to Live in a
November 2000 (many
links below probably obsolete)
Ithaca was declared America's most "enlightened" city
Utne Reader in 1998. We're not saints and we don't levitate, but for
such a small city (30,000 urban + 20,000 suburban) we have a fabulous
number and variety of social organizations. Many of these work to shift
real economic and cultural power to average people, to challenge
destructive power, and to defend those who are vulnerable today.
They're open to new ideas.
Here is a partial list. MANY DESERVING GROUPS ARE NOT
YET LISTED, and more are forming all the time.
- The Animal Defense League (community-based) blockaded
McDonald's in 1998. Millions of dollars damage done to Cornell animal
research lab in '97.
- Militant protest outside lab by http://www.rso.cornell.edu/ccad
Cornell Coalition for Animal Defense. Campus animal rights newsletter
is The Liberator. If you see a genuine fur coat call CCAD at 256-5003.
- http://www.farmsanctuary.org Farm
Sanctuary, for discarded and abused farm animals, is nearby in Watkins
- The http://www.spcaonline.com Tompkins
County SPCA has a zero-kill goal. They're looking for people to give
pets sanctuary while new owners are being found. 257-1822
BOOKSTORES & LIBRARIES
- We're a world capitol of reading. According to a 1992
survey, there are about 12.5 million books within the City and Town of
Ithaca, held by 46 libraries, 17 bookstores, 9 publishers, 3 museums, 3
government office buildings, thousands of homes, dozens of lawyers,
other businesses & homes. This may be the greatest number of
books per capita of any locality in the world.
- We have such fine local bookstores that B.Dalton's
closed on the Commons. Autumn Leaves Used Books (108 Commons), serves
also as organizing hub and Ithaca HOUR bank: 273-8239. http://www.thebookery.com
Bookery in DeWitt Mall operated by progressive who publishes http://www.thebookery.com/bookpress
Bookpress: 273-5055. http://www.borealisbooks.com
Borealis specializes in gay/lesbian/feminist books and magazines:
272-7552. http://www.usedbookfind.com Ithaca
Books gives 10% discount to Health Fund members: 277-4886. http://www.reachout98.clarityconnect.com/alexandrian.htm
New Alexandrian Books specializes in New Age and Esoteric: 272-1663
The Tompkins County Public Library is expanding to larger building, and
installing dozens of public internet stations. There's a "Readabout"
program, reading to kids in public places, weekly: 272-4557
- http://www.booksale.org The
Friends of the Library Booksale every October stocks usually over
300,000 used books, tapes, records: 272-2223 * http://www.library.cornell.edu/africana
Africana Library at Cornell retrieves the lost history and power of
The Alternatives Library has 6,000 books, hundreds of magazines and
dozens of newspapers dedicated to social change: 255-6486. They have an
annex at the Women's Community Building:
- Progressive publishers include: http://www.mcbooks.com
McBooks Press, http://www.firebrandbooks.com
Firebrand Books, http://www.snowlionpub.com Snow
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
- The city lives for kids. There are two directories: http://5www.tompkins-co.org/youth/fsojindex.html
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, produced by teens, lists ongoing youth
- Ithaca Child is "the paper for parents," dedicated to
the fun and challenges of raising kids: 387-6534
- Teen Community Center 312 E. Seneca St. 273-1888
Ithaca provides safe, fun entertainment for kids.
- Day Care is one most powerful lobbies in City. http://www.lightlink.com/daycare
Day Care and Child Development Council has many fine resources for day
care providers: 273-0259. http://www.fscith.org Family
& Children's Services also keeps a list of day care providers:
Ithaca Children's Garden proposes to create a gardening playground for
young and old.
- The Cabin Fever Festival is organized by http://www.icthree.org
Ithaca Community Childcare Center every March: 257-0200
Greater Ithaca Activities Center 272-3622
Recycle Ithaca's Bicycles has repaired and given away over 1,200 bikes,
to low-income kids: 255-7108
RunJump.com is the best collection of local sports and recreation
schedules. Even organizes ride sharing.
- Skateboarders organized to demand a Skateboard Park.
They pushed hard for several years and now it's been built. Rte 13 and
Wood Street. Twice a curfew on teens was proposed and twice repelled by
the eloquence of young people. Teens hang out on the Commons, so some
merchants tried to rip up the Commons and give it back to cars.
