February 12, 2020

Members of the Princeton University wrestling program celebrate last Sunday after Travis Stefanik, left, topped Cornell’s Jonathan Loew 10-4 to clinch victory in a 19-13 triumph by Princeton over the Big Red at Jadwin Gym. In beating Cornell, the Tigers handed the Big Red their first Ivy League defeat since 2002 to snap a 92-match league winning streak and earn Princeton’s first Ivy crown since 1986 and the school’s 500th league title overall. For more details on the win, see page 35. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Anne Levin

Princeton’s plan for affordable housing was approved by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson on Friday, February 7. The settlement agreement between the municipality and the Fair Share Housing Center ends litigation dating back to 2015.

The municipality now moves into the compliance phase of the process, with a hearing planned for June. Several steps must be taken before that time, involving zoning changes, agreements, updates, and a spending plan, among other actions.

“There will be several ordinances that Council will be considering, required as part of the plan,” Mayor Liz Lempert said on Monday.

The all-day hearing was held to make sure the plan is fair, and protects the interests of low and moderate income households. There were objections by several parties, including the Princeton Progressive Action Group and the owners of The Ivy Inn on Nassau Street.

According to Lempert, the town also got positive feedback. ”Judge Jacobson commended Princeton for exceeding its affordable obligation and praised the proposed redevelopment of the Thanet property in particular as both an innovative and realistic financing approach to constructing 100 percent senior affordable housing,” she said in an email. “Adam Gordon of Fair Share Housing Center also spoke in favor of Princeton’s plan and cited Princeton’s existing developments as model examples of how 100 percent affordable and mixed income communities could both be built and operated successfully.” more

By Anne Levin

With the filing deadline for running in the June primary election seven weeks away, efforts are stepping up to secure places on the ballot for seats on Princeton Council and the office of mayor.

Democrats Leticia Fraga and David Cohen, whose three-year terms on Princeton Council conclude at the end of this year, will run for re-election. Newcomer Dina Shaw has announced her candidacy for one of those seats. Mark Freda, also a Democrat, is the only candidate so far to announce a run for mayor (Liz Lempert will not run for a third term), and he will officially kick off his campaign at an event Wednesday, February 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Italian-American Sportsmen’s Club.

Fraga, the first Latinx person to hold elected office in Princeton, serves as the town’s police commissioner on the Public Safety Committee, and liaison to the Youth Advisory Committee and Board of Health. She is Council’s elected representative on the Civil Rights Commission and Human Services Commission.

“I see a second term as a chance to amplify the momentum, goodwill, and expertise I developed in my first three years, and to work alongside colleagues — elected and volunteer — to build on our accomplishments,” she said. “My approach to government is to endorse policies and form partnerships that support equity, inclusivity, and well-being, and that keep government responsive and transparent.”

Cohen’s term on Council has included work on land use policies to encourage smart growth, alternative transport options, more sustainable development, advocacy for seniors, affordable housing negotiations, and ensuring emergency preparedness in the face of climate change. A press release announcing his decision to run for a second term referred to his work with Fraga.

“Their areas of interest and expertise dovetail perfectly,” it reads. “Ms. Fraga’s commitment to advocating for the marginalized members of our community — her work on the Civil Rights and Human Services commissions, and with our Public Safety Committee — allows Councilman Cohen to focus on his committee assignments with complete confidence that these other crucial functions of local government will be guided with a steady and compassionate hand. Councilman Cohen strongly endorses Ms. Fraga’s re-election, as he seeks the community’s support for his own.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) community is working to envision its future, and two public meetings over the next 10 days will accelerate the process towards achieving that goal.

This Saturday, February 15, at the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), Parking Task Force (PTF) members will discuss plans for a pilot program for parking in the W-J and Tree Streets neighborhoods; and on Saturday, February 22 the W-J Neighborhood Association (WJNA) will sponsor a public engagement workshop at the First Baptist Church featuring presentations on infrastructure led by the Princeton Engineering and Planning departments; on sustainability and emergency preparedness led by Sustainable Princeton (SP); on “more than just books” at the Princeton Public Library (PPL); and an update on the W-J African American Heritage Mural Project.

