400 W. Lexington St.
We’ve all heard the creative product names shouted out on The Wire—“WMD,” anybody?—but that poetry seems to come more from David Simon than the streets. Most of the city’s open-air drug markets are isolated from other businesses, and marketing isn’t much of a problem. But at the Lexington Market, the drug trade bumps up against a variety of other retailers and attractions, ranging from the food stands inside to the medieval sci-fi costumes and black-supremacist street-preaching of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge. The diverse crowd surrounding Lexington Market forces the dealers into a whispered poetry of ambiguity: They have to be clearly enticing while maintaining plausible deniability. “Zoom,” we’ve heard several men whisper recently. Zoom? And we swear someone just offered us “Betelguese.” It remains to be seen if the constantly renewed promise to “clean up” and renovate the area will disperse these whispercore poets. But for now, even with the cops around, it’s hard to go far without hearing their idiosyncratic calls. And by the way, for all the same reasons listed above, Lexington Market is not the Best Place to Buy Drugs.