The Keyword Bar XX

2 11 2013

1. “pearl buck house ithaca” (10-27-2013)

That’s a bit of a tricky question. Pearl S. Buck, Nobel-winning author of “The Good Earth”, lived in Ithaca in 1924-1925 (she completed her M.A. at Cornell in 1925). Her first husband, John Lossing Buck, did a BS at Cornell in ag economics in 1914, and an MS in the same subject that was completed in 1925, and finally, a PhD in 1933. It would appear, based off a Cornell Sun article, that she once again lived in Ithaca from about summer 1932-1933. So most likely, one looking for the house she lived in would be looking for two different places in the Ithaca, the one from the mid-1920s when she was doing her degree, and the second in the early 1930s, when her increasingly-distant husband was completing his PhD. Not sure which time time this pamphlet refers to, but at least some of that time appears to have been spent in Forest Home.

2. “carl sagan’s secret tunnel” (10-27-2013)

One of the stories that enhances Carl Sagan’s mystique is that he somehow had a tunnel from his house to campus. That’s not feasible (there’s a gorge in the way), and perhaps some of its inspiration came from Ezra Cornell’s utility tunnel across the gorge from Sagan’s property at 900 Stewart Avenue. It seems he just preferred to you the back trails along the gorge to walk to his office and back.

3. “cornell prelims” (11-1-2013)

A word fairly unique in its use at the university, prelim is shorthand for “preliminary examination“, and in American usage, are normally applied as a synonym for the qualifying exam one takes to become a PhD candidate. The use of the term at Cornell, as a substitute to describe all non-midterm and final exams, dates back at least to the early 1900s.

4. “does cornell cals accept mostly ny state students?” (10-23-2013)

Cornell in general has about 29 to 30 percent of its freshman class arrive to its door from elsewhere in New York state. This SUNY 2013-2014 guidebook seems to peg CALS’s NYS enrollment proportion at 47 percent. I’ve had it understood that the difference in proportion was more because of the state tutition discount than it being “easier”, but it does look like the SAT scores in the contract schools in the 2013-2014 guidebook are lower than the university average. Speaking strictly from a numbers standpoint. I have no interest in humoring Ann Coulter’s wet dreams.

5. “where was zinck’s, ithaca, ny” (10-21-2013)

Zinck’s, or at least the Zinck’s referred to in “Give My Regards to Davy”, refers to “The Hotel Brunswick” lager beer saloon and restaurant that Theodore Zinck ran from about 1880 until his suicide in 1903. Zinck’s was located in the old Ithaca Hotel at 108-110 North Aurora Street; the building was torn down in the late 1960s, a victim of urban renewal.

 

 





The Keyword Bar XIX

15 07 2013

4-8-2013 205

1. “cornell aem transfer from cc” (2013-07-15)

I can already hear the dyed-in-the-wool AEM majors complaining about this one, an image-conscious program sensitive to anything that would tarnish its reputation, including the suggestion that community college students can get into it. But fear not AEM majors, while CALS has guaranteed transfer agreements with many community colleges (“partner institutions”), the biology, landscape architecture, and non-agribusiness AEM majors are exempt from this and fall under “competitive transfer” admissions. So, for the community college student that thinks they can guarantee a transfer to join the I-Bankers to be, the process is much, much more competitive (on a related note, AEM is well known for having a high number of people applying to transfer into the program within Cornell internally, which has resulted in that process becoming rather difficult as well). Also, if you don’t attend a partnered institution, then the transfer isn’t guaranteed either. So, theoretically possible, but highly unlikely.

2. terrence quinn cornell (2013-07-13)

A case of where truth really is stranger than fiction. Terrence Quinn ’93 was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu, and was last seen alone and drunk outside a bar on January 15, 1993. Three days later, he was discovered in Psi Upsilon’s chimney, when his shoes and jeans fell to the mantel after the flue was opened. The cause of death was positional asphyxiation – whether by his own volition or the goading of others, it appears he climbed into the chimney and got stuck, suffocating due to the awkward position his neck was bent in. No foul play has ever been suspected, but it must have been for a very awkward rush week.

3. apartment+complex+in+cornell+heights+planned (2013-07-13)

Yup. This one. 20 units and 56 bedrooms. More details here.

