Meet Long Island’s ‘Robot Man’ and his superhero sculptures
He’s nuts — and bolts — for robots.
Curt Gray, a tile contractor living in East Meadow, LI, has become the talk of Nassau County after building four 18-foot, glow-in-the-dark robotic sculptures of comic book greats and displaying them on his front lawn.
“We get between five and 20 people stopping by a day. Kids won’t go to school unless their mom lets them see Batman, up close,” the charismatic 61-year-old told The Post.
In addition to Bruce Wayne, Gray’s big league includes the menacing villain Cyborg Superman — who was exclusively debuted for The Post – along with Wonder Woman and Iron Man in his special “Hulk smasher” suit.
Growing up, Gray was a hyperactive kid who found an outlet for his energy in art class. In adulthood, he took to crafting shelf-sized sculptures of favorite pop culture icons using old toys and household items. Over the decades, the pieces grew and grew, and, during early COVID, he started displaying them in his yard to “uplift spirits” in the neighborhood.
He now uses recycled metals — car grills, parts of Radio Flyer wagons, bases of stand-up basketball hoops, pieces of children’s beds, Razor scooters and various other crafty materials found at yard sales and on the street — to create his robots.
“Whenever I need a specific part for something, it somehow makes its way to me in some way or another,” the comic book lover said. “It’s like I think it into existence.”
While Gray is known for his front yard display, there’s even more happening around back. That’s where he constructs new robots and refurbishes old ones.
He’s currently bringing a robot Frankenstein made from a turkey pot and fence post caps back to life, along with a four-foot-long dog – which Gray’s supportive wife, Anne Marie Labianco insists looks closer to a dinosaur.
Labianco, who works in senior home care, says she fully supports her husband’s art, though it might not be her first choice in home decor.
“I appreciate that we don’t have a cookie cutter home,” she told The Post. “But, of course, it comes with compromise.”
Last year, Gray came frighteningly close to death with a case of bacterial meningitis. As he “flashed from this world to the next,” he says he had a vision for the Iron Man robot currently in his front yard. After recovering, he constructed the piece in just three months, instead of the typical year it takes him for most robots.
“I was so motivated,” he recalled.
He typically spends about $1,000 per sculpture, but says it’s worth every penny.
“I just honestly love making these things. I’ll come home from work and be out in my backyard building until midnight. Once I get it in my head, I can’t stop until it’s complete,” said Gray, who is currently constructing an Optimus Prime. “The fact that so many people love them too just makes it even more special.”
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