July 20, 2016

For the past three years, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has teamed up with Princeton University to present a week-long Composition Institute sponsored by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. Last week, four emerging composers, selected from an international applicant pool of university composition students and composers in the early stages of their careers, worked on the details and refinements of their pieces, aided by the players of the NJSO, Institute conductor David Robertson, and Institute Director and composer Steven Mackey. The week culminated in a performance by the NJSO Saturday night in Richardson Auditorium.  more

Music Martiba 7-20-16

THIS ONE’S FOR THE GIRLS: See 14-time Grammy nominated country star Martina McBride perform at the State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick on Thursday, August 25 at 8 p.m. McBride is well-known for her soprano singing range and country pop materials. Her greatest hits include “Independence Day,” “A Broken Wing,” “Wild Angels,” and “This One’s for the Girls.”

Theater rev 7-20-16

In pursuing its theme of “the Other,” Princeton Summer Theater (PST), last weekend opened its third production of the season, a funny, philosophical, verbally dazzling production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s 1966 masterpiece spin-off from Shakespeare’s Hamletmore

Oscar October (his stage name) introduced Spacetime Riffs, a local improvisational theater group of about ten performers, to the assembled audience at a recent performance.

“It’s not stand-up comedy,” he said. “It’s not set piece comedy. It’s unique. It’s improv.” And just to make sure the spectators were fully prepared, “I’m pretty sure we’ll offend everybody before the evening is over.” more

The city of Trenton and The Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) host The Levitt AMP Music Series on Capital Green, July 23 through September 24. Trenton was selected to receive a grant of $25,000 to hold 10 free, family-friendly concerts each beginning at 7:30 p.m. Trenton based NJM Insurance Group is also a presenting sponsor.  more

July 13, 2016

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Construction continues along Witherspoon Street, on the former Princeton hospital site, as Avalon Princeton prepares to welcome its first residents next month. The rental community, offering studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses, has generated “lots of interest” and will be completed over the next 8-9 months. (Photo by Donald Gilpin)

Avalon Princeton, on the former site of Princeton Hospital on Witherspoon Street, is looking forward to welcoming its first residents next month, with construction to complete the 280-unit rental community scheduled through next spring.

The new development will include studio apartments starting at $2258 per month, one-bedroom apartments at $2735, two-bedroom apartments from $3135, as well as three-bedroom apartments and two- and three-bedroom townhouses. (There are additional fees for application, amenities, security, parking, pet rent, and storage.)  more

First, in 2004, there was Writers Block, an empty lot on Palmer Square transformed into a garden honoring the contributions of notable Princeton University professors. Two years later, there was Quark Park, a sculpture garden on Paul Robeson Place that referred to the research of Princeton scientists.

If fundraising goes according to plan, the third collaboration of architect Kevin Wilkes and landscape artist Peter Soderman will be in place by Labor Day. Design at Dohm Alley, or DaDa, aims to transform the alley between Starbucks and the Landau store on Nassau Street into a kind of multi-media art gallery with rotating programs and exhibits on display through spring, summer, and fall. more

PU women's soccer vs. Dartmouth

HEADING NORTH: Ron Celestin makes a point during a training session with the Princeton University women’s soccer team. After a 21-year stint as an assistant coach with the program, Celestin is headed to Boston where he has accepted a position as the associate head coach of the women’s soccer program at Northeastern University. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic
Communications)

For generations of players and coaches, Ron Celestin has been the “mayor” of soccer in the Princeton community.  more

Governor Chris Christie’s order to halt $3.5 billion of “nonessential” road and rail projects across New Jersey went into effect at midnight last Friday. Concerned about delays to a key bridge replacement project on Carter Road, Mayor Liz Lempert is supporting Mercer County in its efforts to get the state to make an exemption and let work on that bridge continue. more

PUMC

WARMER, SAFER, DRIER: That is the motto for these volunteers from Princeton United Methodist Church who recently spent a week working to improve houses and trailers in Appalachia. The church has been sending volunteers to the region for four decades as part of the national Appalachian Service Project.

Each summer, 14,000 volunteers from across the country travel to Appalachia to help improve living conditions for those less fortunate. Two local churches, Princeton United Methodist and Nassau Presbyterian, have sent groups this month. Their goal, and the slogan of the Appalachian Service Project (ASP), is to make trailers and other dwellings in the mountain region “warmer, safer, and drier.” more

Topics_Pontoon

Looking for a lazy afternoon activity? Hop aboard the Mercer County Park Commission’s pontoon boat for a fun and informative nature tour of Mercer Lake. These family-friendly tours will be held on Thursday, July 21 and 28, August 4, 11, and 25, and September 1. There are two tours each day, noon to 1:30 p.m. and 2 to 3:30 p.m., weather permitting. Tour tickets are sold at the Mercer County Marina on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the tour. Children must be at least 6 years old. Tour rates for in-county residents are $10 per person for adults and $8 per person for children and seniors. Out-of-county rates are $12 per person for adults and $10 per person for children and seniors. For more information, please call (609) 448-4004.