4. architecture of mcgraw hall, cornell (2013-07-12)

Generally, McGraw Hall, the middle of the Old Stone Row, is considered to be an interpretation of Second Empire architecture  designed by Archimedes Russell, a prominent and prolific Syracuse-area architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Second Empire was in vogue at the time of McGraw Hall’s construction in the late 1860s and early 1870s (completed 1872), and takes its name from the French Second Empire, where the style originated. The building is finished with Ithaca bluestone, and the tower appears to face the wrong way because the earliest campus plan proposed (by Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame) that all campus structures form a grand terrace facing the lake.

5. cleveland estates ithaca housing development (2013-07-11)

Housing developments generally fall out of my focus – slow to build out and generally unremarkable. So I’ve seen Cleveland Estates, and just never wrote much about it (the last real blurb I wrote referencing it was in 2009). The site looks to have 12 lots, on a cul-de-sac off of Danby Road, west-southwest of Ithaca college. Infrastructure has been laid and lots are for sale.

6. mathai kolath george (2013-07-13, 2013-07-10)

Not long after I wrote about Llenroc Mansion near Albany, local news erupted when the widow of its owner, Annie George, was found guilty of keeping an illegal immigrant as a personal slave in her home, and as a result, the federal government is permitted to seize the property. If I were superstitious, I’d be tempted to think the property is cursed.





The Keyword Bar XVIII

22 12 2012

11-24-2012 141

So, I wish I had had more time to put some thought into an entry. But an unusual event took place in the past few weeks.

After a series of phone interviews, I was flown out to California for a meet-and-greet/any final interview details for the research lab of a defense contractor. And up to my arrival, I was 99% sure I was going to accept the offer. It was a step up in my field, and the pay was also a nice boost.

Then I got out there, and they showed me the projects I’d be working on. Oddly enough, in all of those phone interviews, so much time had been spent asking me questions and going over my background that we had maybe discussed the projects for a few minutes. As they’re showing me the work, a know settled in my stomach – I’ve done this work before. I only did it before because I had to and it paid my bills. Luckily, and unluckily, I left with a verbal offer, and the paperwork to arrive in my email that Monday.

So on the sleepless flights back to NY, which thanks to a mechanical failure took 27 hours, I went through a career crisis. I could continue at my current work, which had some rewards but wasn’t doing any big favors for my career or pocketbook; or I could accept the lucrative job out west, which strayed even further from my interests.

In the end, I decided to stay. I’m optimistic other opportunities will come up if I keep searching.  And hopefully, one of those will elicit a feeling of excitement when I see the work involvement, rather than a feeling of dread. I managed to step out of the situation with enough grace that I was able to set up a colleague with an interview for the position I passed up, so hopefully there’s some good karma in that.

Anyway, since my time has been tight, the tried-and-true keyword bar entries come in handy, where I look at the search bar to see if there anything worth a little more discussion.

1. “are co-ops like fraternities” 12-20-2012

From my recollection as a recent alum, the answer is generally no, but some a bit more fraternal than others. Some had a personality that was more similar to a small dorm, where members only moved in because it was cheaper or they were going abroad for a semester, and there was little in the way of camraderie; others did parties and tended to keep members over multiple years (thinking of one instance of a costume party at Von Cramm where the only thing one girl was wearing was paint). I remember that Whitby, Von Cramm and Watermargin tended to be a bit close-knit when I was a student, but I think two years is enough to make my conceptions fairly outdated.

2. “gamma alpha cornell” 12-20-2012

Gamma Alpha is a professional society for graduate students pursuing scientific disciplines. It’s not officially recognized by the university, but they continue to maintain a presence on the edge of the gorge at 116 Oak Avenue. So it’s one of those unusual organizations that straddles the functions of a fraternity and a co-op.

3. “the sphinx head tomb cornell” 12-18-2012

The original Sphinx Head tomb, at 900 Stewart Avenue, served as their windowless meeting chamber from 1926 to about 1969, when it was sold to a professor who owned the adjacent property. The next buyer built a house on the property in the style of the tomb, and from here, Carl Sagan purchased the house. So Carl Sagan lives on the site of the tomb, but he did not live in the tomb. It has been rumored that contemporary Sphinx Head constituents meet in a room within Sage Hall.

