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I've been admitted to the PhD program at Cornell (I think I posted here already actually) and there is a pretty good chance that I'll go there. I would like to live on campus my first year, and I want to try to live in a building that's close to the building that I'll really be living in (i.e. the building that my department and probable advisors are in, i.e. Upson Hall which I believe is in the southeast corner of campus in/near the engineering quad). I would like to have one roommate (i.e. no rooms alone and preferably no four or more person dwellings), and I would like the downtown and commons areas to be as easily accessible to me as possible.

What kind of housing on campus fits my description the best?

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I've been admitted to the PhD program at Cornell (I think I posted here already actually) and there is a pretty good chance that I'll go there. I would like to live on campus my first year, and I want to try to live in a building that's close to the building that I'll really be living in (i.e. the building that my department and probable advisors are in, i.e. Upson Hall which I believe is in the southeast corner of campus in/near the engineering quad). I would like to have one roommate (i.e. no rooms alone and preferably no four or more person dwellings), and I would like the downtown and commons areas to be as easily accessible to me as possible.

What kind of housing on campus fits my description the best?

That's a tall order!

As you said, your office will be on the south edge of campus. Looking at the grad housing guide, you would have 3 Cornell (but not really on-campus) living options: Hasbrouck, Thurston Court and Maplewood Park.

Maplewood Park is southeast from campus, kind of in the Belle Sherman neighborhood. It's up a slight hill, a 5+ minute walk from the center of Collegetown, 15 from Upson, and 20-25 from downtown (but downtown is VERY downhill - you could take the bus up/down the worst part of the hill). You'd also be about a 5-10 minute walk from East Hill, where there are banks, grocery stores, a bakery, and a CVS. You'd also be pretty near one of the best kept bakery secrets in town. It's also a great neighborhood for running, if you're into that. There are no convenient bus routes to campus, though. You could walk the 10 minutes to East Hill to catch the 2 or 3 times an hour bus, or just walk to campus. It would be a good location for getting to/from Collegetown restaurants and bars. It's about a block farther than most undergrads live, so it would be quiet, but still quite walkable to campus, collegetown, basic stores, and bus routes to everywhere else.

Thurston Court is on north campus, probably 20 minutes walk from Upson, with Upson being down a mild incline. You could try to crowd on the morning buses (every 5-10 minutes) with the freshmen, but it is unpleasant. You'd be pretty stranded as far as Collegetown/downtown for walking (20+ minutes to Ctown, more for downtown), but you could take the bus every 10ish minutes during weekdays, 30 minutes weekday evenings, and 15-30 minutes on the weekends. You could also take the bus every 15-30 minutes to the mall area, where there's a Target, couple grocery stores, a bunch of banks, chain restaurants, and mall stores. It's about 15 minutes to downtown via bus, and 15 minutes to the mall area via bus (in the other direction). You'd probably have to rely on the bus for a lot of your transportation, rather than being able to walk everywhere (in the winter, at least!), but on the weekends it runs to/from downtown and Ctown every half hour until 2am. You'd be surrounded by undergrads, though, and mostly younger undergrads. You'd probably hear the frat party caravans from Wednesday-Saturday night.

Hasbrouck is north of north campus, north of the freshman dorms, and quite uphill from campus/Collegetown. You wouldn't necessarily hear them, but you'd have to walk through the hordes/take the bus with them on weekend nights. It would be a 20+ minute walk to Upson, 25 to Collegetown, and downtown would be effectively unwalkable. There would be good bus service to campus every 15 minutes right from Hasbrouck during weekdays, but only from 7 am to 6:15 pm. If you walk 3 minutes across the street to a parking lot, you'd have similar service to campus, but every 5-10 minutes. You'd have to transfer to another bus on campus, or walk 5-10 minutes to the twice hourly mall-downtown route to get anywhere else. Nights/weekends you'd be able to take the mall-downtown bus to collegetown/downtown (same route as mall, in opposite direction). Without a car, you'd be very dependent on the buses, and potentially very isolated. It's far, far away from the areas where the majority of grad students live (downtown and Fall Creek). I also see lots of families with babies coming from/going to Hasbrouck - it might be unpleasant to have a crying infant next door. I would say it's the least appealing option, at least by my standards.

