January 20, 2016

record revIf someone in the strange sad days since January 10 were to ask what David Bowie means to me, I’d say two words, Hunky Dory. From all that I’ve read online since the ongoing event of his death, I’m not alone in thinking Bowie’s fourth LP is his best, not an album so much as the creation of a mood, a state of mind my wife and I associate with the best, brightest moments of the 1970s. We lived in the music much as we lived in our consciousness of England and our two years in Bristol, the city we came to know and love. The songs from that haunting, stirring, and most companionable of records evoke the country of Shakespeare and Chaplin, of Hampstead Heath and Kate Bush’s “old river poet” the Thames. Much more than a none-too-sturdy piece of black vinyl, Hunky Dory was a very special, pleasant place to be for a father, mother, and the child who was born five years after its 1971 release and who, on hearing the news of the death of his “biggest hero” four decades later, said “It’s like losing a member of the family.”

While the tracks we found most fascinating and challenging were “Life on Mars,” “Oh You Pretty Things,” “Quicksand,” and “The Bewley Brothers,” the song that we felt closest to as a family (we and no doubt thousands if not millions of other families) was “Kooks,” which may be the most charming thing Bowie ever wrote.  more

Photograph © T. Charles Erickson

HUMOR AND HUMANITY: (L to R) Lymon (David Pegram), Wining Boy (Cleavant Derricks), Doaker (John Earl Jelks), and Boy Willie (Stephen Tyrone Williams) share stories and memories of the past in McCarter Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Piano Lesson” at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through February 7. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Twenty-eight years after its original creation, 90 years distant from its Depression-era setting in the Pittsburgh Hill District, August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson (1987) speaks powerfully, lyrically, and eloquently of an African-American family in conflict and of their past, which they must confront, embrace, and overcome in order to move forward. more



ANNUAL HOMECOMING CONCERT: The Westminster Choir, conducted by Joe Miller, will present its annual homecoming concert titled “Angel Band” on Monday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus. Admission is free, but tickets are required. To reserve tickets in advance, call (609) 258-9220 or visit www.princeton.edu/utickets.

The Westminster Choir, conducted by Joe Miller, will conclude its 2016 tour of the Eastern United States with its annual homecoming concert on Monday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus. Admission is free, but tickets are required. To order tickets call (609) 258-9220 or visit www.princeton.edu/utickets. more

boy's 100 fly

ON THE FLY: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Stephen Kratzer heads to victory in the 100 butterfly in a win over Hamilton earlier this month. Senior star and co-captain Kratzer has starred in the sprinting events this winter for PHS as it has posted a 6-4 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although the Princeton High boys’ swimming team got off to a rough start this season, losing three of its first five meets, Stephen Kratzer believed that experiencing those setbacks toughened up the squad.  more

January 13, 2016


A mid-point perspective on the evolution of Princeton University’s Arts and Transit Project. The buildings are designed by architect Steven Holl. The full project is expected to open in the fall of 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

As the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) set forth its latest plan to halt the Institute for Advanced Study’s (IAS) faculty housing project last week, the Institute, claiming that “our right to build is not in doubt,” announced that it has received all necessary permits and addressed all reasonable concerns and that the project “is essential if [the Institute] is to be able to sustain its mission for future generations of scholars.”

PBS last Thursday filed notice to sue IAS and its partnering construction and engineering firms in federal court under the Clean Water Act, unless, within 60 days, federal (Environmental Protection Agency) or state (Department of Environmental Protection) authorities stop the 15-unit housing project.  more

In response to recent U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids across the nation, an information session will take place in the Community Room at St. Paul’s Church at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Sponsored by Princeton Human Services, Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), and Unidad Latina en Accion NJ (ULA), the workshop will cover the following topics: who is at risk of being deported? what to do during a raid? your rights in this country, and organizations that can assist you in the event of a raid.

An immigration lawyer will be present to answer general questions, and Human Services will provide additional helpful information and resources to residents who may be fearful about how to respond if ICE agents come to their home. For example, ICE agents must show a court order signed by a judge to enter someone’s home. Otherwise the resident is not obligated to open the door.  more

See below for the January 13, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

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

Aurora, Newtown, Fort Hood, Charleston, San Bernardino, and so many other place names resonate with the shock waves of gun violence in America.

“We are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency,” President Barack Obama stated last week from his podium in the East Room of the White House. “It doesn’t happen in other countries. It’s not even close.”

As Mr. Obama pressed new executive actions to reduce gun violence, and presidential candidates debated gun control issues, Princeton Council member Heather Howard, director of the State Health Assistance Network and lecturer in public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, saw the epidemic of gun violence as a public health issue, with the “need for a multifaceted response.” more


A COMMUNITY RESOURCE: The late-18th-century house at the Updike Farmstead, now the permanent home of the Historical Society of Princeton, is a scenic location for weddings as well as a repository for the area’s history. The HSP has reopened after consolidating its operations at the six-acre site.

