The Faustian Bargain of The LES Hipster

One of the more interesting autochthonic New York species is trustafarian skate rat. You know him from shops like Supreme where he congregates on the pavement in groups of five or six. Feet tucked into a pair of marshmallow-like collector Nikes, scrawny arms swimming in the sleeves of a $90 t-shirt. Perhaps best in show in this category is Aaron "A-Ron: The Downtown Don" Bondaroff, the original 30-year-old LES hipster. But the lot of Bondaroff isn't an easy one. Bondaroff used to be a cool for hire. As new clubs were popping up in the LES, they'd call A-Ron to lend his credibility to the venture. Like Robert Johnson, he sold his soul, traded his street cred for drink tickets and now he wants both back. As the Post's Maureen Callahan notes, it may be too late for all that now.

Serge Becker - owner of downtown faux-speakeasy La Esquina, and consultant to new-ish Lower East Side clubs 205 (gritty) and The Box (glam) - was looking for cred, he called A-Ron. Originally, A-Ron was hired as 205's "creative director," which basically meant that he and his friends would make it their new hangout, hopefully attracting spillover crowds from The Box and bridge-and-tunnelers looking for an "authentic" Lower East Side experience.
Sadly for A-Ron and other fuzzy mascots of the downtown experience like him, they sold their product. In case you haven't noticed, the LES has more clubs than Tiger Woods and considerably less charm.

Soon, the article explains, A-Ron and his buddies were locked out of the very clubs they helped make cool. Who supplanted them? Were they even cooler, more indie? How heavy their gold chain, how mint their kicks? Not very, it turns out.

"The Lower East Side is the real deal - it's not pretentious," says R Bar patron Doug ("they call me 'the Bus' ") Corbus, 24. "And there's lots of tail."

"Whores!" corrects his pal Bobby Reynolds. "Whores!"

"I work in advertising in Midtown," Corbus explains. "This is, like, real New York," he says.

"Midtown has too many JAPpy girls," says Reynolds.

"It's maybe not cooler, but it's more raw," says Corbus. "People here will order a drink that no one's drinking instead of what's popular, or wear clothes that are the hip s—-."

For now A-Ron is left out in the rain, on the wrong side of the velvet ropes. His silk screened shirt has bled onto his aging skin and a passing car service belched sludge water on his shoes as it lets out the midtown hordes he himself invited.

Lower East Slide [NYP]