December 23, 2015

A struggle between a family’s enduring legacy and its chance for a brighter future takes center stage in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, running January 8 through February 7 at McCarter Theatre.

Winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, The Piano Lesson is set in 1930s Pittsburgh, revolving around the Charles family and the fate of an ancient piano covered in carvings. To reclaim his family’s legacy, Boy Willie (Marcus Callender) wishes to sell their priceless heirloom, but will his sister Berniece (Miriam A. Hyman) and the ghosts of their past stand in his way? more

record revA good way to go in this life is to find something you really enjoy doing and then learn to do it better than anybody. — Chet Baker

Tis the season to be jolly and celebrate Chet Baker, who was born on this date, a day short of Christmas Eve, December 23, 1929. What does the man whose trumpet and voice put West Coast jazz on the map have to do with Christmas? You could ask the same of the weather, with 72 degrees predicted for Christmas Eve, or of Bob Dylan, whose album, Christmas in the Heart, was reviewed here on the same day of the month six years ago.

Online you can join the patrons of an Amsterdam jazz club watching Chet Baker play “Auld Lang Syne” on the last New Year’s Eve of his life, December 31, 1987. He begins in a tentative, almost desultory way before the momentum of the moment moves him and he makes a gesture to the rhythm section, as if to say really play it, take it to the limit, give it the full measure of your devotion, and with that he dives into the second chorus, bending the notes just so, as only he can do, each one as bright and simple as the lights on a Christmas tree.  more

Battlefield Tour

Join members of the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) on Wednesday, December 30 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for a free walking tour of Clarke House and Princeton Battlefield. Learn about the progress of the battle through its two main phases and how the Patriots were beaten back in the first phase, only to rally under General Washington to win in the Counterattack. PBS will also reveal the details of a recently discovered mass grave, which is the focus of a federal grant. more

Toy Drive

Displaying some of the thousands of toys and gifts collected during the annual Mercer County holiday toy drive are Mercer County Park Rangers Fran Lippincott, Jeffrey Pownall, and Andrew Ridolfi. For security reasons, the Marine could not be named. This year’s drive was an unprecedented success due to support from such local businesses as PetSmart in Hamilton Township and Atrium Health and Senior Living, which between them donated thousands of toys for less fortunate children. The toys were presented to Marine Corps Reserve representatives for the Toys for Tots Program at the historic Hunt House in Hopewell Township.

December 16, 2015


Today, December 16, is the last chance to see the beautiful holiday decorations by garden clubs from across New Jersey at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey governor’s mansion on Stockton Street. For more than 25 years, decorating for the holidays on the mansion’s first floor has been a tradition. The Drumthwacket Foundation continues this year with a nostalgic look back, partnering with The Garden Club of New Jersey and Garden Club of America. Other participating clubs in this festive display include clubs from Bay Head, Keyport, Mountain Lakes, Warren, Morristown and Somerset Hills. Hours are 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and reservations are necessary. Visit Admission is free. (Photo courtesy of NJ Office of Information Technology) 

See below for the December 14, 2015 Princeton Council Meeting.

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

At a meeting between Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber and Princeton Council, Mr. Eisgruber touched on a host of issues ranging from expansion of the student body to sexual assaults on campus. The meeting was held at the former Borough Hall on Monday evening.

This is the third time in three years that the governing body has invited Mr. Eisgruber to speak about issues pertinent to “town and gown.” “Maintaining an open channel is important,” Mr. Eisgruber said in his opening remarks, adding, “Three years is sufficient to call it a tradition at this point.” more


FIGHTING FOR RESPECT: Princeton University men’s hockey player David Hallisey, left, battles a foe for the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Friday at Penn State, sophomore forward Hallisey chipped in two assists as Princeton rallied from a 4-0 deficit to draw within one goal before succumbing 6-3. A night later, Hallisey scored the lone goal for Princeton as it fell 4-1 in an exhibition game against the USA Under-18 team. The Tigers, now 4-9 overall, are next in action when they host No. 3 Quinnipiac (15-1-2) on December 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

David Hallisey is making up for lost time this winter in his sophomore season with the Princeton University men’s hockey team. more

Princeton Insider Feature Image

Princeton Magazine has hand-picked a selection of stocking stuffers to suit everyone in your family. From delicious chocolates to gifts for the outdoorsman, simply click each product image to browse and buy. Be sure to place orders as soon as possible for Christmas delivery!


Princeton University, as promised in response to last month’s demands of Black Justice League (BJL) students, has formed a special trustee committee to consider the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, and has created a website to collect information and opinions about Wilson and his legacy (

The committee has also invited scholars and biographers to share their understanding of Wilson and his legacy for posting on the website, and it hopes to begin publishing some of these scholarly opinions in January.

