In the urban core, especially Jersey City, if you’re looking to score drugs, you look up, not down, and when you see this hanging above you:
You know you’ve arrived at a Dealer’s corner.
“Shoes on a Wire” is a well-known street semiotic that drugs are nearby and available for purchase. In New York City there is a special sort of whistling Dealers use to communicate with each other and with their buyers.
Sometimes the whistling is a warning the police are nearby and other times it is used to push people away from claimed turf. In special instances the whistling calls in backup. I haven’t figured out the exact meaning and replication of the sounds yet but it is a fascinating phenomenon for further investigation.
Are there other urban semiotics that indicate drugs, or other illegal underground commerce, is available? If so, what are they?