Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Tribute to Michael Jackson

Doll House Celebrates 40 Years on Pelham Parkway

(Photos by David Greene)

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 11- For the Garabedian family of Pelham Parkway, they don't just celebrate Christmas-- they live it.

And now for the 40th-consecutive year they have re-constructed the scene that kind of looks like Hollywood's A-list is celebrating Christmas with Santa Claus in Bethlehem.

Like one of Santa's elves, Gary Garabedian, 49, was recently spotted carrying out of his home some of the life-like manikins that weigh up to 40 pounds and securing them into place with a power drill, before another family member tends to its wardrobe.

Before the statues of Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson are done, a dozen people were outside the home's fence and the available parking spaces in the immediate area were going fast.

Gary Garabeian, 49, later explained, "Every year it's the same theme and every year we keep adding, next year will be Elvis, the Wizard of Oz... we're trying to make it like all of the movie stars came to celebrate Jesus' birth."

In a 2008 New York Times article Garabeian and a family member briefly spoke about a "miracle," or "vision" the family had witnessed in 1973--yet would not reveal.

Garabeian again politely declined the invitation to share their secret, stating, "No we can't reveal that because something special happened to the family and my mother started to do this and we're keeping the tradition going as long as we can, God willing."

Most of the material used to create the 150-plus manikins was trash salvaged from the families fabric business.

When the weather is good, several thousand people will visit in a single night, many tossing dollar bills over the fence. The several thousand dollars raised is later donated to organizations that help children fighting diabetes.

It takes about 37,000 volts to power-up the 50,000-plus lights and displays. After problems in the past, Con Edison regularly visits the home to prevent power failures in the area.

Fact: During the month of December, the families electric bill can run between $1,300 and $1,500.

Myth: Despite it's brightness, the home can't be seen from outer space.

The displays current insurance policy puts its value at between $3 and $4 million dollars. But before any wise-guys get any ideas, the area is under 24-hour video surveillance and it's a regular stop for on and off-duty members of the NYPD.

Weather permitting, the display is on from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. from now until January 6. The home is located at 1605 Pelham Parkway North at Westervelt Avenue in the Pelham Gardens section.

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