Comparing Cornell’s & NYU’s social scene is pretty unfair (if you don’t know why, just find Ithaca on a map). Ithaca is a college town, half the population is Cornell & Ithaca College students. The other half are rednecks who have PhD’s… Lots of restaurants, some good bars, some crappy bars.
If you’re used to a big city, you may have culture issues, but otherwise I personally really like Ithaca (I’m from Montreal originally).
I’m also assuming you’re undergrad, as a grad students here don’t have time for social scenes…
As for the lifting scene, I’m not really sure what you mean by this. There are a bunch of mediocre gyms on campus, and one fantastic gym which I go to: 6 squat racks/deadlift platform combos, lots of bumper plates, 8 benches, free weights up to 125lbs, and not too packed at the right times of the day.
The football players, wrestlers and track team each have their own gyms, which I’m sure are incredible, but I’ve never been to one.
I’m doing my Masters of Engineering in EE (and did my undergrad in EE at Cornell as well). If you have any specific questions, lemme know.
I’m not sure if you’re interested in academics or not (your original post was non-academic) but the neurobio department here does really cool work, and is fairly famous if I remember right.