Hippie Muffler Man
Bethel, New York
The "Hippie" Muffler Man grooves near that epicenter of feel-good Flower Power -- Woodstock. Actually, he's nowhere near the town of Woodstock, because the iconic 1969 festival was held here, 60 miles southwest in Bethel, on dairy farmland owned by Max Yasgur. The commemorative marker for the Woodstock Festival is a mile or two east of where you'll find the Muffler Man, who is within sight of the Yasgur family home and barn. He stands anchored to a telephone pole by ropes or cable, sort of low in a depression and behind a mound covered with wild flowers. A "No Trespassing" sign and fence discourage tourists from clambering onto the mound for a better view.
His patchy jeans, tie-dyed heart shirt, and beard, combined with the Yasgur's connection, make him the only Hippie Muffler Man we've encountered. Fading symbol of consumerism and the military-industrial complex? Not this dude.
Before he turned on, tuned in, and dropped out, the Hippie Muffler Man had a series of jobs. In the 1960s, he was a typical Establishment Bunyan, holding a large car muffler labeled "SAFEWAY" in front of an Albany brake and muffler shop. In 1987, the business was liquidated and he was auctioned to a jeep dealership in Monticello, where he held a non-nonviolent ax (The muffler had been sold separately). He changed hands in Monticello, moving in 1993 to an ice cream shop which later became the Eden Brook Fish Market. He held a large fish, and later had his tie-dye makeover, courtesy of a Woodstock-loving employee. In 2003 the Bunyan moved to Bethel, sans fish.