A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 06, 2017
Ithaca: “Ithaca is 10 square miles, surrounded by reality”

“Washington, DC is 12 square miles bordered by reality” is a saying that dates to the 1960s. “"Ithaca is 10 square miles, surrounded by reality” is a saying about the city in Tompkins County, New York that has been printed on bumper stickers and T-shirts.

“To paraphrase a local businessman, ‘Ithaca is 15 square miles, surrounded by reality’” was published in the Ithaca (NY) Journal in 1993. “Many citizens, especially those living in the hinterlands of Tompkins County, would agree with this description: ‘Ithaca is 10 square miles surrounded by reality’” was published in the Ithaca (NY) Journal in 2003.


Wikipedia: Ithaca, New York
Ithaca /ˈɪθəkə/ is a city in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region of New York. It is the seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area. This area contains the municipalities of the Town of Ithaca, the village of Cayuga Heights, and other towns and villages in Tompkins County. The city of Ithaca is located on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York. It is named for the Greek island of Ithaca.

Ithaca is home to Cornell University, an Ivy League school of over 20,000 students, most of whom study at its local campus.[2] Ithaca College is located just south of the city in the Town of Ithaca, adding to the area’s “college town” atmosphere. Nearby is Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3). These three colleges bring tens of thousands of students who increase Ithaca’s seasonal population during the school year. Some students settle in the area after graduation. The city’s voters are notably more liberal than those in the remainder of Tompkins County or in upstate New York, generally voting for Democratic Party candidates.
(...)
Area
• City 6.1 sq mi (16 km2)
• Land 5.5 sq mi (14 km2)
• Water 0.6 sq mi (2 km2)
• Urban 24.581 sq mi (63.66 km2)
• Metro 474.649 sq mi (1,229.34 km2)

14 May 1993, Ithaca (NY) Journal, “Letters,” pg. 8A, col. 5:
To paraphrase a local businessman, “Ithaca is 15 square miles, surrounded by reality.”
(...)
Peter Hansen
Danby

21 August 2003, The News Press (Fort Myers, FL), “Add ‘healthy’ to region’s accolades” by Francesca Donlan, pg. E1:
- Ithaca, N.Y./Best in the Northeast: Surrounded by farmland, wineries, blue hills and state parks, Ithaca has little polluting industry. As a local bumper sticker reads, “Ithaca: 10 square miles surrounded by reality.”

20 September 2003, Ithaca (NY) Journal, “Three honest people,” pg. A12:
LAUREL: From Jack Hyde of Dryden. To The Journal for the editorial on Sept. 3 that addresses and takes to task the “flattery” of images of Ithaca that appeared in the September/October issue of “Organic Style” magazine. There is one point that you did not mention. Many citizens, especially those living in the hinterlands of Tompkins County, would agree with this description: “Ithaca is 10 square miles surrounded by reality.”

Google Books
Citizens Untapped:
A hidden resource role of water quality citizen volunteer monitoring groups in watershed management

By Mona S. Barghout
M.S. thesis
Cornell University, May, 2004
Pg. VII:
Ithaca =12 square miles surrounded by reality! (Anon.)

Google Books
EcoVillage at Ithaca:
Pioneering a Sustainable Culture

By Liz Walker
Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers
2005
Pg. 23:
Bumper stickers proudly proclaim “Ithaca is Gorges” and “Ithaca, NY: 10 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality.”

Google Books
Ithaca College
By Sarah Hofius, et al.
Pittsburgh, PA: College Prowler
2005
Pg. 14:
Ten Square Miles Surrounded By Reality: Another common bumper sticker, referring to lthaca’s unique atmosphere. People will call Ithaca “the bubble,” referring to the idea that Ithaca is in its own world.

Google Books
Greetings from the Finger Lakes:
A Food and Wine Lover’s Companion

By Michael Turback
New York, NY: Ten Speed Press
2005
Pg. 117:
A local bumper sticker suggests that Ithaca is “Ten square miles surrounded by reality,” and most residents like it that way. A small town at heart, politically correct Ithaca is a crazy quilt of academics from Cornell University and Ithaca College, artists, musicians, massage therapists, and progressive entrepreneurs—more often wearing Birkenstocks and driving Volvos than not.

Twitter
tonyaengst‏
@tonyaengst
Replying to @nancydavis
@nancydavis - fun article. Ithaca is also called “ten square miles, surrounded by reality.” I wish we could spread out that ten sq miles.
6:33 AM - 14 Nov 2008

Google Books
The American College Town
By Blake Gumprecht
Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press
2008
Pg. 350:
Austin, Boulder, Cambridge, Iowa City, Ithaca, and Madison are also known as “[Insert number] square miles surrounded by reality.

Fusion magazine
February 8, 2009
Ten Square Miles, Surrounded by Reality
Abel McSurely-Bradshaw
ESSAYS
Ithaca, New York has to be one of the strangest cities in America.  It’s most easily recognizable for its schools—Cornell University and Ithaca College.  It is known for its liberalism, its waterfalls and a nationally known music festival called Grassroots.  Much like Boston, most of its population consists of college students. Come summertime, half the city is empty.

Ithaca.com
Best of Ithaca 2010: What does ‘15 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality’ mean?
Sep 30, 2010

OCLC WorldCat record
Surrounded by reality : 101 things you didn’t know about Ithaca, NY (but are about to find out)
Author: Michael Turback
Publisher: New York : History Company, 2012.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Saturday, May 06, 2017 • Permalink