4. “argos inn ithaca” 12-16-2012

The Argos Inn is a small boutique hotel that recently opened on the east end of downtown. The building it inhabits (known as the Cowdry House) has a long and storied history – built in the 1780s, and used as a home of Ithaca’s political elite, the building was home to the world headquarters of Duncan Hines in the 1950s, and the Unity House nonprofit prior to its conversion to a small hotel. I hear it has a nice bar.

5. “what is more difficult to get in engineering or cals at cornell” 12-14-2012

In almost every circumstance I can imagine, the answer would be engineering. The gap widens if you’re an in-state resident, thanks to the ag school’s contract college status, versus the engineering school’s endowed status. But the two are different enough that they compete for different students usually. Some programs, like Biological/Environmental Engineering, may start off with students in CALS that transition into the engineering school. Others, like Atmospheric Science, allow majors from both schools, and have some general coursework in the engineering school. But otherwise, the interests of a CALS candidate and an Engineering candidate differ widely.

6. “heigth of tallest builiding at ithaca college” 12-07-2012

Officially, the  Events Center is the tallest at the school and in the county, at 174 feet.

11-24-2012 189





The Keyword Bar XVII

26 07 2012

…because the planning board discussed projects I’ve covered ad nauseum and Cornell hasn’t caught my attention in the past week.

1. “how many students from cornell have jump to there deaths” (7-25-2012)

Death of grammar aside, this would not be an easy number to calculate, since a number of cases over the years have been questionable as to whether the fall was accidental or intentional, and whether an individual would be considered a student (ex. a case of a former student). That being said, it seemed from casual queries back during the 2010 suicides that for CU students who were believed to have committed suicides via gorge jumping, it is likely in the mid double-digits. This number does not reflect the number of suicides in the gorges (which is much higher, as they tend to be a magnet for those who want to go out in dramatic fashion), the number of gorge deaths (including accidental falls, the number is almost certainly in the few hundreds since Cornell opened) nor suicides that occur by other methods. From 2006 to 2010, there were three student gorge deaths by suicide, but a variety of other events (note – the hyperlink has one inaccuracy – William Jacobson was an IC student who drowned in a retention pond).

2. “eastman hall at ithaca named after” (7-25-2012)

Eastman Hall, an IC dorm, was built in 1962-1963. From what I can tell, many of these early buildings, built during IC’s rapid expansion on South Hill from 1959-1968, are named for older administrators or large donors (for instance,  Talcott Hall is likely tied to a student life administrator named “Mrs. Talcott” in news articles from the 1930s). Although there is no concrete evidence, Eastman Hall is likely named for George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak in Rochester, and a well-known philanthropist, especially of music schools. Although he passed away in the 1930s, it’s possible his company, or some foundation attached to his estate, made a donation; or it could be the manifestation of a donation from when Eastman was alive.

3. “chi gamma at cornell university sorority” (7-22-2012)

Their history seems rather unusual. Chi Gamma formed in 1956, after dissociating from its national (Sigma Kappa) because it did not wish to abide by the national’s racist membership policies. They lived at 150 Triphammer, and the sorority was active until at least 1963, when it merged with Chi Omega (both were small houses, so they decided to join forces as an attempt to hold their own in the increasingly meager sorority rushes of the ’60s). The house itself became home to the new and all-female Triphammer Co-op the following year, which became co-ed in the 1990s.

4. what is the address of the llenroc mansion (7-22-2012)

100 Cornell Avenue, Ithaca NY. There are only two houses on the street, the other I believe is a private residence.

5. ithaca “collegetown” fire 1998 (7-23-2012)

It might seem odd that in a stretch of century-old buildings, 407 College Avenue (the Apollo Chinese Restaurant building) was built in 2000 (as seen on its cornerstone). Well, the simple reason is that the old building, a wood-frame structure built in 1887, burnt down in October 1998, leaving 51 students homeless. The fire was believed to have started in the kitchen of a first-floor restaurant. Emergency housing and aid was provided by the Red Cross and Cornell. Since the site is prime Collegetown real estate, it was redeveloped into a six-story building and opened in August 2000.