I think Maplewood Park could be a very excellent place for you. It's nearest to Upson, and easy to walk lots of places. Living in Hasbrouck could end up being very time-consuming and isolating. None of these locations are actually ON campus, though, although they are Cornell owned. Good luck!

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Yeah, out of those three Maplewood Park seems the most convenient. I don't know, I guess living in a private apartment off campus would still be fine as long as I had a roommate like I said. I also think I mistyped at one point -- I think Upson Hall is in the southwest part of campus -- but judging from your post you know where it is anyway :)

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It's interesting how people can go through the same experience and get such different things out of it. On my Cornell visitation weekend, a lot of prospective students were turned off by the size of Ithaca, and say they would feel isolated and have nothing to do. But I loved it, Ithaca reminds me of my hometown a lot, size-wise and with its downtown areas. And for a smaller city, there seems to be tons of different types of restaurants and such, and there are still convenient grocery stores and other shopping stuff.

I asked the grad students in my program what they thought about housing, and most of them recommended living off campus, and I am still shocked that a majority of the first years show up for TA training in July without housing set up, and often find housing together with other first years in the program. I'm going to have to really think about what I want to do, because I like the idea of living with other first years in my department, since we would all be going through the same thing, but I don't know if I can stand to wait until that last minute! It was hard though, people were still so unsure as to where they were going that I didn't meet anyone this weekend who was set in their choice, and that I thought I would want to live with. Oh well, I have a lot of thinking to do about the housing dilemma!

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Hi all

I have been admitted to PhD Computer Science and from the discussion i inferred that Maplewood Park would be the best place to stay.

I am an international Student and i will be arriving ithaca not before 2nd week of August or so (Graduate registration is on 23rd as per annual calender)

Is that too late to start searching for the apartment? if so what is the possible solution for candidates like me?

What would be a better option oncampus Or offcampus housing?

Does anybody knows about the offcampus rents ?

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Hi all,

I'm a current Cornell Grad student and I am leaving my beautiful house next year. There will be two bedrooms opening up in this four-bedroom house, and it's an amazing steal for the quality and the location.

We have two living rooms, a huge kitchen, fully equipped with all of the appliances you could want and with a dishwasher, basement with washer/dryer and lots of storage space, a dining room, a small porch and a big, lovely patio out back overlooking a gorge with a grill-- perfect for summer/fall parties. Everything is fully furnished and the rent is a very low $485/month. The house is ery close to the downtown area but you can also walk to campus.

http://ithaca.craigslist.org/apa/1644158022.html

Please PM me if you have any questions.

and no, don't do University housing!! it sucks and it's really too far away from anything social, from campus, and it's overpriced and dingy. dont' do it!!

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I was wondering about apartment buildings. Yes, renting a home would be ideal. But just in case, are there any apartment buildings off-campus that anyone would recommend? Any near Fall Creek? Red Bomber seems to post their apartments all over the place. Are they any good? Are there better?

Thanks!

Edit: I should figure out sentence structure someday... :-)

Edited by matcha

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Ok, I just deleted my post, BOO! Google and its silly sensitivity to double return/double control... grrr....

I'm pretty sure Red Bomber is just recycling other landlords' listings. What I've seen them advertise are mostly apartments in complexes in hard to reach places with wall-to-wall carpeting.

Most complexes in general seem kind of unimpressive, and are in hard to reach places. They also cost a lot more than a comparably sized apartment in a house that will almost certainly have better access to campus and/or transportation. I've also heard bad things about the structural soundness (!) of complexes from a colleague, including one that was filled with mold and another that was slowly sinking into the ground because of irresponsible zoning on the outskirts of town (where complexes necessarily tend to be built). Come to think of it, the few people I know who lived in complexes - even reputable ones! - eventually moved out because they could find places in better locations for less money by living in an apartment in a house.

Be VERY wary of landlords who claim to be "on the bus route"!!! The buses are really inefficient in most parts of town. "On the bus route" often means a bus every 30-60 minutes during regular business hours - with little to no service after 6ish pm or on the weekends. Many of the buses don't actually go to useful places, either, so getting to, say, a grocery store could take over an hour even if you're "on the bus route". You could make it work with a car, but parking on campus also costs $600+ per year, and you still need to take a bus from the parking lot to many areas of campus.

