November 23, 2016

Two separate fires on Sunday caused extensive damage to three shops on Witherspoon and Spring Streets and an office building at 601 Ewing Street. There were no injuries reported, according to Princeton Police Lieutenant Chris Morgan.

Fire departments from Princeton and eight surrounding communities responded to a two-alarm fire at 12:57 p.m. on Sunday at the Village Silver Shop, More Cafe, and Sakura Express in downtown Princeton. Witherspoon Street was closed for about two hours.  more


DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF MORVEN: Morven Museum & Garden was shining bright on Thursday’s opening night reception for the new exhibit, “Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey.”  His best-selling memoir “Born to Run” is the subject of this week’s book review. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

In response to the recent election and its aftermath, with fear and uncertainties that prompted a demonstration by hundreds of University community members last Thursday, Princeton faculty members and key administrators have issued separate statements of support for students’ rights and diversity, and against racism and discrimination.  more

The three Princeton professors conducting Monday’s panel discussion before a packed house at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Dodds Auditorium found themselves facing a different, far more difficult challenge than the one they had originally prepared for. The future under Donald Trump’s administration is full of uncertainty and extremes of possibilities, they agreed, and each ventured their “best guesses” as to what might happen. more


More than 120 children in the Trenton Children’s Chorus (TCC) prepare to delight audience members during the month of December. TCC is an award-winning nonprofit organization providing Trenton area youth with exceptional choral music training and performance opportunities. TCC has performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama, the United Nations, the South African Embassy, the World Café Live, the Washington Monument, and throughout New Jersey. For additional information, visit

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes was honored recently by the National Alliance to End Homelessness for his leadership in Mercer County’s successful efforts to reduce family homelessness. Mr. Hughes received the award at the national organization’s Annual Awards Ceremony on November 17 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. more

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes invites county residents, businesses, and civic groups to join Mercer County employees in their annual Holiday Toy Drive. Toys can be dropped off at a number of convenient locations around the county, and the Mercer County Park Commission will ensure that gifts go directly to a deserving child. more

YWCA Princeton’s St. Nicholas Project is seeking help spreading cheer this holiday season. The project provides holiday presents to help local families in need create the magic of Christmas in their own homes.

Gifts are donated by community members, individuals, families, and businesses. Any individual, organization, family, or business can participate. Volunteers become “St. Nicholas” and choose to sponsor a large family, a small family, or an individual. more


In the foreword to his best-selling autobiography Born to Run (Simon & Schuster $32.50), Bruce Springsteen pictures himself on a hypothetical stage “face to face with eighty thousand (or eighty) screaming rock’n’roll fans” waiting for him to do his “magic trick,” which is “to provide proof of life to that ever elusive, never completely believable ‘us.’” The writing of his life, then, will be his big show, his spectacle, and at 508 pages, the intention is clear: he’s going to give us our money’s worth.  more

Princeton has earned its share of awards and honors over the years. But local officials consider the latest designation, The American Planning Association’s naming of Nassau Street as winner of the 2016 “People’s Choice” award in the Great Places in America program, to be especially significant.

“Winning the People’s Choice Award for Great Places in America is an enormous honor for our town, and it’s an honor shared with our planning staff, Historic Preservation Commission, local merchants, Princeton University (which helps to ensure we have an independent bookstore and movie theater), residents, and visitors,” said Mayor Liz Lempert in an email. “Nassau Street’s lively mix is also a result of wise decisions by our predecessors, who helped to plan and shape the street over generations into a place with a sense of place that has withstood the test of time.” more

Palmer Square has launched a newly designed website to showcase the residences on the square. The new site is located at

The site features new interior and exterior photography and videos of the community’s multi-story townhomes and single-level flats. A separate photo gallery is focused on Palmer Square’s surroundings, including the Princeton University campus and the area’s shopping and dining landscape. Prospective buyers and renters can access real-time availability of for-sale and rental homes, download and print 3D floorplans, view pertinent details on amenities and finishes, and “tour” the culturally-rich neighborhood through an illustrative map that links to 50 points of interest.  more

Starting on Friday, November 25, Hamilton Jewelers will be offering clients, who purchase an engagement ring valued at $5,000 or more, the chance to “celebrate at sea” with the gift of a cruise voyage.

The gift is a three-night trip on the Norwegian Sky cruise ship. The package includes accommodations for two adults, all meals and beverages, port fees, and more. “We wanted to offer our bridal clients a great opportunity to enjoy a romantic getaway to commemorate their engagement, and we felt that a beautiful cruise on the high seas was a memorable option,” said Hamilton president Hank Siegel.  more


Singer-songwriter Norah Jones performs at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank as part of her Day Breaks World Tour on Tuesday, December 6 at 8 p.m. Jones’ new album finds her returning to her jazz roots with collaborations with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and drummer Brian Blade.

