There's a little-known law that requires every single t-shirt and hoodie sold within the city limits of Ithaca, NY — a city in which I spent several years as a student — to be emblazoned with the slogan "Ithaca is Gorges" or some variation thereof. In summer, this seems like a cute idea. In winter, you realize you have sworn allegiance to a place that chose a collection of gaping, icy maws as its local symbol. It's currently around 13 degrees Fahrenheit there, expected to dip below zero over the weekend, with a hazardous weather warning for "bitterly cold Arctic air." Braving the half-frozen New York subways is nothing compared to wondering how many inches of ice will blanket Ithaca's steep, deadly hills on any given day.
Fortunately, Ithaca's tourism website has apparently already drawn its quota of damned souls this year. "That's it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?" reads an overlay right now. "Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit The Florida Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out." It's almost enough to make me feel better about missing out on the world's best used book sale, the local beer and ice cream, and the bragging rights that come with enduring some of the most hellish winters on the East Coast.