Today, I return to our walk along Tinker Street.
Woodstock Design, a clothing store, is one of those businesses that I rarely visit. This shop sells women’s clothing. I am at a loss as to why anybody would shop in Woodstock for mundane women’s apparel. Several shops sell hippie attire and second hand clothing, but few attempt to sell standard business and every day clothing.
The reason? Kingston’s malls are only a 20 minute drive away, and the malls offer a far superior selection at cheaper prices. I know that, as a good liberal Woodstocker, I’m supposed to bemoan the loss of local shops. What the hell? I shop at Sam’s Club, Macy’s, Penny’s… all of the big stores. Woodstock Design has occupied this store for a few years, so they must be selling something. How? I don’t know.
Woodstock Trading Post. Ditto. Who would actually buy women’s clothing in Woodstock? This store does feature “Woodstock festival memorabilia.” That means posters, T-shirts and coffee mugs. Now, these are items that the day trippers up from New York City might buy.
Pottery has always occupied a special place in the hippie heart. So, Freewheel Pottery, next door, is probably the most authentic Woodstock business of these three shops. One of the great hippie quests was to be freed from “meaningless” corporate jobs so that they could move back into the 19th century and work at something real and productive. Making something with your hands is supposed to fulfill this fantasy. In the hippie philosophy, earning a subsistence wage spinning pots is morally superior to making a decent living working for a corporation.
Over the years, I’ve become almost completely estranged from hippie Woodstock. I like some of the music of the 60s that is identified with the town. But, I have absolutely no sympathy with the back to the earth movement and no interest in living a life of voluntary poverty.
On occasion, somebody will ask me why I continue to live in Woodstock if I don’t buy into the whole hippie/liberal/progressive program. The answer: I own a house out in the woods several miles out of town. I love my house in the forest. Woodstock just happens to be the place where I live.