W-J Neighborhood Association (W-JNA) Co-Chairman Leighton Newlin emphasized the importance of coming together to envision the future of the community. “I’m hoping for more vibrancy, diversity, and inclusivity in Witherspoon-Jackson,” he said. “I hope the discussions are attended by people from all parts of Princeton. I’m envisioning a historic and engaging promenade that’s colorful in every way — with equity, diversity, and inclusivity.” more

56 YEARS IN EDUCATION: Johnson Park Elementary School Principal Robert Ginsberg will be honored on February 27 for his “career spent nurturing the future.” Send Hunger Packing Princeton is hosting a winter fundraiser “evening of inspiration” at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place in Princeton. Visit shupprinceton.org for ticket information. (Photo courtesy of Send Hunger Packing Princeton)

By Donald Gilpin

In his 56 years working as a teacher and school administrator, Dr. Robert Ginsberg has championed core values that have become firmly embodied at Johnson Park Elementary School (JP), where he has served as principal since 1999. He believes in the power of diversity. He believes in making children the agents of their own learning. He believes in the value of the natural environment for children and their education. And he believes that kids need to be reminded frequently to help those who may be less fortunate.

Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPPrinceton) will be honoring Ginsberg at “An Evening of Inspiration” with “a tribute to a career spent nurturing the future” on February 27 at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place in Princeton.

“Dr. G. has been part of the fabric of our schools for over 30 years and principal of JP for more than 20,” said SHUPPrinceton board member Wendy Regina-Vasquez. “His caring and advocacy for all of our children, but especially the children SHUPPrinceton serves, has made him a beloved member of our community. We’re thrilled to be able to honor him.” more

By Anne Levin

To most observers, Hinds Plaza appears to be in reasonably good shape. But the 15-year-old public space next to Princeton Public Library is up for some improvements, according to the town’s engineering and planning departments. Along with Witherspoon Street, the plaza is the focus of a concept study that will begin Thursday, February 13 from 6-8 p.m. with the first of three public gatherings in the main meeting room at the former Borough Hall, 1 Monument Drive.

The municipality wants ideas from the public on how to improve these two key areas of town. Feedback will be sought on pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and motor vehicle improvements; street lighting; tree and other vegetation additions; public art; seating and other street furniture; and any other features that will enhance Witherspoon Street and Hinds Plaza.

“The intention isn’t to totally remake Hinds Plaza, but since it’s a major space, we want to look at some improvements,” Mayor Liz Lempert said Monday. “We’d like to explore some additional opportunities for public art. We want to hear from the public. It’s a wonderful space, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”

Witherspoon Street’s slope causes some problems along its mostly narrow sidewalks, which can be normalized, said Council President David Cohen, adding that the town is studying the Complete Streets plan as part of the process. “We’re more and more interested in green infrastructure — areas where water can soak in instead of being piped off somewhere.” more

By Donald Gilpin

As the epidemic death toll from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to climb — 1,016 by the end of Monday and more than 43,000 sick, in China mostly but also in 24 other countries — Princeton authorities urge caution and focus on preparedness for whatever might be the next development.

“As of February 11, there are currently no cases in New Jersey,” stated Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser. “The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is stating that the risk to the general public in the United States at this time is low. The CDC is working diligently to identify any new cases in the United States, and when they do, they take every precaution to prevent further illness from spreading.”

Grosser noted that eleven U.S airports, including Newark, had implemented entrance screening to identify passengers from China who may be ill. As of Monday, the CDC had reported 13 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the U.S.

Warning of the spread of the virus, Grosser went on to state that “as surveillance continues, it is expected more cases will be identified. With that said, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is monitoring the situation closely and is proactively preparing guidance documents for public health and health care professionals to be able to effectively respond to any cases that may be identified in the state.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

On the same Wednesday afternoon that Republican Senator Mitt Romney explained his historic vote to convict the president of “an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor,” the news of the death of screen legend Kirk Douglas at 103 gave first responders like New York Times columnist Bret Stephens the opportunity to headline Romney’s act with the title of the star’s favorite film, Lonely Are the Brave. But what the senator from Utah accomplished in his eight minutes demands a term more measured, restrained, and nuanced than bravery. He had to simultaneously master himself and the moment when he said that as a senator-juror, he swore to “exercise impartial justice,” that he is “profoundly religious,” that his faith is at the heart of who he is,  that he takes “an oath before God as enormously consequential,” and that the task of judging the leader of his own party, would be “the most difficult decision” he has ever faced.

Simply applying the lonely/brave dynamic to suggest what made Kirk Douglas so powerful an actor is equally inadequate. In fact, one way to appreciate the force of understatement employed by the senator is to contrast it to the extremes suggested by an actor “made for Dostoevsky,” as David Thomson puts it in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, where Douglas (born Issur Danielovich Demsky)  is “the manic-depressive among Hollywood stars, … bearing down on plot, dialogue, and actresses with the gleeful appetite of a man just freed from Siberia.”

