May 25, 2006

East Coasters, help me out.

Another cheating post. Sorry, Erik.

I have to choose between a) getting to Pittsburgh on a Sunday evening and taking an arranged ride to Ithaca on Monday, or b) going straight to Ithaca on Monday. What do I do?

My feeling is that Ithaca is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere (and thank you, Katie, for suggesting that I not spend ten years getting there, and now that you mention it if I get there and somebody's courting my wife I'm going to be furious). Right. Where was I going with that nerdy digression? My feeling is that Ithaca is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, possibly some kind of train ride from the nearest major airport (which would be what, Syracuse, or something in NYC?). That inclines me to pick Pittsburgh. But is there something I don't know of that makes Ithaca more convenient and/or cheaper?

Speak now and have my eternal gratitude -- really! I have a very long memory where assuaged anxiety is concerned. If you don't believe me, ask me about the teacher's aide who helped me with a math assignment in second grade. I'd vouch for her to any higher power that asked.

Posted by dianna at May 25, 2006 11:10 PM

I seem to recall hearing, years ago, from people who went/were going to Cornell, that one could fly into Ithaca. But that it involved proverbially "crop duster"-ish planes.

Posted by: Chester at May 25, 2006 11:49 PM

I've never been out to Ithaca, so I can't really say. Pittsburgh's pretty far away, though; something like 300 miles. It's a long way from southwest Pennsylvania to central New York. Trains are expensive and surprisingly slow; I'd look more at busses.

The best I can do is to point you to Cornell's site on how to get there. I'd also suggest looking at busses from Newark, New Jersey; it's a big airport with a lot of short-to-medium distance ground transportation (since nobody actually wants to go to Newark) that probably extends to central New York.

Posted by: Zach S. at May 26, 2006 12:03 AM

Kris and I will be in NYC for 6 days starting Wednesday for whatever that's worth. I guess not much since we're not a form of public transit.

Posted by: Gene at May 26, 2006 12:48 AM

If you fly directly into Ithaca, I think that usually involves flying in a small plane from Philly. You really should fly into Syracuse. It's about an hour away from Cornell, and Jet Blue flies there from Oakland, with a layover in NYC. Then, take Syracuse's version of the Super Shuttle out to Ithaca. This will probably be the cheapest option, and depending on what time of day you travel, possibly also the fastest option.

Posted by: sean at May 26, 2006 03:59 AM

When traveling between Syracuse and Ithaca, beware the many heads of Skylla and the gaping maw of Charybdis. Hold on. New York? Nevermind.

Posted by: Erik at May 26, 2006 07:29 AM

You really should just email me instead of relying on me remembering to read the ol' blog!

You can fly into Ithaca, but only on US Air (which is run by United). Since one airline has a monopoly, tickets tend to be a little pricy. Syracuse is an hour away and, in addition to being quite a sizeable city, has quite a large airport. There is a shuttle that goes from the Syracuse airport to anywhere in Ithaca that you tell it. I believe the company is called Ithaca Taxi; I can't remember what it costs, and it is helpful to to make reservations in advance. And actually, regardless of which one you fly to, you end up on a small plane (Philly to Ithaca, or Pittsburg to Syracuse).

Ithaca is, contrary to popular belief, not some teeny backwoods town. It's got, in addition to your famous vegan restaurants and organic co-ops, a Target, a Best Buy, a Barnes and Noble *and* a Borders, and various large supermarkets. You don't have to go all the way to Syracuse or Binghampton to get, say, non-patchouli deoderant. Syracuse is good (and necessary) for only two things: Dinosaur BBQ and Pyramid Mall (and the latter is only good for the H&M).

NYC is about a five-hour bus ride away. My first semester, I didn't go once.

Do you know where in Ithaca you'll be living? I've got some suggestions on that one if you're fending for yourself in terms of housing.

Posted by: dara at June 1, 2006 08:32 PM

No, no, I've got it worked out. This is the way I operate; I post a blog entry and then go and figure it out on my own. And reading over the suggestions, I didn't wind up taking any of them. Ha.

I'm flying into Pittsburgh because it's cheaper and less complicated. There's a vanpool already set up from Pittsburgh to Ithaca on Monday, with about half the people from my program in it. I'm taking advantage of the free ride, the cheaper tickets, and the fact that I really would rather spend all day in a van than take an extra flight in a small plane. And getting from airport to university in Pittsburgh is simpler than getting from airport to university in Ithaca/Syracuse.

Housing is arranged by the program; my co-students and I will be living co-op style (that's the West Coast definition of co-op, mind you) in two adjoining houses. They're on Catherine Street, Dara, if that means anything to you.

And while I wasn't imagining Ithaca being tiny, just hard to approach, I am delighted beyond measure to be assured that I'll have a Target nearby. And possibly a grocery store equipped to extricate me from the inevitable problems of being the only vegan in a group of people supposed to be cooking collectively? I can only hope. Well, that and bring a giant box of Luna bars with me so I don't die.

Posted by: Dianna at June 1, 2006 10:14 PM