Proud to Live in a Progressive City
|by Paul Glover
Ithaca was declared
America's most "enlightened" city by the http://cafe.utne.com/towns/ithaca.html
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. Please call 272-4330 or write email@example.com
to add your group, and to correct your listing. We'll update this collection
on the website.
- 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.
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.
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 these
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
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 activities.
- 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
- Club 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
- 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. Effectively opposed.
- see also EDUCATION
Community Arts Partnership gives support, exposure, funding to local artists:
Common Ground is an enthusiastic intersection of several cultures: 273-1505
- http://www.csma-ithaca.org 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 by http://www.lightlink.com/hi
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 bumper stickers.
- Several member-operated http://ithaca.ny.us/Commerce/art.html
art galleries, like State of the Art, and Upstairs Gallery. Nearly every cafe
- 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:
- Ithaca Small Business Roundtable is an online discussion found at firstname.lastname@example.org
or via email@example.com
- http://www.alternatives.org 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?
- 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 microenterprise: 273-0005
- 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
- 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
http://www.vegan.com 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 resources:
- 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 HOURS: 274-4011
- Herbal medicine businesses thriveŠsee 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:
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 cost.
- 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
- http://flsm.com 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 workers, 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 Yellow
Bookpress is progressive literary gazette published by Bookery: 273-5055.
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
- The Cobbler sharply critiques capitalism, locally and globally. firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://www.cornellprogressive.org Cornell Progressive: email@example.com
* "Hobo's Lullaby" (Gene Endres 387-6480) are progressive local voices.
- http://www.ithacahours.org HOUR
Town is the directory of Ithaca HOURS, features stories on ecological economic
development, maximum wage, health care reform, etc: 272-3738.
- 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:
- http://www.ithacatimes.com 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.
- http://www.ithacatoday.com IthacaToday.com
is a daily dose of local/national news online: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Magnificat is occasional voice of local Catholic Worker group, which organizes
protests against militarism, promotes nonviolent solutions, visits to Iraq:
- Progressive Media Alliance forced review of radio license sale, 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 preference.
Greater Ithaca Activities Center is major community/organizing center, with
a director who advocates for a neighborhood under pressure: Marcia Fort 272-3622.
Human Rights Commission hears complaints of discrimination, gives awards for
progressive action: 274-5305.
- The ARCH belongs throughout 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 assistance: Tibetan 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 Sisters, http://www.levelgreen.com/hank
Hank Roberts, Tamara J. Brown) and classical groups. Hot Rize and the Horseflies
began here. Look for local CDs at GreenStar, Oasis, Small World. www.ithacanet.org/Entertainment
- Musefest 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: 273-8981
Outloud Chorus offers Ithaca the harmony of gay/lesbian voices.
- Vitamin L Chorus sings strongly for dignity, worth, power: 0273-4175
- Largest concentration of Alternatives to Violence facilitators in New York:
- http://www.aclu.org 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 drop anywhere. 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 most other holidays,
with thousands participating in various scheduled activities: 272-3622.
- http://www.nwtrcc.org National War
Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee publishes the newsletter "More Than
A Paycheck," to encourage principled tax-refusal. 269-7464
- 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 Town.
- 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. Nonetheless, Republican
Democrats have taken over City Hall, making it the most consevative in 30
Amnesty International speaks for political prisoners in U.S. and abroad: 257-3156
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@example.com
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
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@example.com
Cornell Greens are active for local, national, international ecology and social
justice. Write firstname.lastname@example.org,
send message subscribe greens-l <your email> email@example.com
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org,
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
- DANCING is happening all over. Gatherings and lessons of all kinds. Dance
is strong part of the Ithaca scene (we have some of the continent's best Swing
dancers), and often of generating solidarity, that it's got to be on any Ithaca
- Dances of Universal Peace weekly at Foundation of Light: 273-9550
- Dozens of fabulous facilities for kids. Highlight is http://www.sciencenter.org
Sciencenter, built by hundreds of community volunteers: 272-0600
International Folk Dances at Cornell weekly at Willard Straight Hall, Cornell,
Sundays 7:30pm-10:30pm: 539-7335 * http://www.ithacaballet.org
Ithaca Ballet is Upstate NY's only repertory company: 277-1967
Ithaca Festival, first weekend in June, fills the streets with fun: 273-3646
- http://dance-ithaca.org Ithaca Swing
Dance Network is busy all week: 273-0126
Ithaca Tangueros teach and perform the tango.
- Nude swimming in creeks and ponds and reservoirs all over the area, though
illegal, is common and fun. Topless is legal in NYS.
Paleontological Research Institute displays our fossil ancestors.
- http://www.runJump.com runJump.com
is a terrific list of sports action for kids.
- We're all just visiting-- even old-timers are newcomers:
- EVERY KIND of fun group is listed at www.ithaca.ny.us/Orgs/#recreation
- see also MUSIC
- 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 restaurantsŠone for every 340 persons). As a result:
- Viva Taqueria 277-1752 opened and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut closed.
- Vegetarian Supper Club meets monthly, for vegetarian singles/others. 564-9413
Nonviolent revolution is in the air. Come join the fun!