Two large, glowing inflatable holiday characters exchange blank stares across Eldridge Pl., near the western border of Leech Circle Park.
Two young men pulled up in an Escalade late Saturday night, jumped out and tackled the 20-foot inflatable snowman smiling on Roger and Sara Grieco's front lawn.
The assailants fled, then returned. They had another go at the snowman, jumping on the gently billowing fabric as its fan tried to upright the besieged victim. This time the commotion drew the attention of Noah Kolbert, 15, whose bedroom faces the Grieco's home across the street. Noah started yelling and the pair disappeared.
"That probably saved our bear," said his father, Steven.
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The Kolberts, who are Jewish, bought the bear over the summer as a friendly answer to the Christmas snowman towering above their neighbors' lawn. Steven's wife, Ana, searched online for over-sized Hanukkah inflatables but had trouble finding a suitable candidate.
"We didn't want it to be dwarfed by their Santa," Steven said.
"He's not a Santa, he's a snowman," Ana corrected. She raised her eyebrows. "Let me tell you, it took me forever to find them."
All the menorahs were too small, so she settled on the 11-foot, dreidel-toting, yarmulke-topped Hanukkah Bear on YardInflatables.com, where it sells for $109.
After it first went up, Roger Grieco gestured his approval from across the street. He bought his for about $150 two years ago at Harrow's in Melville, when his son, Tyler, was born.
"I wanted to get him into Christmas," said Roger, who is Catholic. "He loves it now. His little friends come and take pictures with it."
The Hanukkah Bear was a welcome addition to the festive scene at the corner of Eldridge and Porter Pl., the Griecos said.
"We loved it," said Sara, who is Jewish. She called the bear their snowman's new friend. After the late-night assault - Roger suspects it was perpetrated during a ride home from a local bar - the Griecos enlisted the sewing talent of their nanny to patch a tear in the fabric. The snowman rose again.
Roger now sets the electricity timer to go off at midnight instead of 5 a.m. It's a necessary step he mildly resents having to take.
Sara said she helped provide perspective.
"I said, 'Come on. If you were 18, drunk, going around, what would you have done?' He said, 'Oh I would have tackled it."
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