What’s the Most Iconic Cornell Tradition? Vote in the Final!

Is it cheering for Big Red hockey at Lynah Rink—or savoring a late-night snack at Louie’s Lunch (or Hot Truck)? You decide!

By Corey Ryan Earle ’07

The championship is here! With record turnout, more than 1,400 of you voted to determine the final two iconic Cornell traditions that are now vying for the title. Neither semifinal matchup was particularly competitive.

The timelessness of “Watching the sunset on Libe Slope” couldn’t stop the juggernaut of “Cheering for Big Red hockey at Lynah Rink,” losing 36% to 64%.

On the other half of the bracket, “Savoring a late-night snack at Louie’s Lunch (or Hot Truck)” defeated “Commiserating—or celebrating—with a friend at a Collegetown bar,” 63% to 37%.

Which brings us to our championship matchup: Lynah vs. Louie’s. Hockey vs. Hot Truck. Pucks vs. PMPs.

An illustration of Corey Earle with the text "Storytime with Corey" and a badge that says "March Madness"!

What do these results tell us about the Big Red experience? Are hockey and late-night snacks the most uniquely Cornellian—or are they simply the two shared experiences that most unite the Cornell community?

It’s hard to argue that cheering for a sports team or ordering from a food truck are unique to Cornell or even to college, so what makes these traditions feel so iconic?

Perhaps it’s that special spirit of the Lynah Faithful that surges through the crowd as they chant “Sieve!” after a Big Red goal.

Cornell men's ice hockey players embrace each other at the end of a game as fans cheer on nearby.
Will this beloved Big Red traditional prevail? (Cornell Hockey Association)

Perhaps it’s the wave of nostalgia that hits alumni as they remember standing in the cold with friends on Stewart Avenue and opening that paper bag filled with piping hot French bread, mozzarella, and pizza sauce.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Lynah Rink and the Hot Truck opened within three years of each other, in 1957 and 1960, respectively. Is a particular generation of Cornellians dominating the voting?

Are hockey and late-night snacks the most uniquely Cornellian—or are they simply the two shared experiences that most unite the Cornell community?

Although the Hot Truck is no longer a campus fixture, Louie’s Lunch on Thurston Avenue still is—and it dates back a century, making it one of the bracket’s traditions that every living Cornellian had the opportunity to experience while on the Hill.

(Louie’s is likely one of the longest-serving college food trucks in the country.)

So, which draws a larger audience? Lynah or Louie’s? Which is more iconic?

The Hot Truck in its longtime famed spot on Stewart Avenue
Or, will alumni vote with their stomachs—and fond memories of Hot Truck and Louie’s fare? (Provided)

By this time next week, we will have crowned the champion and determined the most iconic Cornell tradition.

As a reminder, here are the basics:

• Vote in the championship below, and you can download the full bracket here:

Corey’s March Madness Bracket 2024: Final

• Championship voting runs from now until 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 22, with the winner declared later that day.

Corey’s March Madness: Cornell Traditions, Final

Published April 15, 2024


  1. Mimi Petrillose

    definitely the Hot Truck

    • JohnK, Class of 1986

      Of course Mimi! Bob (and his subs) was the best!

    • David Colarossi, Class of 1990

      The Best!! What an easy choice!! It’s a pity that current Big Red will never know joy of a late night west campus run to the Hot Truck.

      • Brad, Class of 1980

        Well they can roll down the hill to the Short Stop but for someone who worked in the Hot Truck for 2 years it’s just not the same. Plus a tough walk back up from downtown.

  2. Jeff Faber, Class of 1990

    Cant vote for Louie’s — if you put hot truck first it would be a no brainer!

  3. Matthew Siegal, Class of 1984

    I was a 3 year season ticket holder back when you used to have to sleep out. I’ve been to every red hot hockey at the garden since they started. My daughter’s college essay started with the big red cup I got at the rink. But nothing in those 4 years on the hill gave me more consistent comfort that everything was going to be all right than a late night WGC. Long live the memory of Bob and his magical truck.

  4. Mario Villanueva, Class of 1998

    Louie’s Lunch for me. Never went to 1 hockey game in my years attending Cornell.

    But every week I had the Louie’s cheeseburger (w/ cheese whiz) fries and mozzarella sticks (possibly multiple days in a week).

  5. joshua albert, Class of 1985

    Tough choice!

  6. Eric Beane, Class of 1993

    Hockey at Lynah and then Bob’s Hot Truck, typically with some time at Rulloff’s, Dinos or theRoyal Palm Tavern in between, made for an amazing Friday or Saturday night.

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