As the driven, at once code-bound and emotionally unbound detective Jim McLeod in William Wyler’s Detective Story (1951), Douglas rages at a crooked doctor — “I ought to fall on you like the sword of God” — rhetoric that would seem disproportionate to the occasion from any actor this side of Charlton Heston. Every move Douglas makes, everything he says when he’s at the top of his game, is like a demonstration of writer Flannery O’Connor’s rationale for the extremes in her art: “For the almost blind you draw large and startling figures, to the hard of hearing you shout.”

As Thomson points out, Douglas is “at other times on the verge of ridiculing his own outrageousness.” But in films like Detective Story, Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957), and above all, as Van Gogh in Vincente Minnelli’s Lust for Life (1956), “his sometimes facile intensity is marvelously harnessed to the subject of the film and the sense of tragedy is perfectly judged.”  more

“ANTIGONICK”: Performances are underway for “Antigonick.” Presented by Theatre Intime and directed by Paige Elizabeth Allen ‘21, the play runs through February 15 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Antigone (Allison Spann, center) is visited by the spirits of her dead brothers, personified by NIck (Natalia Orlovsky, left) and Chorus (Kai Torrens). (Photo by Naomi Park ‘21)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Poet, essayist, and former Princeton University professor Anne Carson’s 2012 play Antigonick originally was published as a book, with illustrations by Bianca Stone. The work is an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone (c. 441 B.C.E.), as well as a meditation on previous interpretations of it, including mid-20th century productions by theater practitioners such as Bertolt Brecht.

Theatre Intime, whose cast and production team consist of Princeton University students, is presenting Antigonick. Directed by Paige Elizabeth Allen, the production brings its own point of view to the story, while borrowing some of the book’s imagery.

Carson retains Sophocles’ use of a chorus, whose poetic interludes demarcate the play’s seven scenes. However, Allen has repurposed these lines for a single character, still referred to as “Chorus” (portrayed by Kai Torrens). more

On Thursday, February 20, the Westminster Conservatory at Nassau series will continue with a recital featuring music of Franz Schubert and Canadian-American composer Nathaniel Dett. The performers will be guest soprano Holly Gash and two members of the Westminster Conservatory faculty: Kenneth Ellison, clarinet and Clipper Erickson, piano.

The recital will take place at 12:15 pm in the Niles Chapel of Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street in Princeton. It is open to the public, free of charge.

The February 20 program comprises spiritual arrangements by Dett, Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock) for soprano, clarinet, and piano, and Enchantment, a work by Dett for solo piano.

Gash has performed leading roles in more than 20 operas, and she has appeared as oratorio soloist, both in the United States and Central America. After graduating from Loyola University with degrees in clarinet performance and music therapy she pursued her enthusiasm for singing and completed a Master of Music in vocal performance at the University of Arkansas. She has apprenticed with the Austin Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, Amarillo Opera, and Knoxville Opera. Her operatic roles have included Verdi’s Luisa Miller; Desdemona in Otello; Violetta in La Traviata; Leonora from La Forza del Destino; the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Fiordiligi from Cosi Fan Tutte; the Governess in Britten’s Turn of the Screw; and Elizabeth Proctor from Robert Ward’s The Crucible; among others. more

SUMMER INTENSIVE: Maria Youskevitch is among the faculty at the Summer Intensive Dance Experience 2020 being held by the Martin Center for Dance in Lawrence Township.

The recently opened Martin Center for Dance is holding “Summer Intensive Dance Experience 2020” this summer at its studios on Princess Road in Lawrence Township. Directors Douglas Martin and Mary Barton will headline the faculty.

Advanced dancers, age 12 and above, will have the opportunity to study daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Martin, Barton, and master teachers Maria Youskevitch and Kirk Peterson. In addition to advanced level classical ballet, pointe, partnering, and men’s class, the team will offer frequent small-group coaching sessions. more

ART MAKING DAY:  Artworks Trenton, along with three partner organizations, will host two days of free art activities for all ages on March 7 and 14. Activities include collaborative murals, upcycled projects, an interactive character design studio, and more. Visit www.artworkstrenton.org/art-making-day for a detailed list of locations, times, and activities.

On March 7 and 14 art enthusiasts of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds are invited to immerse themselves in creating and revel in the beauty of self-expression at Art Making Day. Art Making Day is a free event that promotes the idea that art is a universal language building bridges that connect and engage communities.

