Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 52
 
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
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Architectural Issues Need Examining Before Granting Nassau Inn Expansion

HELMUT SCHWAB
Westcott Road

Township Committee Never Considered Locating Public Library Outside Borough

STEVE FRAKT
Lake Drive

Terhune Orchards and the Bent Spoon Thanked for Helping School Gardens

FRAN McMANUS
Whole Earth Center
Nassau Street

Historical Importance of Battlefield Dictates Preservation of Hayfields

GEOFFREY PETERS
Battle Road

High School Choir Thanks Landau’s, Poinsettia Buyers for Their Support

CHARLES SUNDQUIST
Choral Director
Princeton High School


Architectural Issues Need Examining Before Granting Nassau Inn Expansion

Editor’s Note: The following is a copy of an Open Letter sent to Borough Council.

To the Editor:

Should the Nassau Inn’s six-story addition along Hulfish Street be approved? Developers always ask for the maximum, but settling for less still make money. What should be granted?

A visit to Hulfish Street provides insight.

Approaching Hulfish from the West, a variety of facades appear on its south side where the Nassau Inn wing would go. The first building, with the Bluemercury store, is not very high and, in its brick section, set back from the sidewalk, providing a feeling of pleasant roominess.

The worst is the very high slab of the Nassau Inn with its short side on Hulfish, built right up to the sidewalk and many stories straight up. In those days they had no commitment to community beauty and got away with everything.

Further down the street is a lower building with top floors under a sloping copper mansard roof, not too high.

In the distance, the view ends with the apartment building on Hinds Plaza, also not too high.

How are floors counted? Hulfish Street is lower than the Palmer Square entrance of the Inn. But on Hulfish, that lowest level, with rather low-ceiling stores, must be counted in.

Consequently, all parameters have to be addressed: set-back, number of floors from the ground up, ceiling height of floors, and shape of a roof.

The clear result: the new Nassau Inn wing should be set back as far as that brick building housing Bluemercury, providing for a roomy passage along Hulfish.

Ideally, the height would not exceed ground floor shops plus three levels, for a total of four or at most five levels, all floors being of standard height.

The floors above the third floor, counting from the ground, should slope back in the form of a copper mansard roof.

One more consideration: buildings are three-dimensional items. The facades designed by outstanding architects are not just flat surfaces. The new wing of the Nassau Inn must not necessarily be designed by Gehry, but a little three-dimensional design or décor would not hurt if well done. How about Petra in Princeton?

HELMUT SCHWAB
Westcott Road

Township Committee Never Considered Locating Public Library Outside Borough

To the Editor:

In her letter of December 19 to Town Topics, Gloria Erlich writes that “many of us are still angry” that Princeton Township agreed to locate the library downtown. As a member of Township Committee when that decision was made, I must point out that it is a myth that there was ever a possibility that the library could have been built at a location in the Township.

The reality is that Borough Council would never have agreed to move the library to the Township. Not only did the Council consider the library essential to the vitality of the downtown, but the Council had no incentive to seriously consider moving it. After all, as long as the two towns were deadlocked over the location, the existing library would just remain, its inadequacies notwithstanding, at its downtown Borough site.

So after many years of study and stalemate, the real choice before Township Committee was not one of location. The choice was between the status quo — a downtown library becoming ever more overcrowded and technologically antiquated — or moving forward with a new building at the same site that would allow the library to truly meet the needs of our entire community, as it has beyond our greatest expectations.

STEVE FRAKT
Lake Drive

Terhune Orchards and the Bent Spoon Thanked for Helping School Gardens

To the Editor:

The Bent Spoon has just delivered the latest batch of Princeton School Garden Ice Cream to the Whole Earth Center. The flavor is Terhune Orchards Caramel Apple Ice Cream, a rich apple ice cream streaked with handmade sea salt caramel.

Many thanks to Terhune Orchards for their generous donation of apples. All ingredients and labor for this month’s ice cream were donated by Terhune Orchards, the Bent Spoon, and Whole Earth Center. Shoppers at Whole Earth can get a pint for a $7 donation to the garden at Johnson Park School (plus 50 cents for the reusable plastic container).

Thanks to the generosity of our local farmers and our community, this joint Bent Spoon-Whole Earth project has raised more than $4,000 for the edible gardens at the Princeton Public Schools.

FRAN McMANUS
Whole Earth Center
Nassau Street

Historical Importance of Battlefield Dictates Preservation of Hayfields

To the Editor:

Unquestionably the three small hayfields adjacent to Princeton Battlefield Park should be preserved in perpetuity for their historical connection to the Battle of Princeton. Military historians consider the battle one of the pivotal engagements between the Continental Army and the British. It would constitute a travesty to turn the hayfields into a cluster of houses, considering their proximity and importance to the Battlefield.

The historical importance of the property notwithstanding, its value as a conservation locale for nature and the community is also undeniable. The fields are home to a considerable number of insect species which contribute to the overall beauty and health of our local environment. In this respect they are irreplaceable as they are perhaps Princeton’s last undisturbed hayfields. Anyone who harbors doubts about preserving the fields should visit them in midsummer and enjoy the fragrance of the buckwheat and hay in addition to numerous other wildflowers and native plant species.

To destroy the fields would impoverish our history and critical habitat for wildlife.

GEOFFREY PETERS
Battle Road

High School Choir Thanks Landau’s, Poinsettia Buyers for Their Support

To the Editor:

The Princeton High School Choir would like to thank the Princeton community for their support through the choir’s annual poinsettia sale, and recently, the Landau’s “Sock” Sale.

A special thanks is owed to Robert and Henry Landau for hosting this sale. Choir students serenaded shoppers outside the store with seasonal carols while Landau’s donated a percentage to the choir from each item sold. A big thank you also to Teresa Knipper, Nancy Papier, Carole Braun, and Gail Hyman, who headed these events, along with all the parents and students who helped make them a resounding success.

CHARLES SUNDQUIST
Choral Director
Princeton High School

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