November 25, 2015

library-directorFollowing a vote by the Princeton Public Library’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening, Brett Bonfield was named to succeed Leslie Burger as the library’s executive director. Mr. Bonfield, who is currently the director of the Collingswood Public Library, will take over on January 19, 2016. Ms. Burger is retiring in January after 16 years at the library.

“Brett is a committed and experienced community builder,” said Kiki Jamieson, president of the Board. “He is an advocate for public libraries and all who use them, and I have been impressed with his deep commitment to nurturing libraries as the heart and hearth of diverse communities. I think he will build on the excellence to which we as a community have become accustomed.”

Mr. Bonfield was selected from a field of 25 candidates during a national search, which also included Canada. Assisting Library Strategies International LLC were search committee members John Anagbo, supervisor for language arts and social studies at Princeton High School; Jan Johnson, retired librarian and former head of the library’s Youth Service Department; and Jane Silverman, president of Jane Silverman and Associates and former chairperson of the Princeton Public Library Foundation. more


Look down the table at Saturday’s Princeton Future Meeting and you’ll see the embodiment of the future, recalling Loudon Wainwright III’s song, “Be Careful, There’s a Baby in the House,” which tells us “a baby will not be fooled … will play it for real … and is better than smart.” (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)


GOING TO THE MATT: Princeton University football player Matt Arends surveys the action in a game earlier this fall. Last Saturday, senior linebacker and co-captain Arends fought hard in his last game for the Tigers, making nine tackles and forcing a fumble in a losing cause as Princeton fell 17-10 at Dartmouth. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy League. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In 2013, the Princeton University football team played at Dartmouth in the season finale needing a win to clinch an outright Ivy League title only to get upended 28-24 by the Big Green. more

The company that owns the Agricola restaurant has been chosen by Princeton University to run a bar and bistro in the former Dinky train station buildings across from McCarter Theatre. The buildings are part of the Arts and Transit project currently under construction on the campus.

Fenwick Hospitality Group, founded by local resident Jim Nawn, has proposed a bar for the smaller, north building, with 60 indoor seats and 30 seasonal seats outside. Drinks, including cocktails, wine, and beer, would be served, as well as small bites for lunch and dinner. In the south building, formerly where baggage was handled, there would be a bistro serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. The menu would be French-influenced. Seating for 125 inside and 50 outside, counter seating, and a private dining room are also part of the plan. more

In the aftermath of a 32-hour sit-in at Nassau Hall, culminating last Thursday in an agreement, a follow-up letter Sunday from University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, and much ensuing controversy, Princeton University will be examining its past, present, and future in order to “make Princeton a more welcoming and supportive community for all its members.”

At the center of the controversy are two Princeton University presidents: Woodrow Wilson, University president from 1902 to 1910 and U.S. president from 1913-21, whom Princeton has honored with the establishment of its prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and its Wilson residential college, but whose record on race is disturbing; and Mr. Eisgruber, currently in his third year as Princeton president, who, after acknowledging that Woodrow Wilson was racist, met last Wednesday and Thursday with the protesting members of the Black Justice League (BJL) student organization, and agreed to follow up on their concerns in a series of discussions with trustees and various groups of students, staff and alumni. more

Theater PBS

NEW ORIGINAL PBS SERIES: The Lewis Center for the Arts presents a screening of the new PBS Civil War drama, “Mercy Street” on Monday, December 7 at 7 p.m. followed by a panel discussion moderated by Christina Lazaridi. Both events are free and open to the public, but advance reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets can be reserved at (Photo Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS)

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University will present a special preview screening of the new PBS Civil War era drama series Mercy Street on Monday, December 7 at 7 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The screening, preceded by a reception beginning at 6:15 p.m., is free and open to the public, however advance reservations are encouraged.

