March 18, 2020
“A MAGICAL ORGANIZATION”: Founders, board members past and present, and staff members of the Latin American Legal and Defense Education Fund (LALDEF) were all in attendance at last week’s Princeton Council meeting when LALDEF received an Award of Recognition for its support of immigrant neighbors since 2004. (Photo courtesy of LALDEF)
By Donald Gilpin
Described as “a magical organization” by its Board Chair Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, the Latin American Legal Defense Education Fund (LALDEF) has been supporting community members in central New Jersey since 2004 and currently serves more than 3,000 clients a year.

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By Stuart Mitchner

It makes surreal, unhappy, pandemic sense, that after last week’s preview of the long-awaited five-day Bryn Mawr Wellesley book event at the Princeton Day School gym that ended after less than two days, I find myself writing a book review about a once-in-a lifetime art event that closed a week after it opened. The e-mail invitation from the Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM) offering “great art” as “a source of solace” came with an implicit now or never alert. The fact that a “number of steps” had been taken to assure the public’s safety left little doubt about the endgame possibility. The promise of “a touch-free museum experience,” and the proviso to keep our social distance, no handshakes, no hugging, along with the assurance that “new disinfection protocols are in place” seemed clinically antithetical to the spirit of the show.

At the same time, there was an irresistible attraction in the element of risk, the idea of an embattled and unprecedented showing of Cézannes, two galleries of “infinite riches” by the “wonder, wonder painter,” as Ernest Hemingway once called him. And there was the paradoxical upside, that because of the threat of the virus, there were no crowds bustling between you and the work of a painter who once told a friend, “One minute in the life of the world is going by! Paint it as it is!”  more

FLUID MOTION: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, which blends contemporary dance, theatrical jazz, and classical ballet into a unique style, is among the attractions at McCarter Theatre next season.

McCarter Theatre Center has announced offerings for the 2020-21 season in music, dance, theatre, and speaker series.

Music events will include performances by violinist Pinchas Zukerman and pianist Yefim Bronfman in a joint recital, pianist Daniil Trifonov, Gächinger Kantorei/Orchestra Bach-Collegium and soloists of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Jeremy Denk and Les Violons du Roy Chamber Orchestra, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, soprano Christine Gorke, and a joint recital from pianist Mitsuko Uchida and tenor Mark Padmore. more

“MORNING”: This painting by Megan Spring will be featured in ArtJam 2020, now running October 15 to 25 in a pop-up gallery on Hulfish Street. The event, which combines the art of professional artists and undiscovered artists who have experienced homelessness, supports ArtSpace, the therapeutic art program at HomeFront.

Originally scheduled for this spring, this year’s ArtJam opens on October 15 in a pop-up gallery with a noble purpose — supporting ArtSpace, the therapeutic art program at HomeFront. The show continues through October 25 at 11 Hulfish Street, Palmer Square in Princeton.

When buyers pick up a painting, sculpture, or other artwork, they experience a double win — buying artworks they love and supporting a good cause. Recognized as a four star charity by Charity Navigator, 90 percent of every dollar raised is dedicated to programs that directly help clients.

“The work of HomeFront is multi-dimensional. We do much more than provide shelter,” says founder and CEO Connie Mercer. “Our programs and activities are designed to help families experiencing homelessness gain skills for self-empowerment and develop a vision of a better future for themselves and their children.” more

GRANDE FINALE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Liam Grande goes after the puck in a game this winter. Senior forward Grande and his classmates saw their college careers come to a premature end last week as the ECAC Hockey playoffs and NCAA championships were canceled due to ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In his finale, Grande scored a goal and an assist as Princeton defeated Dartmouth 5-4 in overtime on March 7 to sweep an ECACH best-of-three first round playoff series. The Tigers ended the winter with a 6-20-5 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the players on the Princeton University men’s hockey team, their locker room at Hobey Baker Rink is a sanctuary.

“The hockey dressing room is a terrific spot because the guys share their daily stories,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty.

“It is a lifetime of preparing for the games and the dressing room is a pretty special spot because of the bonds and brotherhoods that are forged.”

Last Thursday, the dressing room became a solemn spot as the 2019-20 season came to a premature end with the winter playoffs getting canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as Princeton was preparing to take part in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals.

