July 20, 2016

Three police officers were killed and three others wounded last Sunday morning in an ambush in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ten days earlier, five officers had been shot dead and 12 injured during an otherwise peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. more

Prof in Educ_Sandy Bing

ADVICE FOR EDUCATORS: Sandy Bing, educational leader for over five decades at Hun, PDS, Stuart, and elsewhere, shares his thoughts on students, teachers, administrators and the world of education. (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

Sandy Bing started his career in education in 1960 as a chemistry and biology teacher at the Hun School, later becoming dean of students, then director of admissions. In 1969 he took over as head of the Upper School at Princeton Day School.  more

Theater rev 7-20-16

In pursuing its theme of “the Other,” Princeton Summer Theater (PST), last weekend opened its third production of the season, a funny, philosophical, verbally dazzling production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s 1966 masterpiece spin-off from Shakespeare’s Hamletmore

Oscar October (his stage name) introduced Spacetime Riffs, a local improvisational theater group of about ten performers, to the assembled audience at a recent performance.

“It’s not stand-up comedy,” he said. “It’s not set piece comedy. It’s unique. It’s improv.” And just to make sure the spectators were fully prepared, “I’m pretty sure we’ll offend everybody before the evening is over.” more

July 13, 2016

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Construction continues along Witherspoon Street, on the former Princeton hospital site, as Avalon Princeton prepares to welcome its first residents next month. The rental community, offering studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses, has generated “lots of interest” and will be completed over the next 8-9 months. (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

Avalon Princeton, on the former site of Princeton Hospital on Witherspoon Street, is looking forward to welcoming its first residents next month, with construction to complete the 280-unit rental community scheduled through next spring.

The new development will include studio apartments starting at $2258 per month, one-bedroom apartments at $2735, two-bedroom apartments from $3135, as well as three-bedroom apartments and two- and three-bedroom townhouses. (There are additional fees for application, amenities, security, parking, pet rent, and storage.)  more

A week-long program of “community, faith, hope and history” will celebrate the Witherspoon-Jackson community, black history, and black families of Princeton from August 6-14.

In recognition of the recent designation of the Witherspoon-Jackson community as Princeton’s 20th historic district, the annual Joint Effort Safe Streets Summer Program will include recognition of Paul Robeson and Jim Floyd, a salute to educators (“We Must Not Be Forgotten”), a concert with Grace Little and a local church choir, a salute to seniors and black families (“The Shoulders We Stand On”), discussion forums, workout and conditioning sessions, a block party/music festival, walking tours, and a clean-up project.  more

Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) is stepping up its efforts to halt Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) faculty housing construction, with appeals planned to overturn recent decisions approving the project.

Claiming that the Institute has been “handing out misinformation to the public,” Kip Cherry, vice president of the PBS, stated, “PBS intends to continue its appeals and plans to file a new lawsuit over the coming weeks.” On June 22, the U.S. District Court in Trenton denied the PBS request for a preliminary injunction to halt Institute construction on a seven-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Battlefield, stating that the PBS had not established its case under the Clean Water Act.  more

July 6, 2016

Governor Chris Christie’s proposal to overhaul New Jersey’s school funding system has set off a firestorm of controversy among lawmakers, educators, and others, both locally and across the state. In a speech at Hillsborough High School two weeks ago, Mr. Christie presented his “Fairness Formula” education plan, which would give every school district the same amount of state aid per student.

That plan would see some districts, including Princeton, receiving significantly more state funding and a lowering of property taxes, while aid to many urban districts with the highest percentage of low-income residents would be significantly reduced.
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The Supreme Court’s June 23 decision on affirmative action, re-emphasizing “the educational benefits that flow from student body diversity” at colleges and universities and allowing race as a factor in admissions criteria, has provided welcome support for Princeton University’s efforts to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity on campus.

Citing Supreme Court rulings back to the 1978 Bakke decision, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber stated, “The Court has consistently recognized that the judicious use of race as one factor among many admission criteria can play an important role in universities’ efforts to enroll talented students from all backgrounds, promote intercultural understanding, eliminate stereotypes, and cultivate leaders for our multiracial society.”
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Among the residents of Princeton whose appearance in public is most surprising — and alarming — are the black bears.

“Black bears are native to New Jersey and have been sighted in all 21 New Jersey counties,” stated Nathan Barson, Princeton animal control officer, in a recent Black Bear Information memo. He mentioned several sightings during the past month along the Montgomery-Princeton border: near Cherry Valley Road, Drake’s Corner, Herrontown Road, and Autumn Hill Reservation.

