Utne Reader once named Ithaca the most enlightened city in America, although under the eight-year regime of Alan Cohen between 1996 and 2004, Ithaca indulged in an orgy of big-box development, and the concomittent indebtedness and increases in traffic and pollution.
Ithaca is served by Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport.
Ithaca sits at the southern tip of Lake Cayuga, one of New York's five Finger Lakes. Due to the Ithaca Gun Company's practice of dumping heavy metals which leached into the lake for decades, Lake Cayuga is almost lifeless and too polluted to swim or fish in. Cornell has recently begun to draw cold water from the 500 foot deep lake bottom to cool its buildings, to be returned to the top of the lake, despite strong protests from the surrounding community. The ecological impact of this policy is not known.