Twelve years ago, the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) purchased the six-acre Updike Farmstead, a bucolic spread that extends behind a late-18th-century white farmhouse on Quaker Road. The HSP’s main headquarters had been at Bainbridge House, on Nassau Street, since 1967. But once the purchase of the Updike Farmstead was completed, a plan was developed to make the more rural setting the HSP’s permanent location. more


COMEBACK KIDS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Spencer Weisz guards a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday at Penn, junior forward Weisz scored 10 points and had three rebounds to help Princeton rally from a late 11-point deficit to pull out a 73-71 overtime win against the Quakers at the Palestra in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 10-4 overall and 1-0 Ivy, are on exam break and will next be in action when they host Division III foe Bryn Athyn on January 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The photo of Mitch Henderson leaping for joy after he helped the Princeton University men’s basketball team stun defending national champion UCLA in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament is one of the iconic images in program history. more

Princeton Council voted at its Monday, January 11 meeting to introduce a bond ordinance that would allow the acquisition of a 20.4-acre parcel of vacant land between Mt. Lucas Road and Route 206. The purchase, which Mayor Liz Lempert called “a very important environmental piece,” would be financed by a $4.4 million deal that would be mostly paid for by Mercer County, the Friends of Princeton Open Space, and the Williams/Transco company.

The parcel, which is owned by Princeton Land Development, would add to the size of the Princeton Ridge Preserve. Mercer County would provide a $2.2 million grant for the purchase. Friends of Princeton Open Space would give $100,000, Williams/Transco would pay $153,000, and New Jersey’s Green Acres grant program would cover the rest. “We’re hoping to purchase it with little or no municipal funding,” the town’s administrator Marc Dashield said. more

Evergreen Forum’s Spring 2016 courses range from the timely (“Presidential Powers in Times of Crisis”) to the timeless (“Dante Alighieri”). They explore more recent trends (“Sounds of the 1950s”) and historic movements (the vocal music of “Classical Masters”). There are even villains (Richard III) and dangerous women (“Mixed Messages: Hollywood’s Femmes Fatales and Feminism”).

Registration is now underway for these and other Spring Evergreen Forum courses presented under the auspices of the Princeton Senior Resource Center. Classes meet once a week for four to eight weeks, beginning on February 29. Participants may register online by mail, or in person at PSRC. more

After the mass shooting at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. last June, a group of parishioners from Trinity Church began to meet regularly to explore the history and meaning of white supremacy. Those discussions led to another eight weeks of study, this time on the roots of white supremacy in the history and theology of Christianity.

Now, those parishioners, led by Associate Rector Nancy J. Hagner, have decided it is time to do more than talk. Beginning Saturday, January 16, in commemoration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, a weekend-long prayer vigil will be held. The focus is on the issue of mass incarceration and solitary confinement. To bring that reality home, a replica of a solitary confinement cell will be on display, courtesy of the Trenton/Princeton chapters of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow “Out the Box” initiative. more


MOVING FORWARD: Princeton High girls’ hockey player -Maggie Herring controls the puck in recent action. Junior forward Herring has triggered the offense this winter for the Little Tigers. She tallied four goals and an assist in PHS’s 5-3 win over Pingry in late December. PHS, now 1-6, plays at Princeton Day School on January 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

When the Princeton High girls’ hockey team fell behind Pingry 3-1 after one period in its final game of December, it looked like the Little Tigers were headed to their fifth straight loss to start the season. more

book revLet’s say I’m sitting on a bench in Central Park thinking about long-ago weekend afternoons playing catch with Florence Victor, a tall, lean, motor-mouth poet with long black hair tied back in a pony tail, who stopped talking only when she was throwing the ball and did she throw it, crack! every time it hit my mitt. Being truly, proudly, deeply neurotic, she was usually talking about her various ailments and anxieties, which tended to be interchangeable with her poetry.

So as I’m sitting there smiling, remembering how Florence and I sometimes kept the ball flying between us until twilight and beyond, along comes this tall guy in a hoodie with a camera in his hand, asking if he can take my picture. Ordinarily I’d say “no thanks” and find another bench, but since this is an imaginary encounter I know right away that this guy is Brandon Stanton whose book Humans of New York: Stories has been my constant companion, along with the fiction of Chekhov, ever since the new year began. In fact, the more I read the two together, the more I realize how many subtle unexpected things the humans of New York have in common with the humans of late 19th-century Russia. Before he can get started, I explain that his book was a party gift from a friend at work. “It’s addictive,” I tell him. “It lights me up every time I look inside.”  more

Art Groya

GETTYSBURG: An artist reception for Cynthia Groya’s “150 Years After the Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective,” will take place on Sunday, January 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Nassau Club, located at 6 Mercer Street in Princeton. Groya taught at Bucks County Community College and Newtown Friends School before founding C.A.P.S. (Cultural Arts in Progress), an interdisciplinary art school in Yardley. She resides in Princeton.

