Lights off for Greeby Street

One Tacony block’s tradition of over-the-top Christmas decorations is set to come to an end after nearly 20 years.

TIMES FILE PHOTO

Visitphilly.com, the city’s official tourism site, recently published a list of the best places to see Christmas lights, and Greeby Street in Tacony was among the selections.

Any visitors who make the trip to the 4200 block of Greeby Street this holiday season are likely to be disappointed.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, residents of the street will not be turning their homes into a winter wonderland, organizers announced last week on Facebook.

Some houses will still be decorated, Mark Stabler told the Times, but it will not be like previous years, when the block looked like it had been outfitted by Clark Griswold.

“It mainly comes down to lack of help. I mean, it takes a lot of time getting this stuff up,” said Stabler, 48, the mastermind behind the annual Greeby Street tradition. “I just don’t have the time to do it all myself.” 

Stabler said some residents on the block who were involved have moved away, and the cost for lights has steadily increased. There are also more rental homes on the street than there used to be, he said.

The Facebook post elicited a strong response. Almost all were disappointed, and some vowed to trek down to Greeby Street anyway, since it has become a holiday practice for many families in the Northeast and beyond.

“It breaks my heart that I can’t get it done,” Stabler said.

There is a chance it could be saved, but only if a local store helps with the lights or people chip in to decorate, Stabler added. Otherwise, it will be so long, farewell to Greeby Street Christmas. ••