Trustees vice-chair Brett Henry, a Princeton 1969 graduate and vice president and general counsel of Partners Healthcare System, will chair the 10-member committee. more

It’s the same battlefield, but 238 years later another Battle of Princeton is heating up. The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) announced last week that it is moving ahead with its 15-unit faculty housing project on approximately seven acres of a 21-acre site, while the Princeton Battlefield Society and other opposition forces marshal resistance on political, historical, and environmental grounds.

State Senator Bob Smith (D-17), chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, announced Tuesday that hearings on the IAS construction project and the Princeton Battlefield will be held on December 21 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Environmental Committee Room of the statehouse in Trenton. Representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Princeton Battlefield Society and the IAS have been invited to attend, according to Mr. Smith. Others are welcome to participate. “Hopefully,” Mr. Smith said, ”we’ll get a little more information on the issue.” more


CUTTING THE RIBBON ON A SIXTH OUTPATIENT CENTER: Richard Wohl, right, president of Princeton House Behavioral Health and senior vice president of Princeton HealthCare System; and Eatontown Borough Council President Mark W. Regan, center, were joined by staffers to open Princeton House’s outpatient center in Eatontown last spring. The Eatontown facility is the latest in a pattern of growth for the Princeton-based institution.

Back in 1990, Princeton House Behavioral Health was losing money. There was a lack of confidence in its services. The Board of Trustees was considering putting the organization up for sale.

That’s when Richard Wohl was hired as vice president. With advanced degrees in both social work and business, he had other ideas about the organization’s future. “I thought it sounded like a business turnaround,” he said during a recent interview in his office. “I had had two prior jobs I regarded as turnarounds, so I knew how they worked. They decided to give it one more try.” more


SHINING SOHN: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Isabelle Sohn takes the puck up the ice in a game last winter. PHS is looking for senior forward and team captain Sohn to provide leadership and production again this season. The Little Tigers, who started their 2015-16 campaign by losing 7-2 to Summit last Wednesday, are slated to play at Princeton Day School on December 16 and at Pingry on December 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

A group of seven seniors helped the Princeton High girls’ hockey team enjoy a memorable season last winter as it went 7-8 and won the ‘B’ bracket at the WILHMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) tournament. more

Demolition of the Butler Tract, home for almost 70 years to Princeton University graduate students, began this week. The University received a permit to take down 17 of the barracks-like units on the property bordered by Hartley Avenue, Sycamore Road, Longview Drive, and South Harrison Street.

The 33-acre site will likely be turned into housing, but the University’s Board of Trustees will make the final decision, according to Kristin Appelget, the school’s director of community and regional affairs. The development was originally built as temporary housing after World War II for returning veterans. More modular units were added in 1988. Graduate students and their families now live in Lakeside, the complex along Faculty Road that the school opened early this year. more

books revSixteen years after its original release, Princeton University and Neighboring Institutions (Princeton Architectural Press, $34.95) returns in a new, expanded edition that features the historic and contemporary campus.

Compiled by Robert Barnett, Princeton University features a collection of 13 walks, each including an introductory essay detailing both historical and contemporary issues related to featured buildings, landscapes, and artworks situated throughout the campus. Readers are taken on a tour past such locations as the Princeton University Art Museum, Graduate College, and newly added neighboring institutions including the Princeton Theological Seminary and the Institute for Advanced Study.

With illustrated, aerial perspective maps guiding the reader around the campus, Princeton University takes an in-depth look into the University’s architectural history. As current Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber states in his foreword, “This magical place — captured so thoroughly and beautifully in this guide — has inspired students, alumni, faculty, staff, and visitors since the university […] moved to Princeton in 1756. This book will enable you to trace the remarkable evolution of our campus, and that of our neighboring institutions and town, from the colonial period to the modern day.”  more

Students in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing will read from their new work as part of the Program’s Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series. The reading will take place on December 16 at 5 p.m. at Taylor Commons in the Frick Chemistry Lab at Princeton University. The event is free and open to the public.

Students will read from new works of fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and literary translation completed during the past semester as part of the fall creative writing workshops. more

Art Rutgers“Donkey-donkey, Petunia, and Other Pals: Drawings by Roger Duvoisin” will be on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through June 2016. Duvoisin’s remarkable children’s book illustrations have charmed and captivated generations of young readers.

Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1904, Roger Duvoisin came to the United States in the mid-1920s to work as a textile designer. In 1932, he created A Little Boy Was Drawing, his first children’s book, which he wrote and illustrated for his son. Duvoisin eventually became a popular illustrator for more than 140 children’s books, 40 of which he authored. Until his death in 1980, Duvoisin resided in New Jersey.

