April 18, 2019

NJ TRANSIT has accelerated the restoration of service on the Princeton Branch (Dinky) and Atlantic City Rail Line, announcing that both rail services will resume on Sunday, May 12.

The new date is nearly two weeks ahead of the most recent target date and will have these services operating prior to Memorial Day weekend.

“Our economy relies upon our residents getting where they need to go reliably and safely, and Governor Christie’s nearly decade-long mismanagement of NJ TRANSIT undermined the capacity of NJ TRANSIT to fulfill that responsibility,” said Governor Murphy. “That is why I’m so pleased to announce the early restoration of the NJ TRANSIT Atlantic City Rail Line and the Princeton Branch Dinky Line, which will allow our commuters to get to work, school, and back again, free of disruption. I applaud NJ TRANSIT’s leadership for their efforts to improve safety and restore service. Our residents and commuters deserve nothing less.”

Dinky service will resume with a schedule similar to its previous operation prior to the temporary suspension, which began last fall and was originally supposed to end in mid-January. The service was shut down for the installation of Positive Train Control throughout the system.

In advance of both the ACRL and Dinky resumption dates, test trains and rail equipment will begin to operate on the tracks.  The NJ TRANSIT Office of System Safety (OSS) urges the public to stay alert, remain cognizant that railroad equipment can operate at any time, in any direction and at various speeds.  Pedestrians and vehicles should only cross railroad tracks at designated crossings, while paying attention to crossing gates, lights and bells that warn of the potential presence of a train or other railroad equipment.

A release from NJ TRANSIT says that during the suspension, the agency installed 266 transponders, 17 poles, 20 wayside interface units, and nearly 60 miles of ground based network, including fiber optic cable to link all signal bungalows.  NJ TRANSIT also utilized the temporary suspension to perform state-of-good repair work on the ACRL by replacing 7.5 miles of track.  While NJ TRANSIT was at just 12% PTC completion in early 2018, the agency was able to meet this critical safety milestone in December 2018 to qualify for an alternative schedule for the remainder of the PTC installation process. NJ TRANSIT now has until the end of 2020 to ensure its PTC system is fully functional.

April 17, 2019

Music lovers lined up at Princeton Record Exchange on South Tulane Street on Saturday, the 12th annual National Record Store Day. The all-day celebration featured the release of hundreds of limited-edition vinyl titles. Participants share what they were hoping to find in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Emily Reeves) 

By Anne Levin

At a special work session Monday evening devoted to the new parking plan, Princeton Council focused on recommendations made by the Princeton Merchants Association (PMA) and discussed making some revisions to the controversial system recently put in place at downtown meters and kiosks. No formal action was taken.

Mayor Liz Lempert opened the meeting by thanking merchants for their suggestions. “We know this has not been the smoothest of rollouts,” she said. “We all care about our downtown. We want our merchants to be successful.”

Retail has suffered since the new meters and new rates were put into effect a few months ago, merchants have told the Council. The results of a PMA survey posted on its website show that the plan has had a “chillingly negative impact on the businesses in town through the holiday season and the first months of 2019,” members of the organization wrote in a letter to the editor of local news outlets.

Taking several of the PMA’s suggestions for changes into account, Lempert said the Council is considering extending the time limit in the central business zone from two to three hours. A ten-minute grace period will likely be added. Rates may be lowered slightly in the central zone, but increased in all-day parking spaces to offset that decrease, a move she called “really challenging. It’s important that we monitor usage and come back and take another review.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) and other local groups that work with recent immigrants are seeking support in the form of volunteers and financial contributions to help neighbors in need and at risk.

“We’re looking after people who don’t have a voice,” said LALDEF Board Chair and Princeton University Sociology Professor Patricia Fernandez-Kelly to a group of more than 30 supporters last week. “We’re part of a national movement. We’re in an aspirational country, and we represent those aspirations.”

Praising the efforts and commitment of the group of concerned citizens seeking to help, Fernandez-Kelly emphasized the necessity of overcoming barriers of generation, class, nationality, and language in order to make connections. “This speaks to basic American values of religion, solidarity, and hospitality,” she said. “It is important to join forces with recent immigrants.”

With an eye to current conflicts in Washington over immigration policy, Fernandez-Kelly warned, “We will see matters get worse before they get better.” more

By Anne Levin

At the YWCA Princeton’s annual Stand Against Racism event last year, CEO Judy Hutton made a disturbing discovery.