The Keyword Bar XVI

24 05 2012

1. “chi omega” “cornell university” closed -“alpha chi omega” (5-23-2012)

Yes, and no. Chi Omega was active at Cornell from 1917 – 1963, and then again from 1987-2003, when low membership caused it national to shut its doors. The house at 10 Sisson Place is now occupied by Sigma Alpha Mu. In contrast, Alpha Chi Omega, which was established at Cornell in 1984, it still active on campus.

2. “cornell store summer employment” (5-16-2012)

If four years ‘experience is any indicator, they’ve already filled up. A bare-bones student staff of five or six stays on during the summer along with the full time staff, and most of those are current student employees (the year I worked through the summer, we all were). In sum, you can check, but don’t hold your breath.

3. “johnson boatyard ithaca” (5-16-2012)

If this is in any reference to the big mixed-use project underway for the boatyard site, then I have good news – they are making progress and gave an update to the city planning board just last night. As soon as those minutes areuploaded, I hope to include them in my next “news tidbits” entry. These entries will be pulled directly from the minutes,  since the Ithaca Journal, in a responsible but unfortunate move, now charges for article access beyond a nominal number of articles (renewed each month). Also on the docket – a redevelopment project for apartments on Thurston Avenue.

4. “location of former ithaca hotel, hotel leonardo aurora st, ithaca”

Going back in time, the Hotel Leonardo was located at 105 N. Aurora Street – at least, back in 1965. The address today pops up a location in front of Sushi O Sake (which is 107 N. Aurora). A search indicates that section of Aurora was known as the “Casey Block“, which was built around 1904 (the Wanzer (corner) Block was built the following year), but the stretch was renovated and substantially rebuilt in the 1990s. The Casey Block could be the building that Viva Cantina is now in, or it could have been in the 1990s renovation (the architects refer the original building as “burned out“) that now sits at 107 N. Aurora.

5. “vine street cottages ithaca ny how much are townhouses”

I’ll just link to this previous entry, in an effort to limit unnecessary visits to the Ithaca Journal pages.  Mid-200,000s expected. Definitely not a place to buy for your child- student. 10 to choose from, four styles.

6. “new townhome proposal for route 96 ithaca”

That would be the Holochuck Homes project. The plan is for 106 townhomes, one or two-stories, clustered together near the road. Final approvals were granted last month. This is about the only image I could find of them, from a now-inaccessable article in the Elmira Star-Gazette:

7. “new apartments 600 W. Seneca street ithaca” (5-11-2012)

Okay, I maybe dropped the ball on this one. Back in the summer 2010, a 24-unit, 3-story apartment building was proposed for the northwest corner of Seneca and Meadow Streets by Iacovelli Properties. It only recently started construction, and I know there’s a billboard standing on the property, and it shows the design of the new building(s).  I know this because I saw it the last time I was in Ithaca I passed the property, but I was driving and did not have my camera in hand (a blessing to all other drivers on the road), I was unable to get a photo. If someone does gets a photo of the project and wants to email that in, I would be delighted.





The Keyword Bar XV

11 02 2012

The news has been slow lately (I’m not about to devote an entire entry to another new senior housing complex in Ithaca, and Cornell hasn’t done anything lately that I would write about on the blog) and life as a grad student in another city leaves me unprepared to write Cornell history articles. So now comes that special time to cherry pick search queries that brought people to this blog, and write blurbs about those.

“who is responsible for tep frat house maintenance at cornell” (2-11-2012)

If I was being a wiseass I’d say no one, considering its appearance. The house is private-owned, so it’s not the university. Many houses have contracts with local cleaning and maintenance companies; some have their members do minor routine cleaning (usually led by a brother elected or appointed as house manager), and may even have live-in “staff” for managing the more involved maintenance of the facility. However, it varies from chapter to chapter, and something as banal as maintenance usually isn’t publicized, so I don’t think you’ll find your answer online.

“johnson boatyard ithaca, condos” (2-10-2012)

This has actually been a rather hot topic, as I’ve had an abnormally high number of incoming queries regarding this project. The project still calls for 22 townhomes (11 to start construction initally, along with some commercial space), about 130-150 units in 5 5-story buildings to be built later phases, as well as more retail space. The grand total for gross square footage is about 292,000 sq ft. The planning board minutes don’t provide a whole lot more detail; the parking will be facing the road, so effectively it’s road -> parking lot -> buildings -> waterfront. Sidewalks, plazas, waterfront promenades, a proposed roundabout on the end of Pier Road, and a new pier. Definitely a large development as Ithaca projects go.