The Nassau Club will host an artist reception for Cynthia Groya’s “The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective” on Sunday, January 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through March 6.

Groya’s “Civil War” exhibit, expresses a conversation about the struggle for equal rights, which can be traced back to the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago. The outcome of that war preserved the Union, but the struggle for equal rights continues. The abstract landscapes, exteriors, and interiors of Groya’s paintings are done on multiple surfaces of plexiglass. The hope is that these works inspire reflection amongst viewers.  more


Metuchen-based Raconteur Radio presents a staged radio play of Gaslight Sunday, January 24, at 3 p.m. in the Community Room at Princeton Public Library. The production is adapted from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play about an opera singer whose husband attempts to drive her insane and the Scotland Yard detective who intervenes on her behalf.

Featuring Laurence Mintz, Jason Jackson, and Danielle Illario, the 55-minute production includes theatrical lighting, period costumes, Golden Age radio equipment, sound effects, and vintage commercials.  more

Art Stuart

UNIVERSAL RHYTHMS 1: This piece is one of the paintings by Alan Taback, and are part of the Painters’ Paradise Art Exhibition on display in the Considine Gallery at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton until February 25, 2016.

The public is invited to view the exhibit on display at Stuart’s Considine Gallery, until February 25, 2016 featuring the works of Silvère Boureau and Alan Taback. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, when school is in session.

Silvère Boureau grew up in France surrounded by a family of artists, sculptors and writers. When he came from France in 1982, he was primarily an expressionist painter of the human form, however, he was heavily influenced by American landscape and its interpretation by nineteenth century luminists. Silvère draws inspiration from the remote wilderness, especially his experiences in the backwoods of Maine, the Adirondack Mountains and the Grand Canyon. To stand on a mountaintop and look as far as the eye can see without encountering any mark of human intervention remains an exhilarating experience for him.  more

January 12, 2016


HOT STREAK: Princeton University women’s hockey player Kelsey Koelzer heads up the ice. Last weekend, junior defenseman Koelzer came up big. On Friday, Koelzer scored three goals in a 6-1 win over Brown for her first career hat trick and then chipped in a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over Yale a day later as the Tigers posted their eighth straight win. Princeton, now 13-4-1 overall and 7-4-1 ECAC Hockey, plays at Union on January 8 and at Rensselaer on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski).

Taking a six-game winning streak into the holiday break, the Princeton University women’s hockey team was determined to keep its foot on the gas when it resumed action last weekend with games against Brown and Yale.

“We had 20 days off so we worked super hard this past week,” said junior defenseman Kelsey Koelzer.

“It was like we never left, we just picked up where we left off. We have a good streak going, which is awesome to keep morale up. It is exactly the way we know we can play. We have a lot of skill, we have a lot of talent but, most importantly, we work really hard.” more

Stuart Pic

The Co-ed Early Childhood Program at Stuart announces TOTS: Topics on Toddlers at Stuart, a free educational discussion series for parents of children ages 1 to 4 years of age. The informal gatherings, held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month from January through May, 2016, will be led by Stuart’s expert teachers in the school’s co-ed Early Childhood Program (the first session will be held on January 12). Discussion topics include: understanding child development, capitalizing on early literacy and math skills, instilling the confidence to try new things, and more. There is no charge and complimentary, supervised play for children is provided. Space is limited. Parents may register at www.stuartschool.org/tots.

See below for the January 11, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

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

January 7, 2016


According to the AvalonBay website, apartments and townhomes are expected to be offered for lease starting in the summer of 2016: “This is not just apartment living. This is living up.” For more information, visit www.avaloncommunities.com. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

See below for the January 4, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

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

January 6, 2016

Speaking to a packed room of citizens and representatives of local, county, and state government, Mayor Liz Lempert ushered in 2016 at Princeton Council’s official reorganization meeting Monday evening by going over accomplishments of the past year and touching on some plans for the new one.

Starting with a look at consolidation three years after the merger was put in place, Ms. Lempert told the audience, “Today I’m happy to report that it is working, and working well.” She touted net savings of $2.77 million since Princeton Borough and Township were made into one entity, and said more savings can be expected in coming years. more