- see also EDUCATION
Community Arts Partnership gives support, exposure, funding to local
Common Ground is an enthusiastic intersection of several cultures:
Community School of Music and Arts hosts classes in creativity 272-1474.
- http://www.arttrail.com Greater
Ithaca Art Trail
Ithaca Festival shows our beauty to each other: 273-3646
- In our tiny town we have an active http://www.visitithaca.com/theater.htm
theatre district: http://www.kitchentheatre.com
Kitchen Theatre, http://www.cayugalake.com/ithaca/hangar.html
Hangar Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, State Theatre, Tin Can Company.
State Theatre is major old-time performing arts center being restored
Slam Tractor hosts poetry slams around town: 243-7934
- Smash TV demonstration April 1999. Thousands have no
TV. Anti-TV headquarters is Autumn Leaves Used Books, for t-shirts and
- Several member-operated http://ithaca.ny.us/Commerce/art.html
art galleries, like State of the Art, and Upstairs Gallery. Nearly
every cafe hosts showings.
- see also MUSIC, RECREATION
- We print our own money. Millions of dollars worth of http://www.ithacahours.org
Ithaca HOURS have been traded since 1991, by thousands of residents,
including 465 local businesses. $10,000 of HOURS have been granted to
over 50 community organizations. And they make HOUR loans http://www.lightink.com/ithacahours
without charging interest: 272-3738 (9am-9pm)
- So many business owners are progressives that they
supported a radical advertising agency (American Outreach) during the
'80s. They donate constantly to radical and community causes.
- The small business base here is huge. Homebased
Microenterprise Network: 273-6164.
- Ithaca Small Business Roundtable is an online
discussion found at [email protected]
or via [email protected]
Alternatives Federal Credit Union is dedicated to grassroots economic
development. Members elect Board of Directors: 273-4666 Accepts HOURS,
has Youth Credit Union with revolving loan fund for kids, developing
loan fund for farmers. Community Economic Opportunities (CEO) also
gives new entrepreneurs a boost. What other bank plays music by
musician members and gives dog biscuits to visiting dogs? www.alternatives.org
- The other locally-based lenders are http://www.cornellflcu.com
Cornell Finger Lakes Credit Union 275-3322, http://www.tcfcu.com
Tompkins Employees Federal Credit Union 272-8567, and http://www.tompkinstrust.com
Tompkins County Trust Company 273-3210.
- Crafts are major industry, with many talented
full-time producers. Handwork on the Commons is one showcase of local
talent: 273-9400. http://www.ithacamarket.org Ithaca
Farmer's Market has about three dozen area craft vendors. 273-7109
- http://www.tcad.com Tompkins
County Area Development (TCAD) has made small loans for
- Justice for All promotes equity and attacks
Republican/Democrat Contract on America: 273-7108
- Dozens of small organic farms within 30 miles. Most
market at the Farmer's Market. There are a few roadside stands, and
some eight http://www.csacenter.org/states/NYfarm.htm
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations.
Community Gardens plots by Route 13 are full, sponsored by City:
Cornell Cooperative Extension helps our small farms survive, educates
residents about raising food and caring for trees.
Dilmun Hill Farm brings city kids and Cornell students together to grow
organic food beside the City line, and sell it at GIAC.
Farmer's Market is April-December, with 100 vendors (55 accept HOURS),
of whom half are food producers and processors. This facility was built
Amish-style by vendors: 273-7109
Farmland Protection Project, a Tompkins County project, has issued a
report on protecting local agriculture.
Food from the 'Hood exemplifies youth enterprise.
Friendship Donations Network operates an extensive food pantry system.
Gives away tons weekly: 272-6758, 257-3910
- GreenStar Food Co-op is headquarters of alternative
Ithaca. 4,000 members. Showcases local food products. Very little meat
permitted. Alison Campbell 273-9392
- Ithaca Tofu has produced wide range of soy products
for local/export market for many years, using local organic soybeans.
Kids at GreenStar whine for "tofu kan" rather than candy: 266-0336
- Go farther to the bottom of the food chain and top
health with Ithaca Vegans: 257-7797. See Channel 13 Tuesdays 8:30pm.