“I was talking to Lynne Azarchi, the executive director of Kidsbridge, and she told me that bullying and racism actually can manifest itself at age 3,” Hutton said this week. “That blew me away.”

Hutton started to pay attention at the YWCA’s preschool classes, at which some 40 3-year-olds are enrolled. There are 84 children in the entire program, from infants to 5-year-olds.  “I saw that the teachers were working on this,” she said. “It’s real. So I told Lynne, we need to do a workshop on this for kids and for parents.”

The resulting collaboration with the Ewing-based Kidsbridge Tolerance Center will introduce an anti-bullying program to the YWCA’s preschool next month, for children and their parents. The program will include several interactive activities on how to prevent bullying, from drawing to listening skills. “We’ve always done anti-racism work here,” said Hutton. “It just makes a lot of sense.”

Kidsbridge, it turns out, has been a presence in Princeton for several years. Fourth-grade students in all four public elementary schools have been taking part in programs either at Kidsbridge’s headquarters or in the schools themselves.

“We either work with them here or in their classrooms, wherever they are comfortable,” said Azarchi. “I would like to do a lot more. It would be great to do preschool, second grade, fourth grade, sixth grade, and more.” more

“GEM OF PRINCETON”: Marquand Park will be celebrating the grand opening of its Children’s Arboretum on Saturday, April 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The festivities will include a ribbon cutting with the mayor, a treasure hunt for families, and free trees given out by the Marquand Park Foundation, which was recently honored with an Award of Recognition from the town of Princeton. (Photo courtesy of the Marquand Park Foundation)

By Donald Gilpin

The Marquand Park Foundation, a nonprofit that works with the town to take care of the park, received an Award of Recognition at last week’s Princeton Council meeting and is planning to celebrate next week.

“We owe a lot to them,” said Council President Jenny Crumiller. “Anyone who’s been to Marquand Park knows how magical and beautiful it is. This organization has caused the park to be the way it is.”

The park and the foundation will be celebrating with the grand opening of its Children’s Arrboretum on Saturday, April 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the park on Lover’s Lane. The Foundation will be giving out free little trees, and the festivities will include a ribbon cutting with Mayor Liz Lempert, a treasure hunt for families, and the opportunity to plant a tree.

Participants can plant their tree in the arboretum’s raised beds or they can choose to plant it somewhere else in the park. They can also take their tree home and plant it in their own yard.  more

New App for Communiversity Designed by PHS Student

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) Communiversity ArtsFest has its own app this year, designed by Caleb Dubow, Princeton High School junior and president of the school’s ilaunch club.

The new app is designed to be user-friendly for information on booths, performers, and activities, with a map to help navigate and locate different events. There is also helpful information on public transportation, parking, bathrooms, and more.

Dubow and ilaunch club advisor Grace Elia worked closely with ACP to design and implement the app, which will make getting to and getting around Communiversity more convenient for the thousands of visitors who attend each year. more

By Anne Levin

At a conference in the Trenton courtroom of Judge Paul Innes on Monday between the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and lawyers for all of the parties involved in Rider University’s plan to sell Westminster Choir College, no testimony was heard and no rulings were made.

But Bruce Afran, the attorney representing parties opposed to the sale, said that although the meeting was routine, he was encouraged by the state’s actions. Rider, which merged with Westminster in 1991, now wants to sell the choir college and its 22-acre Princeton campus to the Kaiwen Education Company of China. more

By Anne Levin

At a presentation made to Princeton Council during the April 8 meeting of the governing body, the Princeton Fire Department provided an update on efforts to enlarge the force and transition from all-volunteer to a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters.

Bob Gregory, the town’s director of emergency services, summarized the findings of a report by The Rodgers Group, which made some 19 recommendations. Among them were updating fire reporting software, which is already underway, Gregory said. The consultants’ additional recommendations include instituting a formalized mentoring process for new members, initiating a formalized exit process, engaging a recruiter, and establishing a youth academy program. more

Princeton Nursery School dedicated its kitchen to former board president Janet Kuenne (center) through donations by Leslie and Chris Kuenne (left) and Jim Burke from the The Burke Foundation, far right. The 90-year-old school serves some 37,000 meals a year to 40 preschoolers. (Photo by Weronika Plohn)

…the consensus today is that the universe is speckled with black holes furiously consuming everything around them.
—Dennis Overbye, New York Times, April 11, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

The black hole has become Dennis Overbye’s muse. He holds it to the light like a diamond flashing metaphors and analogies. Thanks to Overbye, the grim morning ritual of the New York Times became a joyous reading experience last Thursday. For a glorious half hour, his word-drunk response to the phenomenon consumed the gloom of the Trump-driven news cycle and put the universe back in balance.