Black bears are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of food, including fruit, nuts, trash, meat scraps, and more, according to Mr. Barson.

To reduce bear-related encounters, Animal Control advises the following:

• Secure your trash in bear-resistant garbage containers or with tight fitting lids to reduce odors.

• Clean any food scraps from grills, porches, and decks, and keep meat scraps out of compost piles.

• Pets should not be fed outdoors unless absolutely necessary.

• Immediately remove all uneaten food and bowls used by pets fed outdoors (NO food after dark).

• Never hang bird feeders in easy to reach locations (feeders should be at least 10 feet in the air).

• Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.

• Wash garbage with disinfectant to remove odors.

• Secure beehives, livestock, and fruit crops with an electric fence.

Residents should report bear damage, nuisance behavior, or aggressive bears to the DEP hotline at (877) WARN-DEP ((877) 927-6337) or their local police department.

 

Theater rev 7-6-16

VENEER OF CIVILITY: Two sets of parents come together for a rational, civilized discussion of a playground dispute that has taken place between their sons, in Princeton Summer Theater’s production of Yasmina Reza’s black comedy “God of Carnage.” (L to R) Maddie Meyers as Annette, Billy Cohen as Alan, Olivia Nice as Veronica, and Jake McCready as Michael. (Photo by Ogemdi Ude)

The setting is a fashionable living room in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. The leather furniture is spare and tasteful. A large vase of tulips graces the elegant coffee table, which is covered with art books. An expensive-looking painting fills the back wall.

Two sets of well-educated upper middle class parents are discussing a playground dispute that has taken place between their 11-year-old sons. “Fortunately, there is still such a thing as the art of co-existence, isn’t there?” says Veronica, whose son has lost two teeth in the incident.
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June 29, 2016
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TRAIN TRANSFORMATION: The Dinky Bar & Kitchen, formerly the Dinky train station on Alexander Street, is scheduled to open at the end of July, with 54 seats indoors and 26 outdoors, fully renovated kitchen area where the ticket office used to be, and drinking and eating area in the old waiting room. (Photo by Henry Gilpin)

The Dinky Bar and Kitchen, the next addition to the Arts and Transit neighborhood taking shape on Alexander Street, will open at the end of July in the renovated building that formerly housed the old train station.

“Cocktails, wine, beer, spirits, snacks, small plates, neat eats” reads the sign in front of the building under construction. According to Jim Nawn, owner of Fenwick Hospitality Group, which is developing the project in partnership with building owner Princeton University, patrons can look forward to “a comfortable bar environment in an interesting old building.”

The stone station house was constructed in 1918 in the collegiate gothic style, and includes the ticket office, which will be the kitchen area of the new establishment, and the domed-ceilinged passenger hall, which will include 54 seats and a bar with some counter-height tables, and 26 additional seats outside. The original train station was closed permanently in August 2013, with the new station and ticket office opening one block southeast on Alexander Street in November 2014.

“It’s a beautiful building in a lot of ways,” said Mr. Nawn, whose Fenwick Group also owns Agricola, Main Street Restaurant Group, and the Great Road Farm. “We are aware that good food needs to be part of the service” he continued, and also mentioned that the fare would offer “ingredient-inspired” food from the Great Road Farm, “including fresh produce, pickled and preserved items, charcuterie items made by our butcher, and cheese and meats in a local, farm-inspired context — sharable food, served on smaller-sized plates.”

The bar and grill, interior designed by Celano Design Studio of New York, will be open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

Also in the works as part of the station complex designed by Rick Joy Architects of Tucson, Arizona, is a full-scale restaurant, to be housed in the larger, southern station building, formerly used for freight storage. It is scheduled to open by the middle of next year and will seat about 150, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

July might be a quiet time on Alexander Street, with both McCarter Theatre and the University on summer schedules, but Mr. Nawn is optimistic about the prospect of the Dinky Bar and Kitchen “starting slow to get the operation going,” then “coming up to speed in the fall.”

”When something new comes along,” he said, “it may attract attention and be busy even in summer.” Mr. Nawn looked forward to the completion of the Arts and Transit project next year, “The station complex will be a great amenity for the community,” he stated, “a quality bar, grill, and restaurant for commuters, students, theater-goers, and others.”

In the meantime, Mr. Nawn mentioned “a number of projects underway” at Main Street (comprised of the Main Street Bistro in Princeton Shopping Center, Main Street Eatery and Gourmet in Kingston, and Main Street Catering in Rocky Hill), which Fenwick acquired four months ago.

He noted a “need for some refreshing and renovation” and mentioned adjustments this summer in the menu and cosmetic changes to the bistro, but emphasized “this is a process. We hope people are patient.”