Hundreds of children and adults are expected to attend Art Making Day and explore the assorted art stations set up throughout Artworks Trenton, the Boys & Girls Club Centre Street Clubhouse, the Trenton Free Public Library, and the New Jersey State Museum over two weekends. more

“LONG-EARED OWL”: This painting by James Fiorentino is featured in “Portaits of Preservation,” now on view at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place. D&R Greenway and The Raptor Trust will host an “Avian Art” celebration at the center on Friday, February 28 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Paintings of powerful animals and birds, as well as scenes of New Jersey habitats, are the focus of an “Avian Art” celebration at D&R Greenway on Friday, February 28, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The event is held in cooperation with The Raptor Trust, renowned for bird rehabilitation.

February 28 also marks the final day of wildlife artist James Fiorentino’s “Portraits of Preservation,” now on view at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place. The public is welcome to view the exhibition Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A closing reception for the exhibit will coincide with the “Avian Art” event, after which the watercolors will move to Bernardsville’s Studio 7. The event is free, but Rsvp@drgreenway.org to attend or call (609) 924-4646. more

TO YOUR TASTE: “We are set apart by our selection, prices, our knowledge and expertise, and our customer service. In a period of 49 years, Bottle King has grown to become the largest New Jersey retailer of wine, beer, and spirits.” Steve Carpentier, general manager of the company and co-owner of the Bottle King on State Road, is shown with Chateau Petrus Pomerol, a very special and hard-to-get Bordeaux.

By Jean Stratton

Word travels fast when something new and exciting arrives in the neighborhood!

To say that Bottle King, the new liquor store at 775 State Road, has made a hit is an understatement. Just opened in December, it already has regular customers, not to mention the new ones who show up every day.

“Best beer selection!” Best prices in alcohol!” “Great selection of everything!” “Terrific layout in the store!”

These are just some of the rave reviews from customers. An additional remark often heard: “The parking is great — no problem finding a space.”

All in all, good news for Bottle King owner Ken Friedman, who founded the family business in Union in 1970. There are now 15 Bottle Kings, including one in Hillsborough and another in East Windsor. more

CROWNING GLORY: Princeton University wrestler Travis Stefanik celebrates after he topped Cornell’s Jonathan Loew 10-4 to clinch victory in a 19-13 triumph by Princeton over the Big Red last Sunday at Jadwin Gym. In beating the Big Red, the Tigers handed Cornell its first Ivy League defeat since 2002 to snap its 92-match league winning streak and earn Princeton’s first Ivy crown since 1986 and the school’s 500th league title overall. Princeton, now 6-4 overall and 4-0 Ivy, hosts Penn and Drexel on February 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Ayres was a man in demand in the wake of coaching the Princeton University wrestling team to a dramatic 19-13 win over Cornell last Sunday,  producing one of the greatest moments in program history. more

READY TO ATTACK: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Tess D’Orsi heads to goal in a 2019 game. Senior tri-captain and star attacker D’Orsi, who had 80 points on 64 goals and 16 assists last year, is primed for a big final campaign. Princeton opens its 2020 season by playing at Temple (1-0) on February 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The Princeton University women’s lacrosse team has developed into a dynasty despite playing in an increasingly competitive Ivy League.

The Tigers will be starting their drive for a seventh straight Ivy regular-season title and third straight Ivy League Tournament title (sixth in 11 years) when they open the season at Temple (1-0) on February 15. more

AUTO-BAUGHAN: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player George Baughan races past a foe in a game last year. Junior captain Baughan is one of the top defenseman in the nation, having earned first-team All-Ivy League honors in 2019 and preseason All-American recognition coming into this spring. Princeton opens its 2020 campaign by hosting Monmouth (1-0) on February 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the 12 seniors on the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team, it is now or never.

The group has helped produce some highlights over their first three seasons, including wins over Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, Cornell and Denver and some memorable battles with national championships teams Yale and Virginia. more

RISING FORCE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Bella Alarie drives to the hoop in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Alarie scored a game high-24 points as Princeton defeated Columbia 77-55. The Tigers, now 17-1 overall and 5-0 Ivy League, play at Yale on February 14 and at Brown on February 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having poured in a total of 59 points in two games against Columbia last year, Bella Alarie picked where she left off as the Princeton University women’s basketball team hosted the Lions last Saturday. more

RAISING THE BAR: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Gefen Bar-Cohen goes up for a bucket last Friday as PHS played at Lawrence. Battling through a broken nose, senior forward Bar-Cohen scored a game-high 19 points to help the Tigers prevail 63-37. PHS, which improved to 10-10 with the win, hosts Phillipsburg on February 13 and then starts play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gefen Bar-Cohen’s face was covered by a plastic mask to protect a broken nose as he took the court for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team at Lawrence last Friday evening.