The day began with a cat, a sixteen-year-old black and white female who expects me to sit on the chaise by the window with her every morning and read to her from whatever book is handy, W.S. Merwin’s poetry, Green Eggs and Ham, King Lear, she doesn’t care, she’s not picky as long as I read quietly and her stomach gets rubbed, gently, gently, at the same time. On the morning in question, the book was Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and as fate would have it, I was reading the first paragraph under the heading “On the Afterworldly.” Which is how I went from Nietzsche’s view of the world as “the work of a suffering and tortured god” to the Times’ front page photograph of “a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it”; from the Overman’s “colored smoke before the eyes of a dissatisfied deity” to the  Overbye’s “smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity.” Says Zarathustra: “Good and evil and joy and pain and I and you —  colored smoke this seemed to me before creative eyes …. Drunken joy it is for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and to lose himself.”

A few minutes later it’s drunken joy for the sufferer of the news of the day to read of “Monster runaway stars,” “the behemoth of nothingness,” “the doughnut of doom,” and “the unknown forces that reign at the center, where theoretically, the density approaches infinity and smoke pours from nature’s computer.”

Thus spoke Overbye, and on the facing page of the Times a feast of subheads: “A black hole is a hungry beast,” “Black holes can sing,” “Black holes are stellar tombstones,” “‘A black hole has no hair,’” “A black hole is not forever.” more

The Westminster Conservatory at Nassau series will continue on Thursday, April 25 at 12:15 p.m. with En famille, a program designed to observe the centennial of the death of Claude Debussy. The recital includes a spoken monologue, readings, and selections from Debussy’s music for piano, performed by Westminster faculty member Mary Greenberg.

The recital will take place in the Niles Chapel of Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, and is open to the public free of charge. To avoid a conflict with Holy Week observances, this recital takes place on the fourth, rather than the usual third Thursday of the month. more

“GOLDEN BUDDHA”: Helene Plank’s button and bead mosaic will be featured in the “Mercer Family and Friends 2019” art show at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System. The show runs May 2 through May 30, with a reception on May 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System will feature the exhibit “Mercer Family and Friends 2019” from May 2 through May 30. A reception is scheduled for Sunday, May 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. The library is located at 2751 Brunswick Pike (Route 1) in Lawrenceville, at the corner of Route 1 and Darrah Lane.

The common thread among the artists in the exhibit is that all of them were associated with Mercer County Community College. The show features the watercolors of Clara Sue Beym and Margaret Simpson, along with Giancarla Macaluso’s sculptures. Helene Plank’s jewelry and button mosaics will be on display. Margaret Woo will also be exhibiting her jewelry. Connie Cruser will display her works in paper filigree and other mixed media. The show will also feature acrylic paintings by Bill Plank and John A. Brecko Jr.

For more information, call (609) 883-8294, email lawprogs@mcl.org or visit www.mcl.org.

“MANHATTAN SKYLINE FROM THE RIVER”: This watercolor by John Marin is featured in “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work,” on exhibit at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through May 26.

The artistic evolution of an iconic American modernist is the focus of an exhibition now open at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work” explores the artist’s intuitive draftsmanship and innovative work in watercolors. A revelatory look at Marin’s work, the exhibition affords a unique opportunity to vicariously watch an artist inspired by his surroundings and responding through drawing.

“Drawing was central to Marin’s artistic process, and he made thousands throughout his career,” said Ann Prentice Wagner, Ph.D., curator of drawings at the Arkansas Arts Center, who organized the exhibition. “These working drawings give us invaluable insights into Marin’s creative process. The on-the-spot sketches are priceless. They capture the artist’s initial ideas about subjects he went on to paint or depict in prints — like the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York skyline.”

“The works featured in ‘Becoming John Marin’ provide both beautiful and exciting examples of Marin’s rigorous drawing practice, and visitors will delight in seeing how he translated familiar regional sites into dynamic compositions,” added Christine Giviskos, Ph.D., curator of prints, drawings, and European art at the Zimmerli. more

FINDING REDEMPTION: In “The Mustang,” a violent criminal (Matthias Schoenaerts) learns to tame his anger by participating in a program that pairs inmates with wild mustangs. (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

By Kam Williams

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) has too quick a fuse to think before he acts. That’s why he’s done a dozen years and counting in a maximum-security prison for impulsively delivering a brutal beating that left his victim permanently brain-damaged. 