“cornell widow magazine” (2-10-2012)

The Cornell Widow was a humor magazine published by students at Cornell from October 1894 until 1962, when financial issues forced its shutdown. Apparently, the term widow meant “the girl who bowled over class after class of freshmen without really landing one”, so fairly similar to the “cougar” of today. The magazine routinely made fun of the Sun (The “Cornell Daily Sin“), and although its humor is consider fairly dated and/or offensive, its cover illustrations are highly regarded. The Cornell Lunatic sort-of took over the role of campus humor magazine starting in the late 1970s. An anthology titled “Cornell Widow: Hundredth Anniversary Anthology 1894-1994) was published in 1981.

“cornell campus” construction news nyc

This is a bit of a tough decision for me, but I am making the conscious decision to limit my discussion of the construction new grad campus in NYC. I may mention it in passing, and maybe way, way down the line, there will be an entry about the physical plant. But the focus of this blog has been the physical plant in Ithaca, not New York City, and I plan on keeping it that way for the foreseeable future.

“google i want the ithaca journal and stop been stupid” (2-8-2012)

Am I being trolled?

“cornell balch hall homicide” (2-5-2012)

No homicide has occurred in Balch Hall. You might be looking for lowrise 7’s double murder back in 1983.

“ithaca construction state street quarry” (2-6-2012)

That would be the Collegetown Terrace project.

“cornell plantations welcome center cost” (1-31-2012)

About $5.8 million, for about 18,000 sq ft.





The Keyword Bar XIV

5 11 2011

Honestly, I had not realized so much time had passed since my last entry, so I figured I’d cobble something together based off of my stalwart “Keyword Bar” entries.

1. “johnson boatyard ithaca zoning” (11-5-11)

Actually a fairly good question given the recent proposals for townhouses, and later additions, to the area in the the boatyard’s immediate vicinity. Conveniently, they city of Ithaca offers a zoning search tool based on address. The zoning in the 700 block of Willow Avenue is I-1 (light industrial), M-1 (a general clearing house for just about everything on a waterfront and up to 5 stories),  or P-1 (parks & rec) depending on the property.I am not aware if rezoning is required for the project, but it looks like that it will not be necessary if it falls into the marine zoning.

2. “gates hall expected date cornell” (11-5-11)

According to Cornell Facilities Services, tentative opening will be December 2013. When the official ceremony will be, probably sometime afterwards.

3. “cold stone creamery ithaca” (11-4-11)

Actually, this has come up no less than a dozen times in the past week or so. That actually worries me a little bit. I have fond memories of trips to Purity, even if I’d but ice cream for home, leave in my freezer six months, and then throw it out when it was badly freezer-burnt. But anyways, the new Cold Stone/Tim Horton’s  drive-thru is  in the southern part of the city near Buttermilk Falls (407 Elmira Road, to be specific). Not that I have a problem with Cold Stone itself, but I am a little cautious about the homogenization of Ithaca. I’d like to see the right combination between local flavor and well-known chains, but there’s not exactly a chart that says what the right combo is.

4. “cornell law school building renovations 50 million 2011″ (11-4-11)

I’ve been lax about mentioning this one, but not without reason. Cornell is planning significant renovations to the Law School, with a gross addition of about 43,000 sq ft, which for comparison’s sake, is similar to the size of Milstein Hall. However, most of it appears to be in below-street-level additions, with the most notable changes being a new entrance onto College Avenue, and a pronounced addition in the courtyard. Also, construction won’t start until summer 2012, and will go through to December 2014, which is only a few months before my five-year reunion. So, it’s largely hidden and way down the line, but it is on the drawing board.

5. “ithaca november snow” (11-2-11)

It happens. Frequently. 5.9 inches worth, on average. The past ten years were, going back in time, 0.0″, 0.0″, 6.6″, 1.2″, 0.6″, 2.3″, 1.6″, 1.0″, 9.6″, and 0.0″.  So, it’s an average with a rather spread-out distribution.








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