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Riding Through the Advertising Landscapes of NYC

We set out to explore and document what riders of the R train encounter throughout the cars and stations of the line. The R train travels through three boroughs representing a diverse transect of New York City, including demographically distinct neighborhoods from Flushing to Midtown to Bay Ridge. Since advertisements are updated relatively frequently, our data represents a snapshot in time, with data collection having occurred during late winter of 2022. Our exploration resulted in the creation of a dataset and a collection of photos, which we later examined in detail. In documenting these advertising typologies, we hope to identify larger patterns regarding the relationship between subway advertising and underlying socioeconomic characteristics by neighborhood. Advertisers choose their target demographics carefully. Can we find trends in what is being communicated to whom, and where? What are the irregularities, informal ads, vandalism, and infrapolitical communications? Are they forms of resistance?