Muffler Man: Woodstock Hippie
My first thought after buying tickets to see Steve Martin and Martin Short’s variety show in Bethel, New York was that we’d finally get to see the Hippie Muffler Man. Bethel is located about two hours northwest of the city in the Catskills region of New York. In 1969, the Woodstock music festival took place in Bethel—not 60 miles north in Woodstock, NY—on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm.
This Muffler Man stands on Yasgur’s farm, attached to a telephone pole near the road. Before he moved to Bethel, this Bunyan-style fiberglass giant stood outside of a car repair shop in Albany. He held a large muffler, which was replaced by an ax in 1987 when he was sold to a jeep dealership in Monticello. In 1993 he moved to an ice cream shop which turned into a fish market (he then held a large fish, which I would have loved to see). In the late ‘90s, a Woodstock-loving employee gave the Muffler Man his “hippie” look.
This Muffler Man is technically on private property and at times there have been ‘no trespassing’ signs posted, but there’s enough room to pull off the road and snap a few quick photos. He has a tie-dye shirt and patched jeans and no longer holds anything. I remarked that his shirt was a strange attempt at representing tie dye, and then as we were watching Woodstock the Movie on Sunday we noticed that Joe Cocker’s shirt looked awfully familiar…
Hippie Muffler Man
Yasgur Road and 17b,
Bethel, NY 12720