The Early Childhood (EC) Music Program at Westminster Conservatory is hosting an information meeting on Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. This Parent-Only information session will be led by Jennifer Garr, EC department head. She will focus on Westminster’s early childhood music program and preview the new recordings and materials created by the faculty.  more

A week-long program of “community, faith, hope and history” will celebrate the Witherspoon-Jackson community, black history, and black families of Princeton from August 6-14.

In recognition of the recent designation of the Witherspoon-Jackson community as Princeton’s 20th historic district, the annual Joint Effort Safe Streets Summer Program will include recognition of Paul Robeson and Jim Floyd, a salute to educators (“We Must Not Be Forgotten”), a concert with Grace Little and a local church choir, a salute to seniors and black families (“The Shoulders We Stand On”), discussion forums, workout and conditioning sessions, a block party/music festival, walking tours, and a clean-up project.  more

Terhune Peaches

Summer at Terhune Orchards means peaches! The farm grows over 28 varieties and will celebrate “everything peachy” on the last weekend in July.

Activities include tractor-drawn wagon rides through the orchards, pony rides, face painting, and more. Also, Live country music will have the whole family dancing along every day from noon to 4 p.m.  more

Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) is stepping up its efforts to halt Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) faculty housing construction, with appeals planned to overturn recent decisions approving the project.

Claiming that the Institute has been “handing out misinformation to the public,” Kip Cherry, vice president of the PBS, stated, “PBS intends to continue its appeals and plans to file a new lawsuit over the coming weeks.” On June 22, the U.S. District Court in Trenton denied the PBS request for a preliminary injunction to halt Institute construction on a seven-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Battlefield, stating that the PBS had not established its case under the Clean Water Act.  more

Topics_Dada

That’s the acronym for Design at Dohm Alley, a multi-media “sensorium” planned for the space between Starbucks and Landau off of Nassau Street. This rendering shows how the entry is envisioned.

book rev

Vietnam Vietnam Vietnam, we’ve all been there.

—Michael Herr (1940-2016)

All I need to do is type “nyt” on the iMac and Paul Krugman is hurrying past “the horror in Dallas” on his way to the subject of the day. In his column headed “A Week from Hell” Charles M. Blow is asking “soul-of-a-nation questions.” On Sunday’s virtual front page of the Times, a detective from Queens says, “This is insanity. It’s just freaking horrendous.” The African American Dallas police chief David Brown “cannot adequately express” the sadness he feels.  more

Morven Mus

The Board of Trustees of Morven Museum and Garden has announced the appointment of Jill M. Barry as executive director. Ms. Barry comes to Morven from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, where she has been deputy director since 2012. She will begin her transition over the summer as she relocates to Princeton and assumes full-time responsibilities in early September. more

princetonchronicles

Princeton Chronicles, a group of student researchers and artists from Princeton High School, propose a community project featuring murals commemorating historical Princetonians from the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. Princeton Chronicles invites the public to learn about the project by viewing an exhibition on view at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts and encourages the public to provide feedback. 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. The exhibition runs through July 30. For more information, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org or call (609) 924-8777.

Art_Climate

“GHOST HOUSE”: This painting by Joanie Chirico is on view at the D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center through August 26. The exhibition titled “Art as Activism: Climate Change” demonstrates the role of artists in the climate change movement.

“Art as Activism: Climate Change” is on view at D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, through August 26. Art works document nature’s threatened beauty and show the influence of artists on the climate change discussion in the Anthropocene era. An artists’ reception will take place Friday, July 15, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  more

Music_Blue Curt

BLUE CURTAIN RETURNS WITH AN EVENING OF WORLD MUSIC TO HEAT UP THE SUMMER NIGHT: Celebrating 12 years of bringing world-class musicians from around the globe to Princeton for FREE summer concerts, Blue Curtain returns to Community Park North Amphitheater in Pettoranello Gardens on Saturday, July 16 starting at 7 p.m. with Latin jazz legend Papo Vázquez, Mighty Pirates Troubadours and Sofia Rei, who has been called “one of the best Argentine singers ever.”

Featuring Caribbean and South American sounds, Blue Curtain welcomes Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours and Sofia Rei to Pettoranello Gardens on Saturday, July 16 at 7 p.m. The concert is free. more

July 6, 2016

At a meeting of Princeton Council on June 28, Susan Hoskins, executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center, presented a community action plan geared toward addressing the most crucial needs of the town’s older residents in coming years. A community project more than a project of the PSRC, the study was based on focus groups with residents.

Though Princeton is a college town, a large share of residents are over 65 or nearing that age. “Many are active volunteers in community nonprofit organizations and civic organizations,” she said in her report. “They love the opportunities provided by our cultural centers, Princeton University, Princeton Public Library, and PSRC. Older adults who live here want to stay here if they can, but are worried about housing costs and transportation.”

In 2014, Princeton was the first community in New Jersey to be designated by the World Health Organization as age-friendly. Here, as elsewhere, baby boomers are aging.