 

U.S. District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson has denied the Princeton Battlefield Society’s (PBS) motion for a preliminary injunction to halt faculty housing construction by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) on a seven-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Battlefield.

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Last Thursday’s 4-4 Supreme Court ruling concerning President Obama’s executive actions on immigration has blocked the president’s programs from going into effect and disappointed hundreds of hopeful Princeton residents.
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June 22, 2016

Gillett Griffin

The legacy of Gillett Griffin, who died on June 6 at the age of 87, was vast and eclectic. And that’s just the tangible legacy. (A full obituary appears on page 31.)

Only two weeks ago, shortly before his death, he gave to the Historical Society of Princeton from his personal collection more than 50 photographs, manuscript items, sculptures, books, newspaper clippings, personal possessions and ephemera related to Albert Einstein С who was a personal friend of Mr. Griffin from 1953 until Einstein’s death in 1955. more

As U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson prepared to consider The Princeton Battlefield Society’s (PBS) motion for an injunction to halt construction activity on the site of proposed Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) housing, two British military heritage organizations entered the longstanding controversy. more

Princeton residents can now keep up to date on crime in their neighborhoods, examining crime trends right along with police officials. more

Theater rev

Princeton Summer Theater’s (PST) 2016 season opener, Assassins, is chilling in its timeliness.

Just five days after a gunman assassinated 49 people in Orlando, the opening-night audience watched as nine characters — all wannabe assassins of U.S. Presidents — paraded across the Hamilton Murray stage, brandishing an array of firearms.  more

June 15, 2016

The Princeton Shade Tree Commission (STC) and the Town Council are teaming up to combat an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a beetle that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in 25 states since its arrival in the U.S. in 2002. more

kyle all in a days work

Kyle Damm signed on at the Nassau Inn in December 2009 after graduating from Ohio State with a degree in hospitality management. Since then he has worked as a front desk agent, housekeeping manager, and, for the last three years, as front office manager. Described by his boss, director of rooms Nick Ballas, as “an encouraging force for the staff and our guests, down to earth, and very good at empathizing,” Kyle loves problem-solving and working with people every day on the job. “He understands the guests and their preferences,” Mr. Ballas added. “Whatever their needs are, he understands them. He’s our ace here.” Kyle, 29, who grew up in Hamilton, now lives in Plainsboro with his girlfriend Jessica. Here, in his own words, Kyle talks about life as the front desk manager at the Nassau Inn.

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June 8, 2016

1NathansonJeff Nathanson will be stepping down as executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) at the end of 2016, the ACP announced yesterday.

The Arts Council on Witherspoon Street has experienced a significant transformation in the 11 years since Mr. Nathanson took the helm in 2005.

“Jeff successfully led the Arts Council through an exciting time of tremendous growth for the organization,” stated Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. “He’s been an effective and effusive champion for the role of the arts in building community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him, and am very sad to see him move on.”

ACP Board of Trustees President Ted Deutsch echoed the mayor’s praise, describing Mr. Nathanson as “an outstanding leader not just for the arts community, but for the Greater Princeton community as a whole. His in-depth experience in arts program development and management helped the organization dramatically expand and improve its arts-related offerings over the past decade. At the same time he has kept the ACP focused on its historic mission to serve the local community through free, accessible and inclusive events and scholarship programs for children and families.” more

TT Bank Street

REPAIRS NEEDED: Bank Street needs street repairs and underground power lines, a subject of controversy between residents and town officials. Undergrounding electrical, telephone and cable lines could cost each property owner about $70,000, but the mayor and city engineers are seeking less expensive alternatives. (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

Tucked away off Nassau Street, between Bayard Lane and Chambers Street, Bank Street could be mistaken for an alley. The narrow, single-block street of modest Victorian homes, all close to the street and close to one another, has always seemed out of place in the midst of the bustle of Nassau Street and the grandeur of much of the rest of the town С and now Bank Street finds itself a subject of controversy. more

Taking notes at lectures, participating in preceptorial discussions, writing papers and exams — several Princeton University courses recently awarded grants for innovation will be branching out far beyond these traditional activities in coming semesters. more

June 1, 2016

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CONSEQUENCES: Funeral home workers prepare to take the accident victim’s body to the hearse, as more than 800 high school students watch the drunk driving simulation on Walnut Street last Thursday, presented by rescue squad, police, student actors, and others. (Photo Courtesy of Wendy Jolley)

The message is simple and familiar: “Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. Don’t get high and drive,” stated Princeton High School (PHS) senior Katie Vasquez, co-president of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and member of the student board at Corner House.  more