- http://www.loaves.org Loaves
& Fishes gathers excess food from area grocers and provides
feasts to low-income residents twice weekly: 272-4547
- Regional Access sells local food products as far as
New York City: 387-4885
Vegan food (no animal products) is big here.
- See also RESTAURANTS.
- There are so many innovative healing therapies
available here, from acupuncture to yoga, that we have had a series of
directories of these services. The http://www.foundation-of-light.org
Foundation of Light is compiling another: 273-9550
AIDSWork helps the afflicted, educates the public, and advocates for
- Though still a stronghold for many conservative
allopathic professionals, http://www.cayugamed.org Cayuga
Medical Center has also expanded its embrace of holistic providers,
particularly at its Pain Center, has a birthing area admitting
midwives, gives discounts to Health Fund members and accepts Ithaca
- Herbal medicine businesses thriveásee GreenStar
tincture section. Becca's Herbs, Joniris Herbals and http://www.7Song.com
Ithaca-area Health Care Action Network seeks a national health plan to
protect us from greed: Tony DelPlato 273-6751
- http://www.ibca.net Ithaca Breast
Cancer Alliance: counseling and advocacy for those threatened with
breast cancer: 277-0960
- http://www.IthacaHealth.org Ithaca
Health Fund: Members pool money to cover their health care costs,
reducing dependence on both HMOs and government: 387-8344
Ithaca Memorial Society secures dignified burial or cremation at low
- Midwives operate here and are preferred by many.
Planned Parenthood is very popular; nobody messes with their http://www.pptompkins.org
clinic. Were there an attempt to obstruct entry, literally thousands of
women would make phalanx to restrain "pro-lifers" Ithaca sends hundreds
to march for reproductive rights in D.C: 273-1526
Finger Lakes School of Massage is filling Ithaca with an army of
massage therapists. And a healthy army it has become: 272-9024.
- http://www.hsctc.org Health
Planning Council of Tompkins County 273-8686
- Ithaca Integrated Community Wellness Center promotes
holistic care: 272-8390
- The http://www.7song.com Northeast
School of Botanical Medicine is a gem: 7song: www.7song.com
Ithaca's heritage of direct action, since the 60s, has shut down
Cornell and trashed a bank during the Vietnam War, shut down the draft
board, has caused costly upheaval during challenges to Cornell's
investment in apartheid, has stopped construction of a nuclear power
plant on Cayuga Lake, stopped construction of a fourlane highway, shut
down the IRS during the Persian Gulf War, defied federal authorities
who sought to capture Salvadoran refugees, elected a socialist mayor,
elected a barefoot youth to school board, prohibited the transit of
nuclear weapons through the city, pledged to shut down federal
operations here were Nicaragua invaded, shut down a pizza shop after
complaints of abuse of labor, stopped construction of a 177-foot
Cornell incinerator, sent Wal-Mart away, challenged gross development,
and more. Persistent demonstrations have earned a National Guard armory
at the edge of the City.
At the same time, we've also built bold local
institutions which prove that our needs can be met cooperatively,
democratically, and ecologically.
Three of Ithaca's progressive local historians are
Dan Hoffman 273-6933, Carol Kammen 273-5298, Nancy Bereano 272-1647.
- The http://www.lakenet.org/dewitt
DeWitt Historical Society 273-8284 and Tompkins County Museum 272-7715
remind us where we came from. Excellent rotating displays.
Union organizing is active, among over 14 union
locals. We have
unions for Bricklayers & Masons, Carpenters, Government
Firefighters, Laborers, Electricians, Machinists, Plumbers, and Service
Workers. Their umbrella is the Tompkins Cortland Labor Union Coalition:
277-5670 See also "Labor Organizations" in http://www.yellowbook.com
Cornell Organization for Labor Action (COLA) pressures Cornell for
better wages/conditions. listserv: [email protected],
send message: subscribe [email protected]
- Ithaca Teacher's Association 272-8950
- Tompkins-Cortland Labor Union Coalition unites union
United Auto Workers (UAW 2300) has a Small Shop unit, since most large
industries have quit Ithaca, leaving workers exposed to temp agencies.