“When it is the last time in the dressing room with that group of guys that you have gotten to know for four years and underclassmen, it is is very difficult for them to say goodbye to each other,” said Fogarty, whose team swept Dartmouth in a best-of-three ECACH first round series from March 7-8 to improve to 6-20-5 and make the league quarters. more

LAST HURRAH: Princeton University women’s hockey player Carly Bullock, left, celebrates with Maggie Connors after a Tiger goal in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. Senior star Bullock helped Princeton win its first-ever ECACH title and earn an NCAA quarterfinal matchup at Northeastern. But Bullock and her teammates were denied a chance to go for another title as the NCAA championships were canceled due to ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Princeton finished the winter with a 26-6-1 record, setting a program mark for most victories in a season.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team got together for dinner at the Metro North last Thursday, it was not a typical night out.

Instead, it marked a last supper as the ECAC Hockey championship squad had convened after the NCAA tournament was canceled due to ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“We went for a team dinner because Princeton University was also being evacuated and we were losing the chance to have a banquet,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey.

“It is hard because there is no real closure. We did the best we could to have something makeshift; it wasn’t a banquet but it was the best we could do for our seniors.” more

IN PLAY: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Brynne Hennessy looks to pass the ball in a game this winter. Playing in her first varsity campaign, junior guard and co-captain Hennessy emerged as a key offensive threat from the perimeter as PHS went 5-20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With a roster including no seniors and few of the returning players having any varsity experience, Dave Kosa knew that his Princeton High girls’ basketball team would take its lumps this winter.

While PHS ended up posting a 5-20 record, Tiger head coach Kosa saw positives as his young squad picked up valuable experience.

“I was definitely encouraged by the progress that we made throughout the course of the season, even though it didn’t show up in the win/loss column,” said Kosa. “Some girls really got better.”

In the last week of the campaign, PHS displayed that improvement, playing three tight games and picking up its fifth win in the process.

“The reason why we played these three games was to get more experience,” said Kosa, whose team fell 37-26 to Northern Burlington on February 25, defeated Willingboro 31-27 two days later, and ended with season by losing 39-33 to Bordentown on February 28. more

March 16, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

As the number of positive tests for COVID-19 rose to 178 in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has announced the closure of all schools, movie theaters, casinos, gyms, nightclubs, and racetracks beginning tonight at  8 p.m. They must remain closed until further notice from the state.

In ongoing efforts to halt the spread of the virus, the governor also banned dining in restaurants,  and gatherings of more than 50 people. He recommended a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. except for emergencies and essential travel. Restaurants can still offer delivery, curbside pickup, and takeout.

Murphy also said that he is mobilizing the New Jersey National Guard to assist in any way possible in handling this emergency.

For local information go to princetonnj.gov or mercercounty.org/covid-19, or call the New Jersey Department of Health hotline at (800) 222-1222.

March 14, 2020

By Anne Levin

At a press conference in Witherspoon Hall Friday afternoon, Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser confirmed that the town has its first positive case of COVID-19. The infected individual is a 49-year-old woman who is on staff at Princeton University.

She attended a private party held February 29 at a home in Princeton. Two people from the Boston area who also attended the gathering subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. Grosser said the results of tests for four other Princeton residents who attended the party, and had symptoms, are still pending.

The woman with a confirmed case of COVID-19 began experiencing mild symptoms on March 3. She attended two events – a dance festival in Staten Island on March 7, and a meeting at Princeton Medical Center on March 9. She has been isolated at her home since then. Grosser said he has been in contact with the coordinators of both of those events to alert them and identify any possible additional exposure.

Mayor Liz Lempert said the town is now under a state of emergency as efforts to contain the virus go into high gear. All scheduled public meetings of Princeton’s boards, committees, and commissions, including the planning and zoning boards, are canceled through April 5, as are meetings of Princeton Council. All municipally sponsored events are canceled through April 30, and all Princeton agencies will coordinate with the Office of Emergency Management. Lempert said the public is urged to use online resources to pay taxes, utility bills, licenses, and conduct any government business that can be done online. more

March 13, 2020

By Anne Levin

A 49-year-old female resident of Princeton is the town’s first positive case of COVID-19. According to the Princeton Health Department, which is awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the woman attended the private party with two people from the Boston area who subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

The woman began experiencing mild illness on March 3. She reported attending two events after her symptoms began. The first event took place in Staten Island on March 7 at a dance festival. The second event was a meeting at the Princeton Medical Center on March 9. She has been isolating at home starting the evening of March 9.

