The Leather Guy
Vail Mills, New York
It was a sad day in 2006 when The Leather Guy came down. He was a roadside original, sculpted in 1971 with black-rimmed glasses, wide goatee, and sideburns, an exact replica of Steve Alvord, the groovy owner of a leather shop where he stood.
But The Leather Guy was too good to just vanish into leather limbo when Alvord's business shut down. A neighbor, Marty Greco, bought him, gave him plastic (well, fiberglass) surgery, and turned the fringed giant into a hipster Daniel Boone!
Marty wanted a big Boone to advertise his business selling log homes. "Then the housing market took a crash and I struggled," Marty told us. Leather Guy lay prone for four years. Marty got a second job selling potato chips and then, finally, saved enough cash. "The day we put him back up, I had a call within two hours on a log home," Marty said.
The statue is 24 feet tall and weighs 975 pounds -- or maybe less now that Marty has removed its moustache, sideburns, and glasses. "I had to cut 'em off with a saw," Marty said of the muttonchops. "And all those little ripples in the moustache? That was a blue putty. I had to grind that down."
What happened to those awesome black spectacles? The guy who helped Marty erect the statue (and who Marty said was the son of the man who erected the original statue) mounted them on the hood of his truck. But Marty got the glasses back and permanently wired them to one of Boone's hands. "It's an inside joke," Marty said, "for the people who saw him before."