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

Our March Madness poll is down to two matchups! Will Lynah, Slope sunsets, food trucks, or Collegetown bars prevail?

Editor’s note: The bracket is currently in its final round, and the poll at the bottom of this post is closed. Here’s the ballot for the final, running until 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 22!

By Corey Ryan Earle ’07

It’s the final countdown! We’ve reached the semifinals, with only four iconic Cornell traditions remaining. We once again had more than 1,000 votes cast. As to be expected, all four matchups were relatively close this round.

Despite having the biggest blowout in Round 1, “Hanging out with friends on Slope Day” finally met its match and lost to “Cheering for Big Red hockey at Lynah Rink,” 40% to 60%.

Given that Lynah, opened in 1957, predates the modern Slope Day tradition by several decades, it’s only fair that the longevity of Cornell’s hockey traditions helped it move on to the semifinals.

Although the Dairy Bar dates to 1949—and Cornell has been making ice cream on campus since at least 1880—sunsets are truly timeless.

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

“Watching the sunset on Libe Slope” took down “Eating ice cream at the Dairy Bar,” 59% to 41%.

But another delicious contender lived another day. “Savoring a late-night snack at Louie’s Lunch (or Hot Truck)” defeated “Trudging to class through the snow,” 55% to 45%, in the closest matchup of this round. Many of you may have fond memories of combining the two, trudging through the snow for the late-night snack.

Louie’s has been serving hungry Cornellians since circa 1918, while the Hot Truck was a staple from 1960 until its departure in 2018 (although the sandwiches are still available downtown at Shortstop Deli).

“Savoring a late-night snack at Louie’s Lunch (or Hot Truck)” defeated “Trudging to class through the snow,” 55% to 45%, in the closest matchup of this round.

Lastly, “Commiserating—or celebrating—with a friend at a Collegetown bar” was victorious over “Dressing completely wrong for the Ithaca weather,” 60% to 40%, removing the last weather-related contender from competition.

On to the Final Four! Our next two matchups are below, identifying who advances to the championship. Which Cornell tradition is the most iconic? You decide.

As a reminder, here are the basics:

• Voting occurs weekly in a series of matchups until we reach the championship final, with voting opening on April 15.

• The fourth round of two pairs is below, and you can download the full bracket here:

Corey’s March Madness Bracket 2024: Round 4

• Round Four voting runs from now until 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 15.

• Look for the results—and the next round of match-ups—that afternoon!

Corey’s March Madness: Cornell Traditions, Round 4

Published April 8, 2024


  1. Nancy Krablin, Class of 1969

    Slope Day did not exist… but lots of memories of Fall, IFC and Spring “party weekends”- many with great parties and concerts, but a few when an “import” stayed with me in the dorm and I spent the weekend “date free” studying chemistry in the basement of Dickson. In the late ’60’s, girls just did NOT go to party weekend concerts with the gals! Likely many DO enjoy Slope Day with friends from many campus associations!

  2. Nancy Krablin, Class of 1969

    .. perhaps add “significant progress” at the end?

  3. Steve Coulombe, Class of 1974

    Camping out in Barton Hall for hockey tix; “ONE, TWO, THREE, …, WE WANT MORE!!!” after we score.

    • Gary Felsten

      Hi Steve. I hope you’re doing great. Those were great times, even though I spent a week in the infirmary from an injury during a Barton Hall touch football game while waiting for tickets.

  4. Jay Stonefield

    Watching games at Lynah has morphed into watching games yearly at MSG in NYC and weekly at home on ESPN. The tradition of being a member of the Lynah Faithful is a lifetime experience!

  5. Donna Muffoletto Campbell, Class of 1972

    Libe Slope by far. So many more wonderful memories than sunsets: Sledding on cafeteria trays, hanging out with friends enjoying the view on a beautiful day, a late night rendezvous on a blanket, the perfect place to sit and read, hold a class outdoors, strum a guitar, have a study date, lay down your head and enjoy some quiet time, and countless other experiences enjoyed by every Cornellian.