The Princeton Health Department has contacted the event coordinators for both locations to further identify any possible exposure. The Health Department was notified of presumptive positive results for this individual from the New Jersey Department of Healths Public Environmental Health Laboratory today, March 13. more

March 12, 2020

By Anne Levin

In an ever-changing situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton University announced Wednesday that all undergraduate classes will be held online for the rest of the semester, and that students should not return to campus following spring break. And Communiversity, originally scheduled for April 26, has now been postponed until Sunday, October 11.

“All students who are able to must return home and stay home for the rest of the semester,” reads a message to the University community from Jill Dolan, dean of the University, and W. Rochelle Calhoun, vice president for Campus Life. “University settings like Princeton present unique challenges during a pandemic, because of the density of students living and studying in close quarters. Large, highly concentrated numbers of students living on campus will increase the chance of rapid transmission of the coronavirus. Furthermore, our capacity to quarantine those who are sick and those who have been exposed is extremely limited.”  more

March 11, 2020

The beginning of spring is still over a week away, but plenty of children enjoyed the warm, sunny day on Sunday at Marquand Park. The sandbox, with toy trucks and plastic buckets for all, has been a favorite for generations. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn) 

By Donald Gilpin

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the country, with increasing numbers of cases in New Jersey and the tri-state area, local officials on Tuesday reported a potential exposure to COVID-19 at a private party in Princeton and have initiated an investigation to identify any potential infections that may result.

Two people at the party had attended the Biogen Conference in Boston which has been linked to transmission of COVID-19. After their return to their homes in the Boston area, they tested positive for COVID-19.

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) believes there were approximately 30 people at the party, not all Princeton residents. PHD is contacting and investigating all of the Princeton residents who attended the party and is working with other local health jurisdictions where the other attendees live. Those in attendance are being asked to self-quarantine until assessment and any testing is completed.

The PHD investigation is preliminary, and PHD has announced that it will be updating the public as more information becomes available. According to a PHD March 10 press release, “The immediate risk to the general Princeton population remains low.” more

REOPENING SOON: Alexander Street is scheduled to reopen by April 20 after almost six months of collaborative construction work by the county and state on two aging bridges and a culvert. 

By Donald Gilpin

After nearly six months of detours and traffic delays throughout the Princeton area, motorists will be happy when they can once again travel in and out of Princeton on Alexander Street, where an extensive bridge construction project is scheduled to be completed by April 20.

“Everyone is looking forward to the bridge reopening, especially daily commuters who bore the brunt of the increased traffic,” said Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. “The county and the state did an excellent job keeping the project on schedule. And I am especially thankful to Princeton University, Princeton’s merchant community, and NJ Transit for working in advance with the municipality to plan around the bridge closure and help mitigate the impacts.” more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Council voted unanimously on Monday, March 9, in favor of a resolution to hire the contractor Independence Constructors for removal of the canopy at the municipal fueling station on Mount Lucas Road. Since the canopy was installed last February, neighbors have complained that it is unsightly and too harshly lit at night.

The resolution authorizes $61,227 for the project, which will also include new lighting, extending a masonry wall, raising all masonry walls to nine feet, and installing dark-colored stucco and capstone to the wall.

The town’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board (SPRAB) has also recommended removing a rain garden for stormwater runoff at the site, and adding more screening on the other side, which is on Route 206. The rain garden, which is a stormwater requirement, is currently located in a tight spot between a 6-foot-wide sidewalk and a wall. That limits choices in terms of what can be planted there. more

YUM: Delectable treats from LiLLiPiES take center stage in baker Jen Carson’s new book about the Princeton bakery, to be debuted at the shop during Pi Day festivities on Saturday, March 14.

By Anne Levin

Jen Carson, proprietor of LiLLiPiES Bakery in Princeton Shopping Center, has always loved cookbooks. The first loaf she ever baked as a child in Belleville, New Jersey, was from a cookbook she discovered in her elementary school library.

“I thought it was so magical. And I always dreamed of writing one of my own,” Carson said during a chat at LiLLiPiES on a recent Monday, the one day of the week that the bakery is closed.