The county's job base declined from 47% industrial in 1950 to 5%
industrial today. UAW's main forcus is Cornell. They host the Labor Day
Picnic, and have produced a fine film indicting Cornell's labor
practices: "In the Shadow of the Tower." 277-5670 [email protected]
United Workers of Ithaca is an independent union for service sector,
gives leverage to transient employees. Anyone may join without waiting
for the NLRB: 272-4330
Women's Opportunity Center gives women the encouragement and
connections to rebuild their lives after trauma: 272-1520
Bookpress is progressive literary gazette published by Bookery:
Cable Channel 13 generates controvery. Some wild stuff. ANY videotape
you provide to them will be broadcast. 277-4543
Clarityconnect 257-8268 and http://www.lightlink.com Lightlink
277-0959 are local internet providers, who allow us to create
independent media online.
- The Cobbler sharply critiques capitalism, locally
and globally. [email protected]
- http://www.cornellprogressive.org Cornell
Progressive: [email protected]
* "Hobo's Lullaby" (Gene Endres 387-6480) are progressive local voices.
HOUR Town is the directory of Ithaca HOURS, features stories on
ecological economic development, maximum wage, health care reform, etc:
- Ithaca Child is the paper for parents, dedicated to
the fun & challenge of raising kids: 387-6534.
- http://www.ithacanet.org IthacaNet
is the premier website introducing all things Ithaca:
Ithaca Times, originally hip, has established enough to sell large
cigarette ads, and has become wealthy enough to endorse Republicans for
mayor. Many good progressive articles though: 277-7000.
IthacaToday.com is a daily dose of local/national news online: [email protected]
- Magnificat is occasional voice of local Catholic
which organizes protests against militarism, promotes nonviolent
solutions, visits to Iraq: 277-6932.
- Progressive Media Alliance forced review of radio
brought progressive shows to NPR affiliate, brought progressive station
transmitter within reach: 272-7555.
- http://www.hws.edu/~weos WEOS-FM
(89.7 FM) is from Geneva, but is our only source of progressive radio
programming. One of Ithaca's favorite progams is http://www.democracynow.com
"Democracy Now," 9am weekdays. See also locally-produced show "Unwelcome
Guests" WEOS Sundays 9-11pm: "radio program about wealth,
power, and people's resistance to the New World Order."
- Diversity is celebrated here, but there's a long way
to go to end
race/income divisions. Punks/skins/metals are generally progressive.
- County law prohibits discrimination based on sexual
Greater Ithaca Activities Center is major community/organizing center,
with a director who advocates for a neighborhood under pressure: Marcia
Human Rights Commission hears complaints of discrimination, gives
awards for progressive action: 274-5305.
- The ARCH
this list, doing diversity training, meeting needs of troubled kids,
making local food connections, etc.272-4377.
- Interracial couples and gay/lesbian couples are
common and accepted. http://www.ilgbttf.org Ithaca
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Task Force is influential: 387-8252.
Domestic partners are recognized by City.
- Among groups located to immigrant and refugee
Resettlement program, Literacy Volunteers, Southeast Asian Center, http://www.rso.cornell.edu/CUSLAR
CUSLAR (Latin Americans): 255-7293 *ESL lessons through BOCES
Martin Luther King Day is a big celebration here, and Black History
Month is very active.
Multicultural Resource Center promotes enjoyment of diversity: 273-8724.
Southside Community Center provides daycare, recreation space: 273-4190
- There is so much singing/songwriting here that Ithaca
supports at least seven professional recording studios.
"Bound for Glory" is nation's longest-continuous weekly folk radio
program, since 1967. Phil Shapiro hosts on WVBR, Sundays 8:00pm.
Foundation for Local Music revives appreciation for live music: 256-0234
Grassroots Festival of Music and Arts: rock/folk/jazz fest with tens of
thousands attending, bigger every year: 387-5607
- We're proud of progressive rock/folk (including http://www.donnathebuffalo.com
Donna the Buffalo, http://wwwburnssisters.com Burns
Hank Roberts, Tamara J. Brown) and classical groups. Hot Rize and the
Horseflies began here. Look for local CDs at GreenStar, Oasis, Small
began in 2000 as a free countryside showcase for local talent
Ithaca Children's Choir
Ithaca Opera Association providing great music since 1949: 272-0168
- Cayuga Chamber Orchestra is our classical voice:
Outloud Chorus offers Ithaca the harmony of gay/lesbian voices.