In addition to A Little Boy Was Drawing, the exhibition features illustrations for Donkey-donkey: The Troubles of a Silly Little Donkey (1933); White Snow, Bright Snow (1947); Petunia (1950); A for the Ark (1952); Nubber Bear (1966); The Old Bullfrog (1968); The Web in the Grass (1972); The Crocodile in the Tree (1972); Snowy and Woody (1979); and The Happy Lioness (1980).  more

The Princeton University Orchestra sent its members home for the holidays with a concert of music ranging from chipper and lively to toweringly rich. Friday night’s performance of the University Orchestra at Richardson Auditorium (the concert was also presented Thursday night) combined the vibrant brass of 16th-century Giovanni Gabrieli with the melodic lyricism of Franz Schubert, topped off with the symphonic complexity of Gustav Mahler.

Conductor Michael Pratt began the concert Friday night with a nod to the season with a selection from Gabrieli’s extensive antiphonal brass choir repertory. Three brass quartets stood around the Richardson balcony, while Mr. Pratt directed traffic from the stage. Each choir was scored slightly differently, with the opening center choir showing off crisp trumpets on the rhythms of Gabrieli’s Canzon a 12. The horns, trombones, and tubas of the other two brass choirs supported the sound well as the antiphonal music soared around the hall. more

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is receiving a 2016 Art Works award from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help fund a community engagement project centered on Hiraeth, a new work by Princeton composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. The work was co-commissioned by the PSO in honor of its 35th anniversary celebrating the creativity of women, a tribute to Ms. Snider’s first teacher and founding artistic director of the PSO, Portia Sonnefeld.

Upon learning of the Art Works award, PSO Executive Director Marc Uys said, “It’s terrific to receive this recognition from the NEA as it validates our mission to continue to bring new music to our patrons and the greater Princeton community. Beyond being a talented woman, Sarah is quite simply a talented composer, with whom we are very fortunate to work.” more

PDS Kids

Three lower school students at Princeton Day School team up to wrap one of the donated presents for the third annual “Wrap-In” to benefit foster children through the One Simple Wish Foundation.  

Cocoa Sale

Recently, a group of New Jersey Economic Development Authority employees sold cocoa and homemade cookies on West State Street in Trenton as part of One Simple Wish’s (OSW) first annual Cocoa for Kids campaign. Over $1,000 was raised to support OSW’s efforts to grant over 800 wishes this holiday season, many of those from local New Jersey foster children. For more information on Cocoa for Kids or to grant a wish, visit or contact One Simple Wish at

DVD the killing

He sat back, checking only to see if the tape was still running, lit his pied piper, and gave ear. — John Lennon, from Skywriting by Word of Mouth

On one of this December’s rare rainy afternoons a dark green 2000 Honda CRV pulls into a deserted parking lot and sits idling while the male occupant talks urgently into his cell phone. Ten minutes later a silver-gray 2011 CRV pulls up alongside. Rolling his window part way down, the man in the green car calls out “Yo Linden!” and the woman in the silver car laughs and shouts back “Holder!”

The couples’ playful nod to Linden and Holder was inspired by their total immersion in the rain-drenched world of The Killing, where two Seattle detectives are trying to capture the Pied Piper, a serial killer so named because his victims are teenage girls, street kids selling sex to make ends meet. more

Princeton Airport has announced that Santa will be flying in at 11 a.m. on December 24 to participate in a holiday celebration and gift-giving event sponsored by the Nierenberg family, owners of the airport. This festive arrival has been taking place annually since 1975.

Parents should bring a wrapped gift with their child’s name on it in large print to the Princeton Airport lobby. Also, to have their child participate, parents need to bring a new, unwrapped gift for the less fortunate, to be collected by the Mercer County Board of Social Services.  more

winter farmers market

The first Farmers’ Market of the winter season will be held Thursday, December 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library. There will be 20 vendors with a variety of fresh local organic produce along with a number of other goods and holiday treats.

Look for free-range beef, poultry, eggs, cheese, pickles, honey, baked goods, linens, nut butters, chocolate, pasta, and more.

Future markets at the library, which is at 65 Witherspoon Street, are scheduled for January 21 and February 18. On March 24, the market will move to the Nassau Inn, and the outdoor market returns to Hinds Plaza outside the library on April 21. more


NIALLING IT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Niall -Carpenter looks for an opening in recent action. Last Sunday, senior guard Carpenter scored 13 points to help Hun defeat the Phelps School (Pa.) 73-62 in the third-place game at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT). Hun, now 3-4, hosts Allentown High on December 19 in the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Mercer County Tip-Off Classic and then faces Linden High the next day at Caldwell University in the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Niall Carpenter was disappointed by the lack of resolve that the Hun School boys’ basketball team displayed as it fell 62-40 to the Kiski School (Pa.) in the semifinals of the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT) last Saturday. more