I’m not really sure how to close out my time in Ithaca. I’ve really let myself settle into this house on Hudson Street, more than I’ve let myself get comfortable in many years. If I’d had expectations — I generally avoid expectations — my last year in Ithaca (for now, of course) would not have been what I expected. A central theme of this year was finding people, places, and experiences that had been just out of reach for a while. Much of what I found was even within myself.
I am not particularly sentimental, but I strongly believe in the value of ritual. For that reason, I will use the millennial-sanctioned ritual of the listicle piece as I mull over my time here, especially the time from August 2016 to today.
Here are 17 things I will miss about (my experience living in) Ithaca:
- Sidewalks. Now, many of the things I’ll miss are based on my specific past. I’m from a small town. We do not have sidewalks. If we did have sidewalks, there would be nowhere to walk, and gaps of miles. For the past year, I have lived in a house that opens onto a sidewalk. I do not take this for granted. I hope to continue to have sidewalks in my life. Walking places is the best.
- Fellow vegetarians. There are almost always “vegetarian options” in Ithaca — on campus, at people’s houses, in grocery stores and restaurants. I don’t like to go around saying I’m a vegetarian, but there’s almost always a more vocal vegetarian who takes one for the team (without, of course, knowing I think we’re on a vegetarian team together.) Shout out to all the other vegetarians for making #vegetarianculture possible!
- Mental health resources. For a relatively tiny city, Ithaca has a relatively substantial amount of mental health resources. One of these specifically has changed my entire life. Different groups, agencies, clinics, therapists, social workers, and other wonderful groups and professionals have done the same for many other friends and acquaintances. Thank you.
- The puppies and babies. If you are walking downtown, it seems that almost everyone has a puppy or a baby. Some people have BOTH. I want to cry pretty much every time this happens.
- ~Nature~. Ithaca is so beautiful and I will miss all the dams and the trees and the flowing water! They have trees where I’m from but it’s not the same.
- Outdoorsiness. Living here has definitely brought out my own desire to spend more time outdoors (which I’ve always enjoyed a lot, but not as much) because it’s so much a part of the culture.
- People sitting still. In most cities, people are always moving. Even if they’re, like, sitting on a bench reading a book, they’re also eating two sandwiches and sending emails. Here people, like, sit. They read books. They read each page so slowly, probably, that the words bore into their minds. I like that environment.
The ability to have favorite places. There are so many places to get lunch or sandwiches or coffee or pizza that you can be like, “My favorite place is…” or “My friends and I go to…” This means that there’s more than one place, which is very exciting if you are from a town with little to no places, and it’s also good for capitalism.
- Many tattoos on humans and many places to get them. (See above in re: many choices.) There are three tattoo parlors on one block and another around the corner. That’s incredible.
- Love for independent media. This includes WRFI, Ithaca College’s Buzzsaw magazine (I’m biased on that), and the Park Foundation’s tireless support of these resources.
- The TCAT, which is the public bus system. Everyone loves to hate the TCAT, but it got me to so many interesting places and opportunities off campus back in the day. Go TCAT!
- The pedestrian bridge on Giles.
- The playground off of the South Hill Recreation Trail.
- An excellent public library. (Where I’ve also met many of my favorite Ithakids*!) (*Ithakid: a child of Ithaca.)
- The beautiful perfect infant and toddler I got to watch grow (and help with the growing a little even) for the past ten months as their babysitter.
- So many of the people of this town, those temporarily or permanently residing. It’s bullshit to say I like “the people.” But I’ve met some good ones here.
- The guy in the red shirt singing “Piano Man” at Thursday karaoke.