Review of Ithaca, New York


mixed review
Star Rating - 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.
Red rover | Ithaca, NY | Send Message
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