Ithaca is freezing

Just how cold is Upstate New York? This February marks the 2nd coldest month in Ithaca history. 

According to data from the Northeast Climate Center here in Ithaca, this is the second coldest month the city has ever recorded with a whopping average temperature of 11.7 °F. Now that’s cold.

Photo courtesy of

According to the Ithaca Voice, only one month has been colder since records began in 1893. That was in February 1979, when the monthly average was only 11.3 °F.

It’s so cold that even those whose job it is to encourage visits to Ithaca are telling tourists they should probably make other plans.

Last week, web visitors on were prompted by a banner that read: “That’s it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?” These web visitors were then redirected to a Florida Keys tourism site.

The joke went viral after it was picked up by national news outlets such as NPR, CNN and USAToday.

Mayor Svante Myrick even appeared on the MSNBC show “Up With Steve Kornacki” to highlight tourism in Ithaca after the joke conquered the Internet.

“Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit the Florida Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now.”

But the message worked. According to Myrick, Florida tourism agencies have agreed to offer free hotel nights in Key West that could be raffled off to charities of Ithaca’s choice.

“We’re a hardy people and we’re a people that are used to the cold weather and used to trying to take it in stride,” Myrick said. I’m still struggling.

After the story, editors of the Ithaca Voice and the Florida Keys Keynoter agreed to a friendly competition to determine the following question: “Which is the better place to live, Upstate New York or South Florida?” These editorials can be found here.

Where would you want to live?


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