Set in Virginia in the spring of 1862, Mercy Street follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict; Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green (Hannah James), a naive young Confederate belle. The two collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army Hospital in Alexandria, a border town between North and South and the longest-occupied Confederate city of the war. Ruled under martial law, Alexandria is now the melting pot of the region, filled with soldiers, civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded fighting men from both sides, runaway slaves, prostitutes, speculators, and spies. more


A HOME FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS: At a recent ribbon-cutting, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, left, and Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, right, officially opened the University’s Entrepreneurial Hub. Flanking them on the portico were Provost David Lee, left, and Mung Chiang, right, who directs the University’s Keller Center and chairs its Princeton Entrepreneurial Center. (Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications)

Like most contemporary educational institutions, Princeton University considers entrepreneurship a priority — so much so that it has dedicated a 10,000-square-foot building in downtown Princeton for just that purpose. The Entrepreneurial Hub officially opened with a ribbon-cutting on November 11, confirming the school’s commitment to innovation among its students and partnerships with the local community.

The red brick building at 34 Chambers Street has served throughout its history as offices for the telephone company, the Gallup company, William Sword & Company, and Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty. The University is renting it from owner Kinsale Properties, of which Jud and Matt Henderson are principal partners. more


MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton University men’s water polo goalie Vojislav Mitrovic guards the net in a game this season. Last Sunday, sophomore standout Mitrovic made 14 saves to help Princeton edge Johns Hopkins 7-6 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) championship game. Mitrovic was named the MVP of the CWPA tourney. The win earned the Tigers, now 22-4, a spot in the NCAA tournament where they will be facing UC-San Diego in a play-in game on December 2 at UCLA with the Final 4 taking place at the same site from December 5-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Even though the Princeton University men’s water polo team had already beaten Johns Hopkins three times this season, Luis Nicolao felt the pressure was on his squad when it faced the Blue Jays in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) championship game last Sunday. more

Saint Peter’s University Hospital has been recognized for the fourth consecutive year as a national “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in the United States.

Saint Peter’s was the only hospital in its geographic portion of central New Jersey — defined as Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Mercer counties — to be cited on Tuesday for excellence in all six of the categories measured by The Joint Commission: heart failure, heart attack, surgical care, pneumonia, childhood asthma, and perinatal care.

Among those categories, Saint Peter’s was one of only two hospitals in New Jersey cited for excellence in the care of childhood asthma. In addition, Saint Peter’s was one of only 17 of the 71 hospitals in New Jersey that submitted data to receive the Top Performer award for 2014. On a broader scale, Saint Peter’s is among only six percent of Joint Commission-accredited hospitals in the United States to earn Top Performer status for clinical quality for four consecutive years.  more

Cherry Hill

Pre-schoolers from Cherry Hill Nursery School in Princeton gathered items for the Crisis Ministry food pantry of Mercer County in preparation for Thanksgiving distributions.

Six new police officers, sworn in two weeks ago, are preparing to take on the ever-increasing challenges of police work in Princeton 2016.

From a pool of more than 800 applicants, the officers passed a written exam, a physical exam, two panel reviews, an intensive background investigation, and two additional interviews.

Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter described the search for “a diverse pool of candidates who possess intelligence, integrity, empathy, strong communication skills, and physical fitness.”

The number of officers in the Princeton Police Department (PPD) will remain at 52, with the new recruits taking the place of retirees over the past few years.  more


SENIOR LEADER: Stuart Country Day school cross country runner Lindsay Craig displays her form in a race this fall. Senior star Craig placed 20th individually in the state Prep B meet this fall even though she wasn’t at full strength for much of the season. She helped Stuart finish fifth in the team standings at the Prep B meet and post a 10-0 record in dual meets. Craig earned All-Prep B honors all four years of her career.

Len Klepack was cautiously optimistic as his Stuart Country Day cross country team prepared for the fall.

“We felt we had a better team than we have had in the past,” said Stuart head coach Klepack. more


Princeton Day School junior Ruchita Zaparde has been named a 2015 Nickelodeon HALO (Help and Lead Others) Honoree for her work with the non-profit organization Sew a Future, which provides sewing machines to widows with young children in rural India.  The HALO awards show will air on Nickelodeon on Sunday, November 29 at 7 p.m.  Ruchita’s fundraising efforts have helped more than 213 widows acquire sewing machines.