To purchase tickets, visit


The Kingston Women’s Chorus (directed by Heather Robbins) will present a concert of songs celebrating various notions of peace on Sunday, December 11 at 7 p.m. at the Kingston United Methodist Church, 9 Church Street in historic Kingston. The program will include peaceful carols, gospel arrangements, John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and much more. A reception will follow the performance. For more information, call (609) 851-9245 or visit


Albert Raboteau and his colleagues in Religious and African American Studies Eddie Glaude and Jeffrey Stout will be discussing his new book American Prophets: Seven Religious Leaders and Their Struggle (Princeton Univ. Press $29.95) at Labyrinth Books on Wednesday, November 30 at 6 p.m. more

“Art demands of us that we do not stand still.” So commented Ludwig van Beethoven on his own late string quartets. No one can argue that the world is far from standing still, and the cycle of Beethoven string quartets presented this year by the Takács String Quartet at Princeton University may represent more than just music. Beethoven composed his repertory of 16 string quartets during some of the most tumultuous decades in world history, and the Takács performance of all the composer’s quartets over six concerts both shows promise for consistency in high-quality music and demonstrates the evolution of the string quartet as a musical form.  more

November 16, 2016


Mayor Liz Lempert addresses the crowd at the Spirit of Princeton’s Veterans Day ceremony Friday. Keynote speaker Roger Williams, secretary of the Princeton Battlefield Society, is among those discussing their reactions to the election in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat struck simultaneously for local Democrats last week. Eighty-three percent of Princeton votes went to Hillary Clinton, Liz Lempert won more than 70 percent of the ballots in the mayoral race, and two Democratic candidates were unopposed in their bid for town council seats. But the surprising Trump victory in the national election seemed to set the mood at Democratic Party Headquarters at 138 Nassau Street. more

At a post-election gathering last Thursday evening at Princeton Public Library, an overflow crowd of anxious residents voiced their fears about the future and heard pledges of support from local officials and the heads of non-profit and religious groups. Organized by the town’s Human Services Department, Mayor Liz Lempert and library director Brett Bonfield, the “Post-Election Conversation with Community Leaders” brought an overflow crowd to the library’s Community Room. more

A public dialogue between Princeton Council and Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber turned testy November 9 when a member of Council confronted Mr. Eisgruber about his response to the way local police handled the arrest of University Professor Imani Perry early this year. Also prominent in the discussion at Monument Hall was the fate of Springdale Golf Course. more


“AN AMAZING LEADER:” Maria Juega retired last month as executive director of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group, now based in Trenton, that she co-founded in Princeton 12 years ago. During these troubled times, she urges patience and faith in “a country that believes in and defends human rights.”

Expressing both concern and hope, Maria Juega, co-founder and recently retired executive director of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), reflected on the current political climate and the challenges for immigrant communities in Trenton and Princeton. more

The New Jersey Chapter of Room to Read presents Recipes Worth Reading: A Tasting Event on Wednesday, November 30, at 6:30 p.m., at Princeton Public Library. Several recipes featured in the newly updated cookbook Recipes Worth Reading will be sampled during the event.

The cookbook features more than 150 recipes from New Jersey chefs, shops, restaurants and home cooks including many Princeton cooks and chefs. It sells for $25 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Room To Read. more


The Princeton Area Community Foundation recently honored Bill Wakefield with the 2016 Annual Leslie “Bud” Vivian Award for Community Service. Shown here with previous winners Anne Reeves (left) and Shirley Satterfield (right), Wakefield was recognized for his years of service advocating for immigrants, his involvement in the issue of mass incarceration, and as part of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow. The award, presented at Nassau Presbyterian Church where Wakefield is an elder and a deacon, is made possible through the Vivian Memorial Fund, an endowed fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation.

In response to widespread post-election concerns, confusion and fear — both locally and globally — Princeton Public Schools (PPS) sent out a letter to families on Monday, ”affirming the values of our school district.”

“While none of us yet know how the politics and policies of our country will change,” stated the missive from superintendent Steve Cochrane, board president Andrea Spalla, and board vice-president Patrick Sullivan, “we stand together to assure our students and our community that our beliefs and goals — grounded in the principles of our democracy — will remain constant for the Princeton Public Schools.” more

NAMI Mercer paid tribute to Madeline Monheit at the 15th annual “Night Out with NAMI” benefit on November 6 at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton. This year’s gala event featured the return of renowned pianist Dr. Richard Kogan who performed “Scott Joplin, the King of Ragtime — Music and the Mind.”

Madeline Monheit was the fifth recipient of the organization’s highest honor — the NAMI Mercer 2016 Pillar Award — in recognition of her 12-year contribution to NAMI’s mission through volunteerism, leadership, advocacy, and charitable giving. more