Ingrid Burrington

An artist analyzes the geography of New York Craigslist personal ads

Behold the Missed Connection:

Beautiful Blonde Western Pacific Bank today

“You were walking out as I was entering, not exactly the most conducive atmosphere for starting a conversation but I'm hoping you realized how interested I am in getting to know you.”

This too-late response is the quintessential Missed Connection, the popular Craigslist section that's intended to help people find the attractive strangers they’ve walked past or made distant eyes at or just saw on the bus. It’s the dating equivalent of a shot in the dark.

With upwards of a thousand posts a week in some cities, these missed connections amount to a lot of lonely people. They also amount to a lot of data. And because these people are trying to reconnect with people they physically saw in a specific place, they often include the geographical hints that might help in bringing them together – information like street names, store locations and transit stops.

New York-based artist Ingrid Burrington has been tracking and analyzing Missed Connections in New York for the past few years to tap into this rich data set. From thousands of posts, she’s been able to map a picture of loneliness in the city, identifying hotspots for missed connections. The Village Voice recently interviewed Burrington about her work, and where the most Missed Connections occur.

What's the loneliest place in New York City?

I would say it's Union Square. It's a major train interchange, and most Missed Connections happen on the subway. Also, it's a large public space, and second to subways, Missed Connections tend to happen on street. Whole Foods, also, is a really lonely place.

Burrington has also created a book project documenting Missed Connections, and has exhibited a map detailing types and locations of Missed Connections.

By identifying areas where Missed Connections commonly occur, we can get a more detailed picture of what happens in these places and why people seem to want to connect in them but can’t.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  3. Life

    Can Toyota Turn Its Utopian Ideal Into a 'Real City'?

    The automaker-turned-mobility-company announced last week it wants to build a living, breathing urban laboratory from the ground up in Japan.

  4. Design

    Long Before Levittown, Brooklyn Boasted Mass-Produced Housing

    The small community of Gerritsen Beach was a pioneering cookie-cutter suburb in the 1920s.

  5. Bianca Wylie, a leading voice opposing Sidewalk Labs' dramatic neighborhood development plan in Toronto.
    Life

    Meet the Jane Jacobs of the Smart Cities Age

    All eyes are on Sidewalk Labs' futuristic plans for a data-driven neighborhood in Toronto. But no one's watching more closely than Bianca Wylie.

×