Unless an apartment is downtown or in Fall Creek, being on a bus route is kind of meaningless. Downtown/Fall Creek means "generally near the Commons", which is where the major bus stops are. Yet even with downtown, you could still have quite a walk to the bus. Definitely google the distance from prospective apartments to the big commons bus stop(s): Seneca and Tioga, and Green and Cayuga.

You may have misinterpreted what others said on this thread about houses. Renting a home may work if you have enough people. But you really want to rent an apartment IN a house. Most houses in the Fall Creek/Downtown area have 3-5 apartments. Most landlords in those areas only have a few properties, and tend to be clueless but eager to make you happy. Really, the more properties someone owns, the less you should trust what they tell you about their apartments.

In general, though, apartments in houses downtown/Fall Creek tend to be charming, with lots of hardwood and original windows, mostly grad students and young professionals, close to everything, parking with the property or easily and safely on the street, lots of porches and yards, etc. Laundry can be a pain; many houses don't have it. But there are several strategically placed laundromats which make this completely tolerable.

There also seem to be some nice apartments in buildings on the Commons (part of downtown), over restaurants and stores. They're more expensive, but there's something to be said for being 500 feet from 15 restaurants, 5 bars and the biggest bus stop in town.

I've retyped all this too many times in the last month - look at my post here for some searching strategies:

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I understand how you must feel...I just moved to Ithaca a month ago from NYC. It's ok, there is a fair amount to do. Lots of bars, art galleries, restraunts, and music venues. The weather and scenery is really nice during the summer, fall, and spring. Winter is terrible, but they clean the roads really well. I am sure you will be occupied with school work anyway.

Being that I have only been here for a month I still have not burned out all the local resources, so I guess ask me then -lol. Also, I am fortunate because my fiance is here going to school as well.

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I've scoured this forum for answers to this and found a few, but I wanted to ask again and get some fresh opinions.

If I plan on living in the Fall Creek area... (close enough to the main bus stops), do you think it's necessary to have a car? I can't imagine why I would need one with the bus system there. But I have a friend who attended Cornell as an undergrad and said it's definitely a very good nice-to-have. I just don't want to deal with the hassle of bringing my car if it's just going to sit there most of the time. If the bus can get me to Wegman's, campus, and the farmer's market... honestly what else do I need? Also if I ever need to go to NYC, I'd rather take the bus instead of drive anyway.

If any of you can think of compelling reasons why I'd need a car... please do share. Much appreciated.

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Well, I've lived in Ithaca for 6.5 years without a car. But I'm getting one before I start grad school here in the fall.

Why?

- It's hard to get to where my family/friends live from Ithaca via bus and plane, but very easy via car. I have seen my family less than once a year for the past five years, and now that I'm going back to a student schedule, I want to be able to get out of town during breaks.

- The buses do go to grocery stores, but I cook a LOT at home, and I can't manage carrying everything home on the bus. I've tried. They have improved the lines to Wegman's lately, which is nice. There is also more weekend access to the mall area, where there is a Tops grocery store, too.

- I'm frankly just tired of standing around waiting for buses after years and years of relying on them. I want to feel like I'm moving forward with my life by going to grad school, and having more freedom over my schedule (=not planning around bus schedules) is something that I've realized is important to me. Waiting for buses is a minor, but constant, irritation to me.

- There are a lot of cool things in the area - restaurants, weird little antique stores, wineries, state parks, etc - that I haven't had a chance to experience fully, because you can only get there by car. If I'm staying here for another 5 years, I want to feel like I've been able to experience everything that I'm interested in. Plus, I'll have new things to do, which is important after being here for so long.

These are my personal reasons. There are very compelling reasons not to have a car in Ithaca, though. The bus system will get you where you need to go, for sure.

There's also a car share program that I currently use for errands about once a week. You pay a small monthly/yearly fee, and a small hourly fee, and they provide the car, gas and insurance coverage. You can sign up whenever you want, and there are a few Fall Creek-ish cars, which I use regularly. It's really nice! Ithaca Carshare

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Well, I've lived in Ithaca for 6.5 years without a car. But I'm getting one before I start grad school here in the fall.

Why?

- It's hard to get to where my family/friends live from Ithaca via bus and plane, but very easy via car. I have seen my family less than once a year for the past five years, and now that I'm going back to a student schedule, I want to be able to get out of town during breaks.