Even while incarcerated, Roman never learned to control his temper. Consequently, he’s voluntarily spent the bulk of his time in solitary confinement.

A shot at rehabilitation arrives when Myles (Bruce Dern), a salty old horse whisperer, offers Roman a spot in his program pairing inmates with wild mustangs. The hope is that each participant will learn to tame his own raging inner soul while bonding with his stallion. more

MOVING ON: “I’ve had many wonderful and loyal clients over the years. It has been a great experience, and although Chelsea Crimpers is closed, I still plan to work at what I enjoy doing.” Bob Lovuolo, longtime owner of Chelsea Crimpers hair salon, is proud of his years at the salon, and looks forward to some time off while still being involved in the hair industry.

By Jean Stratton

For more than 45 years, Chelsea Crimpers on Spring Street helped scores of customers look their best. Whether a special style, cut, or color change was needed, owner Bob Lovuolo and his staff could be counted on to provide expert service.

After so many years, Lovuolo decided to close Chelsea Crimpers and take a semi-retirement. “I had an opportunity to sell the building,” he says, “and after all these years, it seemed like a good time to make a change. I still plan to keep my hand in however, and I will be affiliated with the EYStaats & Company Haircutters at 10 Moore Street. I’ll be available for my clients at least two days a week, on Tuesday and Thursday.”

His longtime associate and stylist Armida Bella will also join him at EYStaats. more

RISING FORCE: Princeton University men’s volleyball player George Huhmann, left, goes up for the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Huhmann contributed 11 kills, four blocks, and an ace as Princeton defeated Penn State 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-20). The triumph capped the best regular season in program history as the Tigers improved to 15-12 overall and 13-1 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA), winning the outright league title and earning home court in the playoffs. Huhmann, for his part, was named the Uvaldo Acosta Memorial EIVA Player of the Year. Princeton will host fourth-seeded St. Francis in a semifinal contest on April 18 with victor advancing to the title game on April 20 against the winner of the other semi pitting Penn State against George Mason. (Photo by Beverly Schaefer, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

George Huhmann is a unique player and he has helped the Princeton University men’s volleyball team to a unique accomplishment.

The Princeton junior had 27 kills and 10 blocks over two games as the Tigers wrapped up their first Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) regular-season championship with a weekend sweep of St. Francis and Penn State.

Princeton secured the outright title and the chance to host the EIVA playoffs when it avenged its only loss in the EIVA with a 25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 25-23 win over St. Francis on Friday. Princeton then improved to 15-12 overall and 13-1 in the EIVA with a 3-0 win (25-19, 25-16, 25-20) over Penn State on Saturday. more

GO TIME: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Alex Argo, middle, guards the crease in a game last year. Last Saturday, senior defender Argo picked up two ground balls and had two caused turnovers to help Princeton defeat Harvard 14-12 as the program held its annual Senior Day celebration. The 10th-ranked Tigers, now 9-3 overall and 3-1 Ivy League, head to Philadelphia on April 17 for a clash with No. 12 Penn (9-3 overall, 3-1 Ivy) and then play at Yale (6-6 overall, 1-4 Ivy) on April 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Alex Argo hasn’t scored a point in her four seasons on the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team, but she has established herself as a key performer for the Tigers.

Starting on defense from her freshman campaign in 2016, Argo has been a steadying presence on the Princeton back line, gobbling up ground balls, causing turnovers, and directing traffic.

Along the way she has developed some deep bonds with her six classmates on the squad, who have all emerged as valuable contributors in their own right. more

HEAVY DUTY: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity eight churns through the water in a recent regatta. Last Saturday, Princeton’s top boat defeated Penn and Columbia at Overpeck Lake Park in Leonia, N.J., to earn the Childs Cup, the oldest collegiate rowing trophy. The seventh-ranked Tigers, now 4-0, host third-ranked Harvard on April 20 in the race for the Compton Cup. (Photo by Beverly Schaefer, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Losing some senior stalwarts from its top boats due to graduation, the Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing team entered this spring in a state of flux.

But with a group of returning veterans seizing opportunity, the proud program is on course for another superb campaign.

“So far it has been going well; we graduated some real talent and some significant role players,” said Princeton head coach Greg Hughes, whose top boat is 4-0 and ranked seventh nationally.

