This is a guest column written by a friend of ours who is being given the pseudonym Gripey O’Coot because — you guessed it! — he needs student interns for his business. He graduated from Cornell in 1979.

— Jeff Stein


The lifeblood of our economy will soon slide down the slippery slopes of Ithaca; captive credit cards, er, college students, caught in our nefarious web, er, guests of our fair city, for nine months of economic bliss.

We know — we couldn’t live without their money — many of us would have no jobs without them. Take away Cornell and Ithaca College, we’d be Watkins Glen without the racetrack. But the return of students spells misery to us Townies every fall.

We’ve grown used to sprawling around all summer in a city built for 60,000 but with only 30,000 permanent residents — we can park; there’s no lines at the movies . . . We envy your tanned, unlined faces; all bright and new from summering in the Hamptons; your cool new clothes and fresh haircuts.

But we’ll get revenge — we’ll witness your devolution — by October you’ll be pale, pimpled, and wearing a hoodie. By November, well … it ain’t pretty. December?

The zombie apocalypse sets in after midterms.

After winter break, rested and refreshed, re-tanned and re-coiffed, you’ll return, but by April, sleep-deprivation and hoodies will once again rule. (But Slope Day’s only nine short months away, kids!) (And maybe Snoop Dogg will come back to town!)

To Townies, “Students” equals “Traffic Jams,” “Forfeited Damage Deposits,” and “Stuff on the Lawns” that, well. . . “Shouldn’t Be There.”

But spare the despair — here are the Top 10 Reasons Townies “Love” It When Students Return:


10 — We love finding students duct-taped to our parking structures, trees, and floors.

We call it “Performance Graffiti.”

9 — We love watching students drive their phones

8 — We love when students take a break from texting to fully and creatively utilize our community’s many assets and facilities.

7 — Two Words: Public Urination. Double the fun: kill the weeds (and grass, but oh well) AND give us a show! (Sometimes while texting!)

6 — We love students sitting or even planking on our supermarket floors, reading Ramen noodle ingredients (while texting.) SOOOOO adorable.

5 — We love Hipsters — texting hipsters — especially WALKING TEXTING Hipsters! Hipsters have such great taste — especially barbecued!

4 — We love how students are younger, richer, cuter, and have better cars, phones, computers, and weed than us.

3 — We love how exciting new traffic patterns emerge as GPS-challenged young texters head up Seneca and down Green!

2 — We love Cornell’s Football Team: Because nothing says “Fun in the Fall” more than 0-10! Not to mention the Traditional Cortaca Jug Riot!

1 — And the Number One Reason We Love College Kids: Without them all the bars and pizza joints would be out of business!


Keep up the great work, kids! Welcome to Ithaca, the “City In Need Of Adult Supervision.”

And don’t forget to tip your bartenders!


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.