Carson has recently made that dream a reality. Titled simply LiLLiPiES, her self-published cookbook will be launched this Saturday, March 14 as part of Princeton’s Pi Day celebrations honoring the birthday of Albert Einstein. A book signing at the bakery will start at 3:14 p.m. (3.14 is also the approximate value of pi). The 206-page volume is also available on Amazon.com. more

By Anne Levin

An update on COVID-19 took up a large portion of Princeton Council’s meeting on Monday night, March 9. Several resolutions and ordinances were also on the agenda, involving the removal of the canopy at the fuel facility on Mount Lucas Road (see page one story), the introduction of the 2020 budget, raising backyard chickens, and other issues.

“You’re not a hero by going to work when you should stay at home,” said Mayor Liz Lempert after a presentation on the coronavirus by Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser and Princeton Board of Health Chair George DiFerdinando, advising those who are elderly or compromised to remain at home. “You’re actually a menace.” (See page one for more on the virus).

Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance regulating the keeping of backyard chickens on residential property. “I look forward to legally owning my chickens,” said Karen Zemble, a member of the Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC) and an enthusiastic proponent of raising backyard poultry.  more

By Donald Gilpin

The eleventh annual Princeton Pi Day, celebrating Einstein’s birthday on March 14 (3.14, which is also the first three digits of the mathematical constant known as pi), will be taking place mainly in a virtual setting online this year in response to COVID-19 concerns.

“This is the perfect opportunity to invite the world in a digital context to experience how much of Einstein is in our everyday lives in Princeton,” said Pi Day Founder and Chief Organizer Mimi Omiecinski.

Urging fans to join Princeton Pi Day on Facebook, Omiecinski promised, “You will become an expert on Albert Einstein throughout the day.” She promised multiple videos about Einstein, with opportunities to see little known places on campus and in town and Einstein memorabilia unknown to the general public.

For the popular Einstein Look-Alike Contest, each contestant, age 12 and younger, will send in a photo and a video. The winner will be announced on Pi Day, with a first-place prize of $314.15. more

By Stuart Mitchner

“Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction.”

Reading the opening paragraph of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four you don’t need a 7 percent solution of anything, be it cocaine, morphine, or the adrenaline of anticipation, to appreciate the twin themes of addiction and deduction at the heart of the impending Bryn Mawr Wellesley Book Sale. Along with a first chapter titled “The Science of Deduction,” you’ve got the simultaneously calming and compelling bedside manner of Sir Arthur’s prose, as he slows you down with phrasing that puts the everyday world on pause for “some little time.” And anyone addicted to the rare book mystique has felt something like the “mental exaltation” so “transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind” that Holmes cites in defense of his habit when Watson warns of the “pathological and morbid process” of a drug that may “leave a permanent weakness.”

For Holmesian book sleuths who know their stuff without relying on smartphones or scanners, the quest for printed gold requires the deduction of clues in the form of those deceptively trivial details that can make thousands of dollars worth of difference in value. For the first issue of the first edition of The Sign of Four (not its occasional variant The Sign of The Four), the broken numeral “138” on the contents page appears as “13,” and the misprint “w shed” for “wished” is found on page 56, line 16. A copy with those flaws goes for as much as $8500, and might fetch thousands more without the bookseller’s minutely detailed admission of evidence such as “neat repairs at spine ends and corners; corners and board edges slightly bumped; hinges repaired; endpapers blistered in places,” areas of “slight discoloration” on the covers, “gilt a little dulled, especially on spine.” And of course it’s necessary to disclose additional and more exotic clues  (move that magnifying glass closer, Holmes), namely the two “faint red stains on the slightly chipped and curled edge of the contents page.” more

By Nancy Plum

The Princeton University Music Department is understandably proud of the depth of talent within its “Orchestra family.” In these days when student activism often leads to political change, the University Orchestra staged a “Student Takeover” this past weekend by featuring an undergraduate conductor and graduate student composer, as well as two student instrumental soloists, in a pair of concerts at Richardson Auditorium. Friday night’s performance (the concert was repeated Saturday night) included two high-spirited concerti, a contemporary work by a University graduate student, and an opera overture conducted by a University senior.

Each of the four works on Friday night’s program was equally significant in showcasing the University’s talented musicians. Senior Reilly Bova, a conductor as well as principal timpanist for the University Orchestra, led the ensemble in Carl Maria von Weber’s 1821 “Overture” to the opera Der Freischütz. Revolutionary in its roots in German folklore and orchestral effects, this “Overture” provided Bova with the opportunity to maintain firm control over the ensemble and the dramatic changes in mood. Conducting from memory, Bova brought out a gentle pastoral nature from a quintet of horns and built suspense well throughout the piece. Throughout the “Overture,” Bova demonstrated solid capabilities from the podium, showing the training from his numerous music department activities during his Princeton career. more

Mort Paterson of Philadelphia (left) as Anton Schindler, Mark Applegate of Washington Crossing as Anton Diabelli, and Peter de Mets of Newtown, Pa., (at piano) as Ludwig van Beethoven in “33 Variations.” The play runs from March 13-22 at the Kelsey Theatre on the Mercer County Community College Campus.

