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Ithaca, New York SperlingViews

"Cost of living in Ithaca - too high"


Cost of living in Ithaca - too high - 12/2/2008
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Terry
Ithaca, NY

Ithaca is a great place to live and raise a child, but if you want to live within the city limits plan on spending a lot of money on housing/taxes etc.

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Red rover
Ithaca, NY

mixed review - 9/5/2013

I moved to Ithaca from the southeastern US to escape red America at the height of the Bush era, both to find a community where I felt more at home and to find a good place for public education for my children. The schools are good and I have no complaints about them. The educational climate is conducive to learning and there are many opportunities for school children to be involve in a humane and inclusive school community. The downsides for me include a high cost of living - housing and other costs are significantly higher here and taxes related to owning a home are just amazing. I estimate that the property and school taxes I pay are similar to the monthly cost of a 30-year mortgage on a house of similar value to mine. New york has passed a law that limits the growth of property taxes and proudly announces it on their ads for the state, but they don't tell you that the taxes already are about 3000 dollars per hundred thousand (per year!), or that many municipalities (Ithaca included) vote to go beyond the 2% increase per year allowed by law. The social culture for adults in Ithaca is no warmer than the weather. I attribute this to the culture of the Ivy League university that resides in Ithaca and the many transplants it attracts, and maybe a regional difference in what southerners would call "hospitality." When I moved here I took a job in a city that is a commute from Ithaca, wrongly assuming that I would find employment in Ithaca eventually (I am a professional with a terminal degree). I have found that while I might be able to find a job here, the wages are low enough in Ithaca that if I left my current employment for a job in Ithaca, I would not be able to afford to live here. I love the outdoors here and actually prefer the 200 cloudy days we have here every year. The state parks are beautiful. There is excellent public transportation and restaurants are plentiful and varied for such a small city. The infrastructure, on the other hand, is inadequate probably due to hosting 35,000 students that aren't part of the tax-base. While taxes are high, roads are marginal and can't move the traffic efficiently. Can you imagine traffic jams in a city of 30,000? We have them. The deer population is very high -- it is really difficult to grow a garden or even shrubbery unless you choose plants the deer prefer not to eat. Driving is hazardous due to deer jumping in front of moving vehicles on winding roads that are often wet with rain or snow(I have wrecked 2 cars on deer since 2007). Even so, the local politics makes it impossible to agree on culling the deer, or to carry out culling once it is passed by the populace. I came here seeking a haven for political liberals, but find that by local standards I might not fit the description.[read more...]


Bill
Freeville, NY

Gas drilling in Marcellus Shale - 2/1/2010

Many residents are worried that prospective drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale (which underlies Ithaca and much of the rest of New York west of Albany) will damage the environment and make living in the area much less appealing. Other residents believe that the economic benefits will outweigh the negatives. At present drilling in the Marcellus Shale is prohibited until the state completes a study of the process, and the governor makes a decision regarding when, and how, to allow it.[read more...]


jason
Ithaca, NY

Beauty of Ithaca - 1/12/2010

Rolling hills, numerous waterfalls and gorges make this town great for the soul[read more...]


Emma
Ithaca, NY

Don't move to Ithaca! - 12/26/2009

Ithaca is an awful place to live! I moved here from Virginia to go to Cornell and regret coming! The university is nice, but the town is horrible! The local people are really strange and downtown area looks really run down. Also, the weather is unbearable, especially in winter. The sun never shines, it snows daily, and rarely gets above 20 degrees. I can't wait until graduation! I don't recommend the area at all.[read more...]


Dawn
Louisville, KY

Couldn't Wait to Leave! - 11/4/2009

I lived there for 28 years and it was about 20 years too long. We moved in 2001 and I was so happy. I hated the weather - the cloudiness and the LONG winters that start in October and sometimes end by April - the end of April that is. It's so cold. We moved south and I love it! I do not miss Ithaca at all!!! It's in the middle of nowhere and it takes so much time to get anywhere! I do however miss access to NYC. It took a little over 3 hours driving and there were always flights daily. NYC is a place I love and really do miss but Ithaca and surrounding areas - forget it. [read more...]


Mike
Ithaca, NY

All-Around Great Quality of Life - 7/13/2009

Ithaca, New York has a wonderful quality of life. The city has many of the cultural trappings of a major city, such as a plethora of restaurants, professional theatre troupes, museums, arthouse cinema, and a major university. It also has much of the charm of a small town. While hilly, it's a bicycle-friendly city with an excellent public transit system. The city is small enough that a bicycle is a viable primary mode of transportation. With a large lake, forests, extensive hiking trails, and three state parks within a fifteen-minute drive, Ithaca is an outdoors enthusiast's dream. All-in-all, Ithaca NY is a great place to live.[read more...]


Abhd
Ithaca, NY

Educated, conscious living - 5/26/2009

Ithaca is gorges[read more...]


