To the Editor:
Brick and mortar locations of cafes, restaurants, and pubs are often called “third places.” Places where we develop a sense of belonging away from home and work. Places where we foster associative connections filling in the cracks and crevices of our relationships. I look at our entire downtown as the collective third place — the only shared neighborhood that belongs to all of us. Here, social cohesion manifests.
In 1993 when my business partner and I were searching for the perfect American town in which to open Small World Coffee, Princeton made us put on the brakes. It boasted a healthy retail mix, internationally acclaimed institutions, commercial and residential walkability, access to NYC, and a diverse, cosmopolitan community. Most important? Princeton had huge heart and deep soul.
I was 27 years old when we opened, and I turn 55 any day now! I’ve spent half of my life living and working in this community. We loved raising our children here and benefited from this “third place” feeling in our downtown business district. Once our kids were old enough, they would walk up from Community Park School at the end of the day to meet me at work, have a snack, and then go on excursions in town on their own. The library!, jaZams!, Ice cream! All of these shop owners knew (and still know) our kids, and held a caring, watchful eye over them. more