  6. Diane Baillet Meakem, Class of 1961

    “Gracious living” in Risley! In the beautiful dining room of Risley, then a freshman girls’ dorm, we had lovely sit-down dinners on Wednesday nights and Sundays mid-day. We actually sang an all-encompassing grace. It was a great time to invite a guest for dinner.

    • Tom Guise, Class of 1966

      I dated a wholesome Risley Coed, but never was invited for dinner. Was it because I brought my dog with me when visiting?

  7. Fredric Chanania, Class of 1970

    Are you kidding? First year Cornellians would waste away without the Hot Truck (or at least not put on the Freshman Fifteen).

    • TJL, Class of 1977

      1973, still 18 year old drinking, overflow housing in the U-Hall common rooms, no way we survive until Saturday morning without the food truck

  8. Dan Walters, Class of 1979

    Tray sliding on Libe slope is certainly a practice common to many, many CU students, especially when the frosh were housed in the west campus u-hall. (I remember some frosh even attempting rolling down the hill inside a truck inner tube when there was no snow.)

  9. Jen Ong-Meyers, Class of 1986

    Don’t know if they still allow that, how about smiling at the dogs running around on the beautiful Arts quad – and/or while listening to the chimes…

  10. Chris Cheng, Class of 1987

    Dragon Day

  11. John Kaprielian, Class of 1986

    Sadly, the Hot Truck is no more, but I must vote for it nevertheless. Bob was a sweetheart, the PMPs and WGCs and SUIs were delicious, and it was a great place for late night camaraderie and commiseration. I salute it with a trip to Shortstop whenever I am in Ithaca.

    With my son involved in the Big Red Pep Band, I must vote for Lynah too; Never went to a game when I was at Cornell but have since, and it is always fun. Plus the hockey team is good!

  12. Adriane, Class of 1985

    I have great memories of the Phi Psi 500!

  13. William, Class of 1953

    Ah, yes, Lynah Rink. The first game played, to officially open the place was between the Rochester Amerks and the New York Rangers. I made sure I was the very first paying customer to enter the rink for the very first game. I even spoke with Gump Worsley, the Ranger net minder. It was a very special day, with two players being ejected from the game for fighting rather severely.
    Sunday dinners at Risley were a treat. Trudy Kehm invited me there many times, wonderful times (we married at Cornell in June, 1953). And ice cream at the Dairy Bar was a special treat…so many times. Bill Ash, Class of Feb.1953

  14. Doug Veit, Class of 1967

    What sun set?? Who? When? Where? Huh? All I remember are clouds relentlessly drifting in and over at 10 AM sharp. Every day! And, not leaving till well after sunset?

    Viewing sunsets? Must have been failing students who were taking remedial summer classes. I remember being told…repeatedly… that the sun shone in the summer. I might come to my 60th reunion just to see that phenomenon.

  15. Pat Adessa Irish, Class of 1965

    Of course, cheering on the Big Red and goalie Ken Dryden at Lyman will always be a treasured memory. But also was walking across Triphammer Bridge and seeing Beebe Lake and , eventually, the entire gorge turned emerald green. Quite a spectacle!

  16. Robert L Fabbricatore, Class of 1966

    I voted for the hot truck because on Opening Night, as a 15-year-old, I was on the truck with Bob Petrillose. We thought we would move around but when we parked on Stewart Ave across from a big apartment building (name forgotten) and in front of a fraternity house, news traveled fast and we were overwhelmed. We kept calling the restaurant, Johnny’s Big Red Grill for more supplies. The pizza was awful that first night, but people didn’t care because of the novelty, even though Louie’s Lunch Wagon already existed. We were just throwing money on the floor as we didn’t have a cash register.

  17. Barbara Redden Leamer, Class of 1957

    I remember getting a cone shaped paper apple cider from Louie’s Lunch food truck. We would drink part of it and the rest was placed on a ledge outside our window in Dixon 5, and would turn “hard”. Does anyone else remember doing that?

  18. Karen Wilk Rubin, Class of 1978

    Eating at the pancake house & looking at the beautiful waterfalls (even w/snow & icicles) then food shopping downstairs at the little grocery store there

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