- The buses do go to grocery stores, but I cook a LOT at home, and I can't manage carrying everything home on the bus. I've tried. They have improved the lines to Wegman's lately, which is nice. There is also more weekend access to the mall area, where there is a Tops grocery store, too.

- I'm frankly just tired of standing around waiting for buses after years and years of relying on them. I want to feel like I'm moving forward with my life by going to grad school, and having more freedom over my schedule (=not planning around bus schedules) is something that I've realized is important to me. Waiting for buses is a minor, but constant, irritation to me.

- There are a lot of cool things in the area - restaurants, weird little antique stores, wineries, state parks, etc - that I haven't had a chance to experience fully, because you can only get there by car. If I'm staying here for another 5 years, I want to feel like I've been able to experience everything that I'm interested in. Plus, I'll have new things to do, which is important after being here for so long.

These are my personal reasons. There are very compelling reasons not to have a car in Ithaca, though. The bus system will get you where you need to go, for sure.

There's also a car share program that I currently use for errands about once a week. You pay a small monthly/yearly fee, and a small hourly fee, and they provide the car, gas and insurance coverage. You can sign up whenever you want, and there are a few Fall Creek-ish cars, which I use regularly. It's really nice! Ithaca Carshare

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. These are actually pretty convincing reasons. I'm curious though, with the snow there... I'd guess it'd be pointless to have anything that isn't a 4-wheel drive?

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. These are actually pretty convincing reasons. I'm curious though, with the snow there... I'd guess it'd be pointless to have anything that isn't a 4-wheel drive?

Common misconception! I grew up in various places in upstate NY, including Lake Placid where it was normal to have 6+feet of snow on the ground for the whole winter, and me or my parents have NEVER had a 4-wheel drive car. Yeah, it might help to get you out of a snow pile without digging out as much, but that is not the problem with driving in snow! The problem is STOPPING, and 4-wheel drive can't help you there. Sorry for the rant, but in general people tend to think they are invincible when they have 4-wheel drive and drive like idiots through the snow, and they are the ones you see on the side of the road, rammed into trees and the lot. You always have to be cautious regardless of the car you drive.

I'm bringing my 2-wheel drive car to Ithaca this year, and the only thing I am concerned about to be honest is the combo of snow + hills, but that is just because my car is very light with a small engine, and it complains with much less daunting hills in Albany! 4-wheel drive might make it easier getting up those hills in the snow, but by no means is it pointless to have a car that isn't 4-wheel drive. This is coming from an upstate-NY-er though, not specifically an Ithacan (if that's what one calls a person who lives in Ithaca?).

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Let me emphasize again that I've been fine without a car for over 6 years.

I guess I'd say that if you have a car, and you're relatively confident that it won't need a lot of expensive maintenance (it's a Subaru or Honda, for example), it might be worth it to bring it along. But as a grad student, even with a Cornell stipend you won't easily be able to absorb unexpected, expensive car repairs.

Also, think about your living situation. If you live with 2+ people, your rent and utilities won't need to be more than $450 or $500. If you want to live with one roommate, it could be $500 or it could be $700, depending on where and what. If you want to live alone, rents start around $700 for something tiny, and $800ish and up for a proper one bedroom, and then you'd have utilities and internet on top of that. Having a one bedroom is great, but having a car on top of it could get really difficult.

Parking on campus sucks and is expensive, too. Either plan an extra $600+ per year (I think?) for parking, or just assume you'll take the bus to campus and use your car for personal things. Parking in town is easy, though, especially in Fall Creek. Lots of places have driveways, although few have garages. Depending on where you are in Fall Creek, street parking will probably be easy and close to your house.

For me, since I've lived here for a while, I have enough off-campus interests and friends that I'll probably spend a lot of time running around, going places, visiting people, going to community activities, etc. I'll still take the bus to campus every day, but I'll probably drive somewhere 3 or 4 times a week.

Also, think about your discipline. If you're into environmental issues or community causes, there are lots of networks to tap into in the area. If not, you might find that off-campus life just isn't interesting to you, and you might not have the need to get away from campus and your immediate neighborhood as often.

As for the winter issue... 4WD is nice, but downtown it's not essential. In town, though, the main roads stay clear ALL THE TIME. Maybe once a year there will be a big storm that keeps people off main roads. As long as you go slow on side roads, you can get where you need to on the cleared, main roads. And going up/down hill is annoying, but most of the time that's fine, too, since those roads get enough traffic to stay clear.