- Vitamin L Chorus sings strongly for dignity, worth,
- Largest concentration of Alternatives to Violence
facilitators in New York: 387-8335
American Civil Liberties Union reminds government that the right to
dissent and the exercise of dissent keep America free: 257-6900
- Antiwar activity fills the streets, when U.S. bombs
Hundreds signed the "Pledge of Resistance" to take over federal
buildings if U.S. invaded Nicaragua. IRS office was taken over for a
day when Persian Gulf War began, city judges refused to prosecute. IRS
moved to Syracuse.
Community Dispute Resolution Center pioneers adoption/custody cases
with good cooperation from judges: 273-9347
Dances of Universal Peace weekly at Foundation of Light: 273-9550
- Martin Luther King Day is bigger holiday here than
holidays, with thousands participating in various scheduled activities:
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee publishes the
newsletter "More Than A Paycheck," to encourage principled tax-refusal.
- http:// www.ithacanet.org/Orgs/OAR
Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) provides bail fund and counseling to
inmates and the accused:272-7885.
- Police Review Board is very firm against police
abuses. Seeks balanced understanding: 275-0799
- Suicide Prevention Center 272-1505.
Task Force for Battered Women (277-3203) and http://gannett.cornell.edu/CARE/IRC.html
Ithaca Rape Crisis (273-5589) help women and men subject to violence,
and also seek to change offenders.
- Meditation and yoga are popular. See listings in HOUR
- ALL OTHER human service groups w/websites are at http://www.ithaca.ny.us/Orgs/#svc
POLITICS People are very opinionated here.
- City voter registration 5:1 Democrat/Republican.
Republican Democrats have taken over City Hall, making it the most
consevative in 30 years.
Amnesty International speaks for political prisoners in U.S. and
abroad: 257-3156 * http://www.dsausa.org/dsa.html
Democratic Socialists of America, in coalition with environmentalists,
labor and feminists, elected a socialist mayor 1989, 1991, 1993.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D) is usually (but not entirely) reliably
progressive, almost radical, survives in conservative district:
- Ithaca Sharks work to end exploitation by
corporations, particularly the excesses of globalization: [email protected]
- Justice for All marches, lobbies, vigils for higher
minimum wage, end to death penalty, human budget priorities, etc:
- And justice moves toward money, without help from
friends like the Cornell
Civil Liberties Union [email protected]
- The http://www.igc.org/lpa/index.html
Labor Party organizes here: 272-1239
Assemblyman Marty Luster (D) is likewise quite liberal.
- The http://www.tcgreens.org
Tompkins County Green Party elected representatives to City Council in
1987 and 1989, then one in 1999, when they fielded a young slate (18,
19, 20, 21) for council races. http://www.greens.org/s-r/22/22-07.html
The 20-year-old won, becoming the first college undergraduate on
council. Ralph Nader got 9% of City vote 1996, 18% in 2000 (highest of
any county in NYS): [email protected]
Cornell Greens are active for local, national, international ecology
and social justice. Write [email protected],
send message subscribe greens-l <your email> [email protected]
- Rainbow Coalition's Jesse Jackson won the City's
Democratic Primary 1988.
United Progressive Alumni rally alumni to make Cornell more responsible
to social justice locally and globally: 273-6621
- Many campus-based groups: http://people.cornell.edu/pages/rr10/up.html
United Progressives: write [email protected],
send message subscribe UP-l <your email>
Working Families Party encourages votes at the left of the Democratic
Party, often endorsing Democratic candidates: 256-8687
- Tompkins County League of Women Voters provides
informed fora: Libby DeProsse 257-6678
- ALL OTHER special groups w/websites: www.ithaca.ny.us/Orgs/#special
- To survive, restaurants must have an ample http://www.na.veg.org/veg/Guide/USA/New_York/ithaca.html
- ABC Cafe is vegetarian: 277-4770
- McDonald's left the Commons and was replaced by
home-grown eateries. http://www.harvestdeli.com/harvest
Harvest Deli (vegan) wins! 272-1961 * We're home to http://www.moosewoodrestaurant.com
Moosewood 256-8007, of course, but city has many creative local
eateries-- 83 restaurantsáone for every 340 persons). As a result:
- Viva Taqueria 277-1752 opened and Taco Bell and Pizza
- Vegetarian Supper Club meets monthly, for vegetarian
singles/others. 564-9413 Bob LeRoy
Nonviolent revolution is in the
air. Come join the fun!