He suggested I call the coke dealer he says taught the Lower East Side set how to “cook”: that is, how to turn a bag of blow into a crack rock. The Chef’s clean-cut, L.A. born and raised. He spent three years milking the LES.
By early ’07, crack had begun its inevitable decline in the fickle world of fashionable downtown New York. (Some people didn’t get the memo; the original Crack Dork Amy Winehouse fixed that.) But in the days when Ms. Moss and Mr. Snow were doing the twist at his Tribeca studio, it wasn’t uncommon for the Chef to teach 10 or more “rich kids” how to cook, in a week. Lots of these youngsters didn’t have the dedication, patience or mental fortitude to create “the miracle of life;” they preferred to pay for the goods and the show. “I was known as the best chef around, so people would call me just to get me to come over and cook,” he told me. “But yeah, obviously, most of these kids were in it to be cool or whatever, lightweights. Except for those who weren’t, who eventually fell off.” It was usually dudes, but then there would be girls with the dudes and then sometimes the girls would start calling. The Chef feels pretty bad about what he did, says he saw a lot of good kids go bonkers, wind up in jail or the nuthouse. He may or may not still be in the game, but it’s been years since he trained any new chefs. He made a vow.
I pulled a big art book, Nest, from a nearby shelf: a beautifully bound volume documenting Mr. Snow and Dan Colen, the kings of the New New York School artist crew, creating one of their famous hamster nest experiences in an empty apartment. Here a photo of a naked pregnant babe teetering on top of a ladder, shreds of paper floating all around her; there a mangy red-eyed maniac grinning as he tinkles on the rising tide of paper and pillow stuffing. Ten pages of Nest is enough to make a man lunge for the crack pipe, or sledgehammer, whichever’s handy.
The Last Crack Hipster pushed an extra thumbtack into the blanket covering his window. He was getting the wah, wah, wahs. Basically, your adrenal glands are pumping and your fight-or-flight instinct kicks in and you become naturally fearful, maybe toward the police because of the drug’s illegality.
All of this is ending, donzo: Last week A-ron hosted a bring your own homemade ’zine party, open to anyone with a glue stick and a Kinko’s card. We’re on the cusp of something new. The Last Crack Hipster can feel it in his bones. These kids are coming up and technology is going to drive them hard. Insane. Everything that you do is just going to be out there. Look at Twitter: “I’m eating dessert.”
The Last Crack Hipster finishes tacking the blanket in front of his window. Then he sits down, leans forward and lights his lighter. With a candle. No clicking noise, see?