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Ithaca, New York, is a small city at the Southern tip of Cayuga Lake in central NY state. It is, indeed, gorgeous. The Ithaca area is gouged by a series of gorges, deep rocky valleys cut by glaciers. The city of Ithaca is abutted by state parks contain Buttermilk Falls, Lucifer Falls, and Taughannock Falls, which at 215 feet tall, is the tallest free-falling waterfall in the norteastern U.S. There are also gorges that cut through the city itself in an east-west fashion. These are beautiful in an everyday, easy to take for granted sort of way. They're traversed by a number of bridges, including a terrifying suspension bridge connecting Cornell University's North and Central campuses. Water typically flows through these gorges over a series of small waterfalls, at the foot of which one can often teenages with their dogs, drinking beer and cheap wine in the summer. The Fall Creek Gorge runs from Beebe Lake on the East Hill to Lake Street in Fall Creek, a neighborhood adjacent to downtown. South of this and parallel to it is the Cascadilla Creek Gorge, which runs between route 366 on the East Hill and Court St. downtown. The Six Mile Creek Gorge run northwest to southeast between Giles Street on the East Hill and the Ithaca Commons, and contains swimming holes and decrepit industrial ruins. Ritesh Shetty, a graduate student, hung himself here in October, 2002.

About the slogan

In the 1980s, the slogan "Ithaca is Gorges" spontaneously occured to Howard Cogan (Cornell 1950), owner of the advertising agency Howard Cogan Associates. It first appeared on the cover of a weekly Ithaca newspaper, now defunct, called the Town Crier. The Ithaca Chamber of Commerce reproduced the slogan on a series of bumper stickers, which are still for sale in their original design: white lettering on a green background, with a waterfall replacing the letter "I". In 1983, Abdul Razak Sheikh asked Cogan for permission to reproduce the slogan on T-shirts, which he sold out of his store T-Shirt Expressions, on the Ithaca Commons. The T-shirts are also green and white, with a regular, non-graphic, letter "I". The shirts soon became tremendously popular and have appeared in other colors, and the logo began to show up on other merchandise as well: sweatshirts, nalgene bottles, shot glasses, magnets, etc.

Ithaca is Gorges T-shirts are absolutely ubiquitous around Ithaca, and the logo has become a means for Ithacans to recognize each other and to baffle everyone else around the U.S. and around the world My favorite part of the "Ithaca is Gorges" phenomenon has been the permutations of the meme. Snide hipsters tend to ridicule the grammatically incorrect fad by printing their own T-shirts, including: Hunter Rawlings is Gorges, Ithaca is Gorgeous, Ithaca is Boring, Ithaca is Cold, and (my favorite) Ithaca HAS Gorges. The T-shirts Ithaca is Gangsta and Ithaca is Long Island are curently all the rage.

I don't own any Ithaca is Gorges paraphernalia.



Sources:
http://www.priweb.org/ed/finger_lakes/nystate_geo4.html
http://www.cornellsun.com/articles/9391/
"Ithaca is Cold" spotted by plink

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