He Bought a Lighthouse
New York magazine|December 20, 2021 - January 02, 2022
Randy Polumbo won the not-so-gently used 1899 Orient Point landmark in a government auction six years ago and turned it into an artists’ retreat.
By Wendy Goodman

MASTER BUILDER and installation artist Randy Polumbo wasn’t exactly looking for a lighthouse, or at least that’s the way he tells it. “I was on a government website late at night looking for decommissioned fuel tanks,” he says. “I was going to make a weird garden out of those tanks. And I clicked on a large cylindrical item for $5,000 and it was the lighthouse.” For most people, none of that makes all that much sense. But for Polumbo, it was the perfect next challenge.

He has never liked the easy or the obvious. His office is in a five-ton vintage Dodge Travco camper that is hoisted in the air inside his 4,000-square-foot Gowanus studio. (It just wouldn’t have been as fun if it had been left on the floor.) So the fact that six years ago he had to pay a sizable sum to get on the bid list for the lighthouse (“They wanted to weed out the tire-kickers”) didn’t give him much pause. And when Polumbo saw it in person, he knew this was a prize that needed to be saved. “It had peeling lead paint, cauliflowers coming out of the plaster, rust, mold, mildew, and a few dead birds and some bird crap, but it definitely was beautiful in that kind of decayed, weird way,” he says. “It was a legit hazmat situation, but it was gorgeous.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NEW YORK MAGAZINEView All

Black Star Meets Again

Can lightning strike twice? How about 24 years later?

5 mins read
New York magazine
May 9-22, 2022

At Patti Ann's, the Kids' Menu Is the Only Menu

Pigs in a blanket and chicken-fried pork chops just like Mom never used to make.

5 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The Group Portrait: Less Tall, Less Male, Still Young

The Paris Review has a new editor, a new staff, and a new vibe.

2 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The Money Game: Scott Galloway

Buy Now. Pay (and Pay, and Pay, and Pay) Later. The bill for the finance hack of the pandemic is coming due-for all of us.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The Best Bagels in the World?

They might be on Long Island.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

Realism Is Not His Deal

Joseph Giovannini turned this Los Angeles loft into an op-art womb. His tenant loves it.

3 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

Park Avenue's Greatest Pipes

Inside the organ at St. Bartholomew's, enveloped in 18th-century surround sound.

3 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

Cruise's Last Stand

Thirty-six years after the original, Top Gun: Maverick eulogizes the actor’s entire career.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The SAD YOUNG LITERARY MAN Is Now a MIDDLE-AGED DAD

KEITH GESSEN wrote a memoir about family life. His wife, EMILY GOULD, is mostly okay with that.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

There Has to Be a Backup Plan.

Inside the 2024 soul-searching that's happening in every corner of the Democratic Party-except the White House.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022
RELATED STORIES

PCR testing at city's Lighthouse Laboratory ends

‘LOCAL RESPONSE TO GLOBAL PANDEMIC' HIGHLY PRAISED

3 mins read
The Herald
April 05, 2022

From an Education Entrepreneur to Building an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has led to the opening up of new avenues in the ways schools deliver learning to their students.

7 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
March 2022

John thanks NHS with his epic cycle ride

VIRTUAL FUNDRAISER FOLLOWS YEARS OF ‘LIFE-SAVING’ CARE

2 mins read
The Herald
February 12, 2022

Covid labs 'cannot cope' with demand for processing tests

COVID laboratories 'cannot cope with the scale of tests being sent through to them, the M.E.N. has been told - as the ability to order any home kits or book PCR appointments was frozen across England.

2 mins read
Manchester Evening News
December 31, 2021

गरीबों के आवास की दिशा में मील का पत्थर साबित होगी 'हलका मकान' परियोजना : योगी

उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ ने शुक्रवार को कहा कि प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी की प्रेरणा से शहरी गरीबों को टिकाऊ और आपदा रोधी आवास उपलब्ध कराने में उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार को सफलता मिली है और इस दिशा में 'हलका मकान' परियोजना मील का पत्थर साबित होगी।

1 min read
Samagya
January 02, 2021

मोदी ने 128 करोड़ लागत के लाइट हॉउस प्रोजेक्ट की रखी आधारशिला

प्रधानमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी ने आज वीडियो कॉन्फ्रेंसिंग के माध्यम से मध्यप्रदेश के इंदौर सहित छह राज्यों के छह स्थानों पर ग्लोबल हाउसिंग टेक्नोलॉजी चैलेंज-इंडिया (जीएचटीसीइंडिया) के तहत हल्के मकान से जुड़ी परियोजनाओं (लाइट हाउस प्रोजेक्ट्स) की आधारशिला रखी।

1 min read
Dakshin Bharat Rashtramat Chennai
January 02, 2021

Back to (socially distanced) church!

It is vital to get back to physical church gatherings, explain two Elim pastors who decided to reopen their doors earlier than most

3 mins read
Direction Magazine
October 2020

Natural WONDERS

Forget travelling the globe to see nature at its most wondrous – the UK is home to a host of bucket-list sights

3 mins read
WOMAN'S WEEKLY
August 18, 2020

Peggy's Point Lighthouse

This iconic beacon draws visitors from around the globe

2 mins read
More of Our Canada
May 2020

Return to The WILD WEST

Ahead of her latestsolo show at Lighthouse Gallery in Penzance, artist Amanda Hoskin returned to find inspiration in a dramatic stretch of the Cornish coast path – a place which holds special significance for her

3 mins read
Cornwall Life
April 2020