Ithaca, New York

With the depression of 1837, the Ithaca and Owego RR was re-organized as the Cayuga & Susquehanna. It was re-engineered with switchbacks downhill into Ithaca in the late 1840s. In the late 20th century, a short section of its abandoned right-of-way in the city and town of Ithaca was used for the South Hill Recreation Way.

After World War II, the Langmuir Research Labs of General Electric developed as a major employer; the defense industry continued to expand. GE's headquarters were in Schenectady, New York, to the northeast in the Mohawk Valley.

Hemlock Gorge along Fall Creek before emptying into Beebe Lake on Cornell's campus

Ithaca was founded on flat land just south of the lake — land that formed in fairly recent geological times when silt filled the southern end of the lake. The city ultimately spread to the adjacent hillsides, which rise several hundred feet above the central flats: East Hill, West Hill, and South Hill. The Cornell campus is loosely bounded to the north and south by Fall and Cascadilla Creeks, respectively.

Winter is typically characterized by freezing temperatures, cloudy skies and light-to-moderate snows, with some heavier falls; the largest snowfall in one day was 26.0 in (66 cm) on February 14, 1914. But the season is also variable; there can be short mild periods with some rain, but also outbreaks of frigid air with night temperatures down to −10 °F (−23 °C) or lower. Summers usually bring sunshine, along with moderate heat and humidity, but also frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Nights are pleasant and sometimes cool. Occasionally, there can be heatwaves, with temperatures rising into the 90 °F (32 °C) to 95 °F (35 °C) range, but they tend to be brief.

There were 10,287 households, out of which 14.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 19.0% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 71.2% were non-families. 43.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 9.2% under the age of 18, 53.8% from 18 to 24, 20.1% from 25 to 44, 10.6% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.2 males.

The term "Greater Ithaca" encompasses both the City and Town of Ithaca, as well as several smaller settled places within or adjacent to the Town:

In December, 2005, the City and Town governments began discussing opportunities for increased government consolidation, including the possibility of joining the two into a single entity. This topic had been previously discussed in 1963 and 1969. Cayuga Heights, a village adjacent to the city on its northeast, voted against annexation into the city of Ithaca in 1954.

Ithaca has tried to maintain its traditional downtown shopping area with its pedestrian orientation; this includes the Ithaca Commons pedestrian mall and Center Ithaca, a small mixed-use complex built at the end of the urban renewal era. Another commercial center, Collegetown, is located next to the Cornell campus. It features a number of restaurants, shops and bars, and an increasing number of high-rise apartments. It is primarily frequented by Cornell University students.

As a growing urban area, Ithaca is facing steady increases in levels of vehicular traffic on the city grid and on the state highways. Outlying areas have limited bus service, and many people consider a car essential. However, many consider Ithaca a walkable and bikeable community. One positive trend for the health of downtown Ithaca is the new wave of increasing urban density in and around the Ithaca Commons. Because the downtown area is the region's central business district, dense mixed-use development that includes housing may increase the proportion of people who can walk to work and recreation and mitigate the likely-increased pressure on already-busy roads as Ithaca grows. The downtown area is also the area best-served by frequent public transportation. Still, traffic congestion around the Commons is likely to progressively increase.

GADABOUT Transportation Services, Inc. provides demand-response paratransit service for seniors over 60 and people with disabilities. Ithaca Dispatch provides local and regional taxi service. In addition, Ithaca Airline Limousine and IthaCar Service connect to the local airports.

Lehigh Valley Railroad station, built in 1898, with modern refurbishment: now a Chemung Canal Trust Company (Elmira) bank branch
A streetcar passes Eddy Gate, the main entrance to Cornell University at the time