ITHACA, N.Y. – At some point during the long winter, did you find yourself out in the cold with one hand warm and toasty and the other exposed? If local preschool educator Meg Allen’s photos are any indication, it’s a common predicament for Ithacans.

“What is it with people in Ithaca losing their gloves?” she said chuckling.

Allen is a newcomer to Ithaca, settling here about two years ago after more than a decade working as a Montessori teacher in Seattle. When she and her husband had their first baby they wanted to be closer to family on the east coast, so Allen said they looked around for a small, progressive city to call home. They stumbled upon Ithaca and saw that the Stepping Stones Montessori Preschool was for sale, and they jumped at the opportunity.

Allen is now owner, director and lead teacher at Stepping Stones and is happily ensconced in downtown Ithaca life. She commutes by foot, pulling her son in a wagon– or walking slowly alongside while he tries to pull it.

“We walk everywhere,” Allen said.

It was on daily walks that Allen started to notice lonesome gloves and mittens in the darnedest places: a glittery glove on the end of a twig, a ski glove mounted on a fence post, a polka-dotted pair perched on a power box.

“I started taking pictures, and then I started looking for them more and started noticing them more,” she said.

They’d disappear with fresh snow and return during thaws, lay casually in the middle of lawns and roads or appear placed on benches, bushes and buildings.

Allen photographed fallen gloves and mittens where they lay, never repositioning them for the shot. Once, though, when she stopped to take a picture of a solo mitten on the sidewalk she realized it looked familiar. It was soon reunited with its better half in the Stepping Stones cubby area.

Allen photographed about 30 lost gloves in all, many belonging to little kids. She’s happy to report that as of the official start of spring, all the pairs in her son’s collection are intact. She did have a close call of her own, though: her dropped glove turned up, gently placed, on her front porch.

All images provided by Meg Allen.

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at or 607-391-0328.