December 23, 2015


WALLS AND WINDOWS: Repainting the exterior and reglazing windows at Nassau Presbyterian Church was a recent project for Greenleaf Painters, which counts many houses of worship among its client base. Former pastor Jonathan Shenk started the company a decade ago.

Jonathan Shenk doesn’t limit his client base to houses of worship. But churches, synagogues, and Quaker meetinghouses figure highly in the work done by Greenleaf Painters, the company he founded a decade ago. Since Mr. Shenk is a former pastor and a self-described “missionary kid” whose parents were Mennonite missionaries, it makes sense.

The Princeton Junction resident, whose company is based in Lawrenceville, recently completed work on the exterior of Nassau Presbyterian Church, to which he and his family belong. In addition to residential projects, other local jobs have included the Jewish Center of Princeton and Princeton Baptist Church. The Ewing Presbyterian Church, which was considered uninhabitable and listed as one of Preservation New Jersey’s Ten Most Endangered Sites in New Jersey, is another client, as is the Friends Meetinghouse in Trenton. more

Kiplinger has named Princeton University as first in private universities and second overall in its 2016’s Top 300 Best College Values. Introduced in 1998, the rankings combine public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list.

Washington and Lee University took the number 1 spot on the overall list, followed by Princeton and Harvard. Princeton took first place for private universities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was ranked best public college for the 15th consecutive time. Davidson College earned second place, after Washington and Lee, for best liberal arts college.
The full rankings are now available online at and will appear in print in the February 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 5. “We start with a universe of 1,200 schools, so each school in our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value,” said Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.  more

PPS Team

GREEN TEAM ON THEIR WAY: (L to R) Facilities Director Gary Weisman, Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Lehet, Athletics Director John Miranda, PPS parent Jennifer Jang, and Social Studies K-8 Supervisor Tim Charleston participate in the opening meeting of Princeton Schools’ program to achieve Sustainability Certification.

In partnership with the community to “reduce our collective carbon footprint,” Princeton Public Schools (PPS) has formed a Green Team and embarked on an initiative to achieve certification from Sustainable Jersey for Schools.

Co-chaired by Superintendent Steve Cochrane and science supervisor Edward Cohen, the PPS Green Team of approximately 20 staff, administrators, parents, community, and board members will advise and support the district’s efforts to study and adopt practices that integrate sustainability education into the curriculum, professional training, and use of resources.  more

Herrera BookRevBrian Eugenio Herrera, assistant professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University, has received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his book, Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance, which examines Latino representation and Latino artists in American theater and culture. The Nathan Committee took particular note of the analysis of the success and impact of the 1957 musical West Side Story.

The Nathan Award, administered by Cornell University’s Department of English, has been given annually since 1959 for “the best piece of drama criticism during the theatrical year.” Named for theater critic George Jean Nathan, the award realizes his “object and desire to encourage and assist in developing the art of drama criticism and the stimulation of intelligent playgoing.” Awardees are selected by a majority vote of the heads of the English departments of Cornell, Princeton, and Yale universities. The award carries a $10,000 prize and is considered one of the most generous and distinguished in the American theater.

“I still can’t imagine my name among that august list of Nathan honorees,” said Mr. Herrera. “It’s humbling, really. But I am just so unapologetically proud that this year’s Nathan award recognizes a Latino writer writing about the long history of Latina/o performance in this country.” more

Berti Spranger BookEva Jana Siroka has published a new novel, My Life with Berti Spranger (Jorge Pinto Books, paper, $14.95). A sequel to Maddalena (2005), it centers on the discovery of a lost memoir.

“The memoir is fictionalized,” said Ms. Siroka, who has a PhD in art history from Princeton, “but is rooted in the culture of Rudolfine Prague and Spranger’s patron’s taste for exotica and erotica.” Spranger’s paintings were recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “I had been carrying his paintings and drawings in my mind for decades. He is such a fascinating character, a court painter who served a cardinal, a pope, and two Holy Roman Emperors, that I knew he’d be a natural narrator for the sequel to Maddalena, given his privileged position at the Rudolfine court.”

According to Midwest Book Review, My Life with Berti Spranger “is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library Literary Fiction collection…enthusiastically recommended reading.”

A professional artist with works in North America and Europe, Ms. Siroka is currently preparing two exhibitions in Princeton and Toronto. Inspired by Spranger’s original drawings and period prints, she has illustrated the current book and designed its cover.

PU Art Museum

Princeton University’s upcoming exhibition, “By Dawn’s Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War,” consists of more than 160 books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and paintings, including some of the earliest novels, plays, scientific treatises, and religious works produced by Jews in the United States. The exhibition is based on the loans and gifts to Princeton University from Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953, as well as loans from museums, libraries, synagogues, and private collections. The exhibit will open on Saturday, February 13 and be on view through June 12. Pictured above is a work by American-born Thomas Sully, “Rebecca Gratz, 1831,” an oil on panel from The Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia.

There might be as many ways to perform Handel’s oratorio Messiah as there are to cook a holiday turkey — how many “sides” and “dressings” there are to the performance is at the discretion of the conductor from a myriad of choices in historical versions, soloists, phrasing, tempi, and ornamentation. December Messiah performances in Princeton are usually the domain of local choruses, but last weekend conductor Jacques Lacombe brought the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra NJSO) to Richardson Auditorium for a presentation of Handel’s immortal choral/orchestral work.

It was clear from the outset of the performance that Mr. Lacombe was very familiar with the work, exploring unique ideas in instrumentation and selection of arias. For Friday night’s concert, Mr. Lacombe looked back to the 1743 London performances of the piece, with an orchestra resembling Handel’s original ensemble. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra onstage included chamber-sized contingents of strings, as well as a pair of trumpets and oboes, a single bassoon, timpani, and both harpsichord and portative organ. Conducting without a baton, Mr. Lacombe began the opening “Overture” with decisive double-dotted rhythms, yet found grace and elegance with small sweeps in the lean string playing.  more

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) 

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!



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

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 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

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

NTU edpascal

FESTIVE SCENE: “I enjoy creating. I design all the clothes, and I also designed the decor in the boutique, as well as the holiday windows.” Christina Depascal, owner of the new Depascal Atelier, looks forward to introducing customers to her intriguing collection. Shown is the holiday window display, highlighting the handmade papier maché dress, crafted from vintage newspaper. Also included are festive poinsettias, a variety of jewelry, and contributing to the natural motif, a rustic bird house, bird’s nest, and birch tree branches.

“We want women to be able to look their best. The first thing people notice about you is how you are dressed. Everything here is handmade and one-of-a-kind.”

Christina Depascal, owner of Depascal Atelier, also designs the clothes at the new women’s boutique. Opened in October at 20 Nassau Street, this is a unique and inviting new fashion studio. more

December 9, 2015


Foxy, a SAVE alumnus who belongs to Jim Adamczyk of Hillsborough, was among the crowd of human and canine visitors on hand last Friday to celebrate the animal rescue organization’s new home on Cedar Lodge Road in Skillman. The festive ribbon-cutting and open house showcased the new facility, much expanded from SAVE’s former, longtime home on Herrontown Road. Architect Max Hayden renovated the historic 1860 Van Zandt mansion, which now serves as headquarters for the organization and was donated by Brad and Cheryl Mills. more