If you actually drove to campus from the outlying areas every day, it would be a different story. But in town is generally fine.

I'm looking for either a gently used Subaru (4WD) or a new, cheap Toyota or Nissan or Honda (under warranty=less worry, cheaper loan), just for reference.

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One thing I was struck by in Ithaca when I visited both times last month...Drivers are NICE!!! They actually stop at stop signs and let pedestrians go! This is refreshing, coming from Philly where they do the "Philly slide" = rolling through stop signs, and the cars like to go bowling for pedestrians, extra points if they have a backpack! YAY for no more (or at least less) overly aggressive Philly and NJ drivers!

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I'm supposed to move out to Ithaca in the beginning of June so that I can start during the summer, so I've been looking at rentals that have been becoming available. Something is striking me as a bit odd and problematic though. It seems that just about everything in the downtown area or anywhere on that side of campus comes furnished! I've been living on my own for years now, and I have quite a bit of money invested in my home furnishings; throwing it away is absolutely out of the question, and call me a snob if you want to, but quite frankly, I don't want some landlord's ratty old sofa when I have a great leather couch. I've heard of furnished apartments, but where I come from, they constitute maybe 5% at most of all of the units rented. Are furnished units really the norm in Ithaca, and if so, does anybody know of specific landlords who have unfurnished properties? I'm starting to get a bit concerned here.

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I'm supposed to move out to Ithaca in the beginning of June so that I can start during the summer, so I've been looking at rentals that have been becoming available. Something is striking me as a bit odd and problematic though. It seems that just about everything in the downtown area or anywhere on that side of campus comes furnished! I've been living on my own for years now, and I have quite a bit of money invested in my home furnishings; throwing it away is absolutely out of the question, and call me a snob if you want to, but quite frankly, I don't want some landlord's ratty old sofa when I have a great leather couch. I've heard of furnished apartments, but where I come from, they constitute maybe 5% at most of all of the units rented. Are furnished units really the norm in Ithaca, and if so, does anybody know of specific landlords who have unfurnished properties? I'm starting to get a bit concerned here.

A lot of places come furnished, I think, because most renters are students. There is nowhere like an Ikea around to buy cheap furniture, so a furnished apartment is very attractive for a lot of people, and landlords are just responding to that.

That said, many landlords will gladly move furniture out of an apartment for you, and put it in storage or offer pieces to other tenants. This has happened with all 4 landlords I've had in Ithaca. My current apartment, for example, came with some ok furniture and some very ratty furniture. A few items are stored in the building, a few were just thrown out, and I'm using a couple things JUST until I can buy my own to replace them.

I wouldn't write off a property just because it comes furnished. Explain that you have your own items that you will be moving with you, and ask if they can move out the furniture. If they initially say they won't, explaining that it's a make it or break it factor for you might help to motivate them. I think only a minority of landlords would hold firm on only offering their apartments furnished.

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Hello All,

I'm going to start a PhD in Psychology in Cornell and am looking for a place to live right now. I'm looking to enter as a 2nd or 3rd roommate somewhere near downtown.

Send me a message (or email me at sd525@cornell.edu) if you're looking for a roommate. I'll be glad to tell you more about me.

Peace,

Shai

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hi folks,

i'm entering grad school with little money. can i get an apartment(safe place) in ithaca with $300 or less? how low can i go. i want $50 lol.

seriously. i'm coming for a master's on huge loan. i wanna save. what are the job options at cornell and how much do the cheap apartments cost?

help!

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Will you have a car? If you do then I've seen plenty of listings for places that are a 10 - 15 minute drive from Cornell (and Ithaca for that matter) that cost $300 or less per person. I even saw one ad where you could live in a 2 bedroom house on a farm -- total cost $500 a month, with discounts if you had experience with horses and could work with them while you lived there...

The downside of course is that you'll be really, absolutely, unequivocally in the middle of nowhere.

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@cornell11-

I think it also depends on how much you want a roommate or not. Places with lots of roommates are cheaper- a place all to yourself is more expensive. Plus, places near bus stops or campus will also be pricier.

Keep in mind that a parking pass is around $600, plus there is limited parking and lots of parking tickets issued. Also, during the winter, you might want to be near campus in case roads close or at least in an area that gets plowed often.