“Whenever that happens, there is an opportunity there and there are some roles that open up. It is an interesting time seeing how people step up. A lot of the guys might have been playing a more supporting role with those guys and now they are filling those shoes. It has been fun to watch, lots of guys have done a great job stepping up and seizing that opportunity.” more

GIVING DIRECTION: Princeton High softball head coach Marissa Soprano, right, instructs one of her players during a recent game. Going with a number of young players, PHS has taken it lumps in the early going this spring. The Tigers, now 0-6, host Hamilton on April 17 and then play at Notre Dame on April 18, at WW/P-South in April 22 and at Steinert on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Marissa Soprano chattered constantly to the players on her Princeton High softball team as it hosted Allentown last Friday afternoon.

PHS head coach Soprano positioned her players, gave them fielding and hitting tips, and told them to take a deep breaths as part of her running commentary.

“The team is really new, we are doing a lot of teaching this year,” said Soprano, whose starting lineup against the Redbirds included three freshmen and two sophomores.

“We are just trying to teach them the basics of the game. It is hard when you play against girls who have been playing long time.” more

BIG BEN: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Ben Quinones carries the ball up the field in recent action. Junior defender Quinones has emerged as leader on the PHS back line this season. Last Saturday, Quinones chipped in a goal and an assist and scooped up six ground balls to help PHS defeat South Brunswick 12-6 and post its second straight victory. The Tigers, now 3-5, host WW/P-N on April 18 and Hightstown on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mired in a five-game losing streak coming into its game against visiting Robbinsville last Thursday, the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team was looking for a fresh start.

“It was ‘take it like the first game of the season and just play with fire,’” said PHS junior defender Ben Quinones. “We wanted to come out calm and collected but intense.”

Displaying intensity at both ends of the field, the Tigers jumped out to a 5-1 lead over the Ravens nearly 15 minutes into the contest.

“It is not something we have been accustomed to this season; it was something we were all excited to see happen,” said Quinones. more

FIELD DAY: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ellie Schofield races up the field in a game last year. Last Friday, junior star Schofield tallied four goals and an assist to help PDS defeat Hopewell Valley 19-14. The Panthers, who improved to 5-3 with the win, host Hun on April 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team tied with Pennington 5-5 late in the first half last Wednesday, Ellie Schofield took matters into her own hands.

The PDS junior attacker/midfielder scored twice in the last five minutes of the half to help spark a 4-1 run as the Panthers built a 9-6 lead at halftime.

“We were really controlling the draw,” said Schofield. “Once we got the draw that led to our offense and scoring off the fast break.” more

ALL IN: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Ally Cowan, left, goes after the ball last Saturday against Blair. Junior midfielder Cowan scored five goals in a losing cause as Hun fell 13-11 to the Buccaneers. The Raiders, now 2-4, play at Princeton Day School on April 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ally Cowan singlehandedly kept the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team in the game early on as it hosted Blair last Saturday.

Junior transfer Cowan scored all three goals for Hun as it fell behind 7-3 midway through the first half.

“I know that it is better if I can take control and just be a leader on the field,” said Cowan. “That is the best for the whole team.”

The rest of the Hun team, though, came alive as it went on a 4-3 run to make it a 10-7 game at half.

“Once we got a few goals in, that brought the energy and everybody was just hyped up,” said Cowan. “We could move forward from there.”

The contest turned into a nail-biter down the stretch as Hun narrowed the gap to 10-9 and 11-10 on goals by Cowan only to end up losing 13-11 as it moved to 2-4 on the season. more

April 10, 2019

The Princeton Environmental Commission and The Watershed Institute hosted a trash cleanup on Saturday morning at Grover Park near the Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street. Participating volunteers share their favorite Princeton-area parks in this week’s Town Talk on Page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

The discovery Monday of deteriorated structural conditions on the Alexander Street Bridge over Stony Brook necessitated closing of the heavily traveled thoroughfare to allow for emergency repairs. The project is expected to take at least 10 days, depending on weather conditions.

Motorists trying to drive in and out of Princeton during the Tuesday morning rush hour were delayed at several locations because of the rerouted traffic.

Mercer County sent out a notice Monday afternoon saying all traffic on the bridge is suspended. A detour directs motorists to use Route 1, Washington Road, and Faculty Road.

This is not good news for the commuters already inconvenienced by the closure of the Dinky train shuttle, which has been replaced since last fall by buses. Those buses use Alexander to ferry passengers between the Princeton and Princeton Junction train stations. more