Mason
Amherst, MA

Wonderful place to live - 4/6/2009

It's true, the weather is less than ideal. But if a lot of weather doesn't bother you, Ithaca is a unique and beautiful town. As a college town, hosting Ithaca College and Cornell University, it is culturally far more urban and cultured than most towns its size. Small business that know how to address the local market can thrive here, despite the small city growth rate. People take personal freedom, the environment and education very seriously here, which means of course that Ithaca is liberal politically and quite socially conscious. It is blessed with beautiful natural features, especially Cayuga Lake and many stunning waterfalls. Near Ithaca you can enjoy farmland, woods, and vineyards, since this is also Finger Lakes wine country. Crusty conservatives might not agree, but Ithaca is a great place to live and raise children if your values are so inclined.[read more...]


Gabe
Brooktondale, NY

outdoors - 1/24/2009

Ithaca really is gorges. Beautiful place for winter activities, camping, kayaking, swimming, running, hiking. Beautiful.[read more...]


Terry
Ithaca, NY

Cost of living in Ithaca - too high - 12/2/2008

Ithaca is a great place to live and raise a child, but if you want to live within the city limits plan on spending a lot of money on housing/taxes etc.[read more...]


Mary
Ithaca, NY

Ithaca - 9/29/2008

Lovin' it[read more...]


Alice
Ithaca, NY

Quality of life...poor. - 6/23/2008

Don't believe the safety, the crime reports, the business reports. It is in the middle of no where. Socialistic. Many homeless. The pretty gorges not worth the trade off. Poor qualiy or life. Hide faults.[read more...]


Alice
Ithaca, NY

Not how it appears online. - 6/23/2008

Many people disappointed in moving here, especially if starting a business. Very closed minded, socialistic environment. Not happy with hard working individuals trying to make a living. Happier with poor people. Would like NY to be annexed to Canada...embarrassed about their country and their policies. Much more crime than ever reported. High School has vast racial issues. So leftist, socialistic, that no one can make any decisions about anything. If you are thinking about moving here, visit for at least a week first. Check out The Commons, their "vibrant" downtown, which they do nothing to help. If starting a business, be sure to notice the fact that noone goes downtown, but drunks, beggers and the homeless. There isn't any free parking...meters, garages. The list goes on. It is really sad. I hope that you don't get caught in the same trap that I got caught in. Oh, so beautiful. If you want beauty or a family environment, go to the real upstate NY. Go to the Adirondacks. Ithaca is not a welcoming place, unless you are a communist. If you are middle of the road or a republican, you will not be happy here. Trust me. Again, tons more crime than reported.[read more...]


Alice
Ithaca, NY

Not how it appears online. - 6/23/2008

Many people disappointed in moving here, especially if starting a business. Very closed minded, socialistic environment. Not happy with hard working individuals trying to make a living. Happier with poor people. Would like NY to be annexed to Canada...embarrassed about their country and their policies. Much more crime than ever reported. High School has vast racial issues. So leftist, socialistic, that no one can make any decisions about anything. If you are thinking about moving here, visit for at least a week first. Check out The Commons, their "vibrant" downtown, which they do nothing to help. If starting a business, be sure to notice the fact that noone goes downtown, but drunks, beggers and the homeless. There isn't any free parking...meters, garages. The list goes on. It is really sad. I hope that you don't get caught in the same trap that I got caught in. Oh, so beautiful. If you want beauty or a family environment, go to the real upstate NY. Go to the Adirondacks. Ithaca is not a welcoming place, unless you are a communist. If you are middle of the road or a republican, you will not be happy here. Trust me. Again, tons more crime than reported.[read more...]


Teri
Ithaca, NY

Jobs - 3/9/2008

Finding a job in Ithaca is close to impossible. Although this is a national problem, it has been a problem in Ithaca for years.[read more...]


Nancy
Ithaca, NY

Acts of Racism and Discrimination allegations are - 1/12/2008

This is by far the most racist place I've ever lived... Both Cornell and the Ithaca School District are constantly being sued for their non-liberal behavior-This is definitely not a place for Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, Mixed Race families (w/adoptees)etc. Dont put yourself in harms way here... Call the Human Rights Office and get the statistics for yourselves![read more...]


chris
Groton, NY

New to NY - 12/11/2007

I have recently relocated from Cadillac, Michigan to Ithaca, New York. I'm really excited to learn more about the area. I've been here two months. The climate is very similar. Obviously, with Cornell U. and Ithaca College being in my back yard, there is a huge opportunity for culture here that I didn't have in northern Michigan.[read more...]