A HINT OF IRISH: Folksinger Joe Jencks brings his Irish heritage into the mix at a concert March 20 at Christ Congregation Church.

On Friday, March 20 at 8 p.m., the Princeton Folk Music Society presents Joe Jencks in an evening of traditional American folk song with a bit of an Irish accent. The performance is at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane.

Drawing on his Irish heritage as a dual U.S./Irish Citizen, Jencks weaves a diverse web of stories into his music. He is a 20-year veteran of the international folk circuit, an award-winning songwriter, and celebrated vocalist based in Chicago. The composer of several songs including “Lady of The Harbor,” Jencks is also co-founder of the harmony trio Brother Sun. He has performed at festivals including Falcon Ridge, Kerrville, Mariposa, and Old Songs, and at venues such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

Tickets at the door are $25 ($20 members, $10 students, $5 children). Visit www.princetonfolk.org for more information.

“RV FIRE, NEVADA 2019”: This photo by Lindsay Godin is one of the pieces in “The Road,” a photography exhibit running through March 27 at the MCCC James Kerney Campus Gallery in Trenton. The public is invited to a reception and talk on March 12 from 5-7 p.m.

In its first in a series of guest curated shows, Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus (JKC) Gallery presents a new photography exhibition by Float Photo magazine founders Dana Stirling and Yoav Friedlander entitled “The Road.”

The show runs through March 27 and features photographic images of iconic Americana. The public is invited to a reception with curators, Stirling, and Friedlander on Thursday, March 12 from 5-7 p.m. with a talk at 6 p.m. at the JKC Gallery, Trenton Hall, 137 North Broad Street in Trenton. more

“SPUTNIK SAMOVAR”: This design by Konstantin Sobakin is featured in “Everyday Soviet: Soviet Industrial Design and Nonconformist Art” on view through May 17 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers in New Brunswick. The exhibit explores Soviet design from the postwar era.

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, in collaboration with the Moscow Design Museum, presents the first exhibition in the United States to explore Soviet industrial design from the postwar era. “Everyday Soviet: Soviet Industrial Design and Nonconformist Art” is on view through May 17.

While creative innovation in design flourished in the Soviet Union in the years between 1959 and 1989, limitations in both fabrication processes and consumer circulation resulted in production shortages and left many design ideas unmade. As an outcome, Soviet design from this period is globally largely unknown. “Everyday Soviet” explores the material culture of this period through more than 300 objects loaned from the Moscow Design Museum, including household objects, fashion, posters, and sketches of products and interiors. These objects are further juxtaposed with a selection of approximately 85 works of nonconformist or underground art of the time from the Zimmerli’s Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, offering a holistic examination of the ways in which design and art developed concurrently. more

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Princeton University women’s hockey goalie Steph Neatby turns aside a shot on recent action. Last weekend, Neatby starred as Princeton defeated Clarkson 5-1 in the ECAC Hockey semifinals on Saturday and then rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge No. 1 Cornell 3-2 in overtime in the title game to earn the program’s first ECACH crown. The Tigers, now 26-6-1 overall, are next in action when they play at Northeastern on March 14 in an NCAA quarterfinal contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team started the ECAC Hockey playoffs by surviving a three-game marathon against Quinnipiac, including winning a double overtime thriller in the decisive third game, it believed that experience could lead to a deep postseason run.

“I don’t think they realized how hard that first series was going to be,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey. “I think it really prepared them for the next games.”

Facing a hard game in the semis on Saturday against a Clarkson team that had beaten it 2-1 on February 15, the Tigers rode a three-goal outburst in the second period to a 5-1 victory at Ithaca, N.Y.

“It was surreal, hockey is interesting, you can have a ton of chances and you can feel like they just never go in the net,” said Morey, who got goals from Solveig Neunzert, Shannon Griffin, Sarah Fillier, Kate Monihan and Maggie Connors in the win with goalie Steph Neatby making 29 saves. more