holiday season, chances are you know about the Garabedian family's home on Pelham Parkway North at Westervelt Avenue (also known as simply "The Christmas House").

Although we've driven past it countless times for years now, yesterday was the first time we actually took a little detour off of the main drag of Pelham Parkway to check it out up close in all its gaudy glory... having a kid makes you do crazy things I guess.

We were so baffled, awed, inspired, confused, and just plain intrigued that we went to visit not once, but twice, yesterday: once during the day and once around 5:30pm when everything was all lit up.

To say that this house is holiday spirit on crack is an understatement. The Garabedian family's home boggles the mind. Mixed in with your traditional nativity scene and copious amounts of corpulent angels (all larger than life itself mind you), are life-sized mannequins all glammed up in Hollywood-style gowns. I'm telling you: these gals look so good I started feeling vaguely bad about my rolled up jeans and seven year old Saucony sneaks...

Did I mention the mannequins move? Well, they do. And did I mention there's also music blaring from the display? And don't forget faux chandeliers - what's a holiday extravaganza without elegant lighting right? There's also a horse-driven carriage from which a Cinderella-inspired mannequin is elegantly exiting.

The Garabedian family is in the dress-making biz, so they do all the mannequins' outfits themselves. They've been setting up this huge display for over 30 years now, as a gift back to their neighbors who did some sort of unnamed good deed for them back in the day. (Although we'd be more than curious to know the true feelings of the residents of this posh little hood, which is known as the Pelham Gardens section of Baychester, regarding the holiday display - it causes severe traffic jams and lots of foot traffic...)

So, in closing, even the most jaded among Bronx residents and beyond should make the Garabedian Christmas house a stop on their holiday travels this Christmas... you won't regret it. An added bonus is the entire surrounding Pelham Gardens neighborhood is chock full of homes decorated to the nines. BoogieDowner tip: Bring a little cash with you. Most visitors end up tossing a donation over the fence, which the Garabedian fam then donates to Immaculate Conception Church.

Stay tuned for the next 12 days leading up to Christmas as BoogieDowner rolls out a new picture of individual elements from the Christmas House each day. This is obviously a reverse play on "The 12 Days of Christmas" which begin Christmas Day and run through the Epiphany. The photos are just too good to show them all at once.

Click here to check out the Christmas House's website.


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