SlaughterAnn-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America and former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department under Hillary Clinton, will discuss her new book, Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family (Random House, 2015), at 4:30 p.m., Monday, November 30, 2015, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall on the Princeton University campus. A book sale and signing will follow the discussion. This is a ticketed event.

Ms. Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and former dean of the University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, which is sponsoring the discussion.

After leaving her position at the U.S. State Department for family reasons, Ms. Slaughter wrote an article for The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” which generated much media attention and sparked a national debate.

For information, contact

book revOnce upon a time a long time ago Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) came to Bloomington, Indiana, in the form of a Classic Comic of Gulliver’s Travels being read by an eight-year-old boy and an impish, bespectacled, congenitally effusive young man of 25-going-on-15 who will eventually be proclaimed Swift’s “best and fullest biographer” by Christopher Ricks in the London Review of Books.

The boy and the biographer are both seated on the living room floor, the Swiftian-to-be having politely refused the boy’s parents’ offer of a chair. “It’s exciting, but scary” the eight-year-old says when asked his thoughts on Gulliver’s Travels. To show what he means by “scary,” he points out the frames where the Lilliputians are swarming over Gulliver’s body, binding it with ropes, staking his long blond hair to the ground. After discussing the imagery, the biographer begins to make playful comments about the “Life of Swift” on the comic’s last page, which the boy has read and finds disturbing. At this point, the parents intervene and the biographer is coaxed into a chair.

Savage Commentary

Because my parents had the first 20 issues of Classic Comics bound as a present for my ninth birthday, I still have the copy of Gulliver’s Travels Irvin Ehrenpreis and I were perusing together all those years ago. Looking over the “Life” at the end, I’m struck by the vehemence of the language describing Gulliver’s “savage commentary on the European world” as “the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.” Pretty heady stuff for an early reader; no wonder I found it disturbing, not to mention the concluding paragraph, in which “Swift’s satire became more and more violently bitter, possibly the result of a mental disease which, by 1736, caused him to become insane. He never recovered and died on October 19, 1745.” In the brief biographies at the end of every Classic Comic, each author dies in such and such a time and place, but Swift’s fate became one of the numerous shadowy elements of a childhood occasionally haunted by the sound of phantom footsteps and the sight of an abandoned playground where the empty swings were still in motion.  more

Chess Champs

Princeton Day School fifth grade chess champions — (left to right) Winston Ni (Princeton), Arjun Kumar (Moorestown), Jai Kasera (Princeton) — hold their team’s trophy.  The PDS teams were first in the first, fifth, and seventh grade New Jersey Grade Championship last Sunday in Lincroft, New Jersey.  

SchiffPulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff discusses and signs copies of her new book, The Witches: Salem, 1692, Tuesday, December 1 at 7 p.m. at Princeton Public Library.

Stacy Schiff is known for her biographies, many of them about notable women throughout history. In her latest project, she looks to one of the few historic events to center around women, the Salem Witch Trials. The book is set during the mysterious year of hysteria and injustice that resulted in the execution of 19 alleged witches and wizards and reveals the religious, social, and political context in which it took place.

According to Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller, “Stacy Schiff’s The Witches is an indelibly etched morality fable, the best recounting of the Salem hysteria in modern times. Clear-eyed and sympathetic, Schiff makes the complex seem simple, crafting a taut narrative that takes in religion, politics, folklore, and the intricate texture of daily life in Massachusetts Bay, with particular attention to those ‘wonder-working’ women and girls who chose this moment to blow apart the Puritan utopia they’d helped to found. It’s all here in one devilish, oracular book.”

Stacy Schiff won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and Autobiography for Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov): Portrait of a Marriage. She is also the author of Cleopatra: A Life and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker.


The Parkinson Alliance has announced that the 2015 Carnegie Center 5K and Fun Run, held last September 26 in Princeton, raised over $95,000 and net proceeds will go to Parkinson’s disease research. In addition to raising money for much needed research, the race brought together runners and supporters to help find a cure for the disease.