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Will you have a car? If you do then I've seen plenty of listings for places that are a 10 - 15 minute drive from Cornell (and Ithaca for that matter) that cost $300 or less per person. I even saw one ad where you could live in a 2 bedroom house on a farm -- total cost $500 a month, with discounts if you had experience with horses and could work with them while you lived there...

The downside of course is that you'll be really, absolutely, unequivocally in the middle of nowhere.

@cornell11-

I think it also depends on how much you want a roommate or not. Places with lots of roommates are cheaper- a place all to yourself is more expensive. Plus, places near bus stops or campus will also be pricier.

Keep in mind that a parking pass is around $600, plus there is limited parking and lots of parking tickets issued. Also, during the winter, you might want to be near campus in case roads close or at least in an area that gets plowed often.

This and this. Also, most apartments require 1 month security plus one to two more months' rent up front. It's stupid expensive to get an apartment here.

I'll be paying $450 for half of a two bedroom this year, which is a STEAL for my part of downtown. Figure on $400-$600 per person living near a reliable bus route for a 2-3 bedroom. You'll pay less with more people, but getting down to $300 would be really, really tough without a car. With a car, you could do it, but like matcha said, parking is $600+ per year on campus, plus you'd be paying for a car... so you might as well pay the $400-$500 a month for an apartment at that point.

There are also many days when it will be impossible to drive to campus because of snow. And, if you like to drink or go out at all, would you really be comfortable drunk driving in the snow on windy, hilly country roads to save a bit of money? That's a personal calculation, but something to consider.

Housing in Ithaca is really, really expensive compared to the size of the town. Period.

Good luck!

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When I was an incoming grad student I was able to come up for a weekend and look at a bunch of apartments, and found one that I really like. Some people don't have time or can't afford the trip. Sometimes they find a nice one, and sometimes it doesn't work out too well (like my friend in Econ who had to move after only one night and lost his security deposit =/). I've been thinking about this recently, and had an idea for a weekend project.

Are you looking for a place to live in Ithaca but can't visit to check out places? I can help you out.

Here's what I will do: for a modest fee, I'm happy to act as your agent in Ithaca and visit whatever houses or apartments you are interested in. I will take high resolution digital pictures and if needed, measure rooms. I'll write up a report with pictures and my general impression of the apartment, location, landlord, etc, and send it back to you the same day. I haven't tried this before so let's say $20 for a typical visit that takes ~20 minutes to make, plus another 10 min to write up. If it's way out of town I would have to charge more. If you are interested in several places we can work something out.

Here's what I won't do: I can't pretend to be you, you have to tell whoever it is that someone else is taking a look at it for you. If by some small chance it turns out to be an apartment rented out by someone I know, I won't do it to avoid the possibility of bias. (My landlord is a great guy, but I don't think he has any openings this year anyways). Also, I can only help you out on weekends, or possibly late on a Friday. Remember how I'm a grad student? I also won't accept any payment until I have actually visited the place, just to make clear that I'm not trying to trick anyone out of $20.

If you are interested let me know, I would also be happy to talk on the phone. If you turn out to be in either of my departments I'm happy to help you for free. I'm also happy to dispense advice for free.

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While I'm at it, here's a bit of general advice, although a lot of it is things that people have pointed out already.

  • You don't need 4WD or even snow tires in Ithaca unless you have to commute by car every day (which you should avoid anyways). We did fine with a civic and snow tires, even on they day that it snowed two feet this winter.
  • If you don't have a car, look for places downtown or in fall creek, it's harder to get around if you live north of campus or outside of 13.
  • If you do have a car, think about trying to find off-street parking. Having to do the "winter shuffle" can be a real pain in the ass.
  • Ithaca keeps the roads well plowed, but if you are going down the hill while it's snowing avoid the smaller streets like Seneca which get plowed last.
  • The only bus routes that matter for graduate students are the ones that run on a regular basis. It's not worth living in Trumansburg to get cheap rent since there's only three buses a day and as a grad student you don't want to have to leave campus at 5pm.
  • If at all possible go look for apartments in person. Check the insulation and windows carefully -- the $400 a month heating bills can happen to you. Think carefully before going with one of the large renting company. As far as I can tell, Cornell housing is hella overpriced.

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