Rick
Carlsbad, CA

Recent trip to Ithaca - 12/8/2007

Traveled to Ithaca over the Thanksgiving holiday to relive the sights and sounds after a ten year hiatus. I haven't been to Ithaca in ten years since my graduation from college. Ithaca has certainly changed, in some ways for the better and in some ways not. Driving through the residential streets of south hill, it becomes apparent that nothing has really changed. The houses still look the same for the most part and in some cases much worse vs ten years earlier. The roads are much worse. I'm not sure if the City of Ithaca has paved a road in ten years or so. The Commons aka the "main drag" is virtually unchanged except for some new businesses and restaurants. Ithaca is still its old hippy self and very "green". The Commons certainly does draw some interesting looking characters but you can find such people in almost any city or village. People here really care about the environment and especially what kind of food they put into their bodies. It was very cold as I strolled through the commons, a balmy 29 F degrees BUT sunny! Ithaca has many wonderful restaurants and coffee houses to choose from. Unfortunately, since my last visit Starbucks has moved into the downtown area. According to the locals, Starbucks was banned for as long as possible until Cornell overpowered the local activists. Speaking of Cornell, Cornell is the powerhouse of Ithaca. Cornell is the largest employer in Tompkins county. Between Cornell University and Ithaca College, Ithaca draws and maintains many intellectuals on all levels. Don't be surprised if your local barrista has a masters or PhD to boot. A new high rise hotel has sprung up since my last visit. It looks like a 9 or ten story Hilton Garden Inn. The housing market has remained steady even over the course of the recent market downturn. Ithaca has about 30,000 residents but adds another 30,000 people or so during the school year. Ithaca has very good schools-education is a darling of the city. The schools on all levels are excellent. The outdoor culture is amazing. There is plenty of activities to do in the great outdoors. Ithaca is known for its gorges and waterfalls. Ithaca also is home to many beautiful state parks. If you like wine tasting be sure to visit the local wineries, especially as you drive north along Lake Cayuga. Just name the activity and you can do it or find it in Ithaca such as mountain biking, 4-Wheeling, skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, swimming, biking and hiking just to name a few. If you're considering moving to Ithaca, NY just be aware of the cost of living. Buying a home is not too expensive, but maintaining it can be more so. The property taxes are very very high(2.8-3.8% avg) and sales taxes are 8.25%. Welcome to NY. Heating Oil costs can also add to your monhtly bills during the harsh winter months. If you like snow, wind and cold this is your place. You will get plenty of it during the long winter months. If you want more snow you can travel north and east to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. The summer and fall months are so splendid to say the least. The weather is beautiful from May to October. [read more...]


Rob
Cortland, NY

Yes its a paradise - 8/29/2007

Finding a place to live is virtually impossible if you aren't loaded to the gills with money! Rent is out of this world and buying a home is out of this universe. However if you have a good 1000 to blow per month on rent and dont mind that then its the town for you. The county is very poverty loaded. Jobs are few and far between unless your a teacher or medical professional. It is well known to be a haven for the Hippy type however they must be yuppie hippies since a real hippy couldnt afford to live here. Its also a well know haven for upstate gay people they have domestic partnerships. They dont list the crime rate for the city here but it seems to me to be a high one compared to nearby towns. [read more...]


Benjamin
Ithaca, NY

Attractive and Inviting - 8/15/2007

I moved to Ithaca from another part of upstate New York. The community has a strong college town vibe, since it is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, each on opposite sides of the city. Ithaca itself is really quite an interesting place. It's tucked away in the hills- the nearest interstate is 25 miles away, and the nearest major city is 60 miles (Syracuse). Weatherwise, the summers are warm to hot, but fairly pleasant, and fall and spring are mild. Winter is definitely a test for those from warmer or sunnier climes. Being on a lake, and close to the Great Lakes, Ithaca is often walloped by clouds and snow, and temperatures only average a high in the 30s in winter. If you can handle the clouds in the cooler months, and the rather gloomy winter, then you should be fine. The gorges and waterfalls are stunning, and there's quite a bit of natural beauty to the area. The people of Ithaca are an odd bunch. You'll find hippies on the Commons, a Buddhist monastery being built on the outskirts of town (the Dalai Lama has visited a few times), intellectuals and college students near the campuses, and traditional upstate conservatives in the suburbs and rural towns nearby. An ecclectic mix by any means, but people still tend to place a lot of pride in the community and in the region. I've never had a problem with shopping personally. Big box retailers (Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Kohl's to name a few) can be found on the flats in the southern part of the city or the northern suburbs, and mom-and-pop stores and small shops are abound in downtown. The result is a fairly healthy mix of local character and afforadable national chains. The economy is primarily colleges and tourism, with some high-tech businesses and traditional manufacturers mixed in. The area used to have several large factories, but as unfortunate luck would have it, they shipped out (one of the largest employers made typewriters---the computer age shut them down). Although the economy is growing, it is slow growth, the area is still small in population, and high-paying jobs can be tough to come by. Affordable housing can be hard to find in some parts of town too. I have never been to the ICSD (Ithaca City School district). but with education being such a major facet of the economy, you can bet it has high standards. It's on Newsweek's lists of top schools year after year, if that suggests anything. Healthcare (Ithaca is served by Cayuga Medical Center) is pretty decent. [read more...]


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