“Worldwide, one out of every eight individuals will be over age 65 by 2030,” Ms. Hoskins said. “That’s why the World Health Organization encourages communities all over the globe to plan to accommodate this dramatic shift. And it’s why Princeton took the lead here in New Jersey. Participating in this network enables us to share innovative and best practice models from other communities throughout the world to address our priority needs.”

Four priorities were identified in the plan: More affordable and age-friendly housing, transportation, communication, and multi-generational neighborhood associations.

After Ms. Hoskins’s presentation, Councilwoman Jo Butler suggested that senior citizens should be sufficiently represented on the town’s boards and commissions. The report recommended that the Council appoint a monitor to make sure progress is made on the four goals over the next three years, which is the final reporting period with the World Health Organization.

The full report is posted on princetonnj.gov and princetonsenior.org.

 

Among the residents of Princeton whose appearance in public is most surprising — and alarming — are the black bears.

“Black bears are native to New Jersey and have been sighted in all 21 New Jersey counties,” stated Nathan Barson, Princeton animal control officer, in a recent Black Bear Information memo. He mentioned several sightings during the past month along the Montgomery-Princeton border: near Cherry Valley Road, Drake’s Corner, Herrontown Road, and Autumn Hill Reservation.

Black bears are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of food, including fruit, nuts, trash, meat scraps, and more, according to Mr. Barson.

To reduce bear-related encounters, Animal Control advises the following:

• Secure your trash in bear-resistant garbage containers or with tight fitting lids to reduce odors.

• Clean any food scraps from grills, porches, and decks, and keep meat scraps out of compost piles.

• Pets should not be fed outdoors unless absolutely necessary.

• Immediately remove all uneaten food and bowls used by pets fed outdoors (NO food after dark).

• Never hang bird feeders in easy to reach locations (feeders should be at least 10 feet in the air).

• Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.

• Wash garbage with disinfectant to remove odors.

• Secure beehives, livestock, and fruit crops with an electric fence.

Residents should report bear damage, nuisance behavior, or aggressive bears to the DEP hotline at (877) WARN-DEP ((877) 927-6337) or their local police department.

 

June 29, 2016
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TRAIN TRANSFORMATION: The Dinky Bar & Kitchen, formerly the Dinky train station on Alexander Street, is scheduled to open at the end of July, with 54 seats indoors and 26 outdoors, fully renovated kitchen area where the ticket office used to be, and drinking and eating area in the old waiting room. (Photo by Henry Gilpin)

The Dinky Bar and Kitchen, the next addition to the Arts and Transit neighborhood taking shape on Alexander Street, will open at the end of July in the renovated building that formerly housed the old train station.

“Cocktails, wine, beer, spirits, snacks, small plates, neat eats” reads the sign in front of the building under construction. According to Jim Nawn, owner of Fenwick Hospitality Group, which is developing the project in partnership with building owner Princeton University, patrons can look forward to “a comfortable bar environment in an interesting old building.”

The stone station house was constructed in 1918 in the collegiate gothic style, and includes the ticket office, which will be the kitchen area of the new establishment, and the domed-ceilinged passenger hall, which will include 54 seats and a bar with some counter-height tables, and 26 additional seats outside. The original train station was closed permanently in August 2013, with the new station and ticket office opening one block southeast on Alexander Street in November 2014.

“It’s a beautiful building in a lot of ways,” said Mr. Nawn, whose Fenwick Group also owns Agricola, Main Street Restaurant Group, and the Great Road Farm. “We are aware that good food needs to be part of the service” he continued, and also mentioned that the fare would offer “ingredient-inspired” food from the Great Road Farm, “including fresh produce, pickled and preserved items, charcuterie items made by our butcher, and cheese and meats in a local, farm-inspired context — sharable food, served on smaller-sized plates.”

The bar and grill, interior designed by Celano Design Studio of New York, will be open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

Also in the works as part of the station complex designed by Rick Joy Architects of Tucson, Arizona, is a full-scale restaurant, to be housed in the larger, southern station building, formerly used for freight storage. It is scheduled to open by the middle of next year and will seat about 150, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

July might be a quiet time on Alexander Street, with both McCarter Theatre and the University on summer schedules, but Mr. Nawn is optimistic about the prospect of the Dinky Bar and Kitchen “starting slow to get the operation going,” then “coming up to speed in the fall.”

”When something new comes along,” he said, “it may attract attention and be busy even in summer.” Mr. Nawn looked forward to the completion of the Arts and Transit project next year, “The station complex will be a great amenity for the community,” he stated, “a quality bar, grill, and restaurant for commuters, students, theater-goers, and others.”

In the meantime, Mr. Nawn mentioned “a number of projects underway” at Main Street (comprised of the Main Street Bistro in Princeton Shopping Center, Main Street Eatery and Gourmet in Kingston, and Main Street Catering in Rocky Hill), which Fenwick acquired four months ago.

He noted a “need for some refreshing and renovation” and mentioned adjustments this summer in the menu and cosmetic changes to the bistro, but emphasized “this is a process. We hope people are patient.”