In the early stages of the contest, senior forward Bar-Cohen looked like the injury may be hampering him as he missed several shots, going scoreless as PHS found itself trailing the Cardinals 8-6 at the end of the first quarter. more

FINAL RUN: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Jeshurun Reyen displays his form in a race earlier this winter. Last Wednesday, senior Reyen placed first in the 50 and 100-yard free to help third-seeded PHS post a 95-75 win over sixth-seeded Red Bank in the state Public B Central Jersey quarterfinals. On Monday, Reyen helped PHS edge second-seeded WW/P-South on power points in the sectional semis as the teams tied 85-85. PHS, now 13-1, will face top-seeded WW/P-North in the sectional final on February 14 at the Neptune Aquatic Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High boys’ swim team hosted Red Bank Regional in the state Public B Central Jersey quarterfinals last Thursday at the John Witherspoon School pool, it marked the last home meet for senior star Jeshurun Reyen.

“It is really hard to believe, I have been swimming here for four years,” said Reyen. “It has been a great ride. It is lots of emotions, happy and sad.” more

SENIOR MOMENT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Jack Weiss, left, battles for the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, Weiss enjoyed a special Senior Night, scoring 11 points, including the game-winning three-pointer as Hun edged Princeton Day School 53-52. Over the weekend, Hun fell 53-46 to Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) in the opening round of the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) tournament last Friday and then topped Lawrenceville 62-45 in a consolation game a day later. The Raiders, now 11-13, host West Nottingham Academy (Md.), on February 13 and then start action in the state Prep A tourney where they are seeded third and play at second-seeded Blair in a semifinal contest on February 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Jack Weiss went through his Senior Night for the Hun School boys’ basketball team last Wednesday evening, it prompted him to reflect on how far he has come in a journey across town after transferring from Princeton High. more

FIGHTING IRISH: Hun School girls’ basketball player Enya Maguire dribbles the ball upcourt in recent action. Last Saturday, post-graduate guard Maguire, a native of Belfast, Ireland, scored 14 points and had five assists as Hun fell 68-53 to Lawrenceville in the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) semifinals. The Raiders, now 16-6, host Hightstown on February 13 and then have a rematch with Lawrenceville in the state Prep A semis on February 17 when third-seeded Hun plays at the second-seeded Big Red. (Photo by Rose Denommee, provided courtesy of the Hun School)

By Bill Alden

Enya Maguire brought a pass-first style with her from Belfast Ireland when she joined the Hun School girls’ basketball team this winter as a post-graduate point guard. more

TRIPLE CROWN: Stuart Country Day School track star Alex Ottomanelli, center, enjoys the moment with teammates Cara Carr, left and Heather Kwafo after the trio placed in the top four in the 55 hurdles at the state Prep B indoor championships earlier this month at the Lawrenceville School. Senior star Ottomanelli took first in the event with Kwafo coming in second and Carr taking fourth. In addition, Ottomanelli won the 800 and helped the 4×400 relay take first and set a school record helping Stuart place first in the meet for the third straight year.

By Bill Alden

Even though the Stuart Country Day School track had taken first in the last two state Prep B indoor championship meets, Alex Ottomanelli and her teammates knew that their streak was in jeopardy as they prepared for the 2020 competition. 

“We were just trying to keep positive all week, we were all hyping each other up for the meet,” said senior star Ottomanelli, reflecting on the championship event that took place on February 1 at the Lawrenceville School. more

February 5, 2020

The Princeton University Art Museum hosted its annual gala, “A Night in the Imperial Kingdom,” on Saturday evening. The benefit raises funds for the museum’s exhibitions and outreach activities, which are offered to all, free of charge. Attendees share their favorite piece of art in the museum in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

With 20,438 confirmed cases and more than 420 deaths in China from 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), local officials in Princeton are working to respond to this global health crisis. As of Tuesday, the United States had 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but none in New Jersey.

Health officials, locally and globally, are taking action to assess individuals who might have been exposed to the virus, which has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Major American airlines have canceled flights to and from China, many businesses have been affected, and it is not clear how extensive quarantines, travel bans, and other restrictions may become.

“At this time, the risk in the U.S. to the general public is low,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser, “and in Princeton the risk is low. At this time there are a small number of cases in the U.S. To limit the risk of spread, health officials are working with health care providers to promptly identify and evaluate anyone they think may have the virus or may be at increased risk.”

Grosser described the town’s response as “an evolving situation,” and he could not say how many Princeton residents might be at risk. “Local health departments are receiving daily updates on guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health,” he said. “The Princeton Health Department has been working with Princeton University to make sure any ill students with a travel history are reported to our office immediately.” more