The 2015 race was supported by 51 sponsors, including Boston Properties who served as the host. On the day of the race, The Parkinson Alliance presented the Bucks County Roadrunners Club (BCRR) with the King Award for their longstanding support of the event. In addition to their passion for running, BCRR participates in this race as a way of supporting several members of their club who are living with Parkinson’s disease and yet, continue to run.  more

Art Fire

This painting by Heather Barros is among the works in the “Earth/Fire” juried art exhibit hosted by D&R Greenway Land Trust. The show celebrates the themes of earth and/or fire. These inspirational elements are essential to land conservation and our spiritual passion and grounding. The artists in this juried exhibition celebrate the playfulness of flame and the steadiness of soil in a wide variety of interpretations and mediums. “Earth/Fire” runs through January 22, 2016 with an opening reception on Friday, December 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at One Preservation Place. (Photo Courtesy of

Music in response to great tragedy over the centuries has covered the spectrum of war songs, to orchestral works inspired by current events, to popular music. Perhaps as a sign of the time, musical works addressing man-made tragedies have become more common in the past two decades, such as John Adam’s On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned shortly after 9/11. In 2014, composer and Princeton Singers Artistic Director Steven Sametz found himself compelled to compose a work in memory of those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hooks Elementary School shootings in Connecticut, believing that “as artists, we are hopeful that what we create may offer healing to those who mourn.” Perhaps also as a sign of the times, Sametz’s A Child’s Requiem is a multi-media work, incorporating artwork from elementary school-age children into a supertitled performance featuring two choirs, soloists, and orchestra. For Saturday night’s concert at Princeton Meadows Church and Event Center, The Princeton Singers were joined by the Ensemble and Cantores choirs of the Princeton Girlchoir, as well as three vocal soloists and a highly-polished orchestra.

The tributes to the victims of Sandy Hook began Saturday night in the entryway to Princeton Meadow Church with portraits of the children. In this work, Sametz also paid tribute to several musical traditions of the past, beginning with a musical anagram of letters from the words “Sandy Hook.” The four pitches derived formed a musical cell which Sametz wove into an orchestral “Prologue” marked by a poignant cello solo and visually accompanied by a child’s drawing of a broken heart.  more

Theater Cabaret

A longtime fixture of the New York cabaret scene, two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole will perform her new show, Big Noise from Winnetka, at McCarter Theatre on December 12 at 8 p.m. Ebersole created the production with her longtime music director Bette Sussman. Song selections in Big Noise from Winnetka include “Alfie,” “Woodstock,” “Landslide,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” To purchase tickets, visit or call (609) 258-2787. 

November 24, 2015

See below for the November 23, 2015 Princeton Council Meeting.

Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.

November 20, 2015


Following an investigation by the Princeton University Department of Public Safety, it was determined that a non-specific bomb and gun threat delivered via email on Thursday night, was not credible.

Campus patrols were increased and security was tightened around the campus after the email was received around 9 p.m. The email arrived just as a 32-hour sit-in at President Christopher L. Eisbgruber’s office in Nassau Hall was ending. The protesters and the University had reached an agreement addressing demands of the Black Justice League. more

November 18, 2015


This was the scene with the PU band playing and the tailgaters feasting behind the Cap and Gown eating club before the Yale-Princeton game Saturday. There’s a cross-section of tailgate gastronomy in this week’s Town Talk. The only inedible thing on the menu for the Tigers was the outcome of the game. (Photo by Emily Reeves) 

Since announcing last Thursday that she will run for a second term in the general election next year, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert has begun putting her new campaign into place. On her team are Leticia Fraga, chair; Dan Preston, vice-chair; Helen Heintz, treasurer; and former Princeton Borough Mayor Mildred Trotman, honorary co-chair.

“It’s an intense job, but like a lot of things that are intense, it’s highly rewarding,” Ms. Lempert, a Democrat, said Monday of her decision to run again. “There aren’t that many jobs where you can have an impact on people’s lives and make things better and actually see that impact. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together with Council, staff, volunteers, and boards and commissions. But there is so much to do and still a lot of activity on the plate that I’d like to have the opportunity to work on.” more