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.”
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