March 3, 2016

See below for the March 3, 2016 Planning Board Meeting.

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

March 2, 2016


On the second day of March it seems reasonable to read signs of spring in the mellow light falling on the Princeton University Chapel. Though no one mentions it in this week’s Town Talk on favorite museums, our local treasure, the Princeton University Art Museum, open free of charge six days a week, is only a short walk away. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

The Stony Brook Bridge on Route 206 near Quaker Road, believed to be New Jersey’s oldest bridge, will likely remain closed through next week while damage to the historic span is assessed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The state of the bridge was among the issues brought up at a meeting of Princeton Council on Monday. Among the additional topics of discussion were a possible solar array plant atop the municipal garage, the end of July 4th fireworks, and the formation of a youth advisory committee to advise the governing body.

Princeton’s engineer Bob Kiser reported to Council that the cracks in the Stony Brook Bridge’s stone arches, found during an inspection, are worse than originally thought. Mr. Kiser and assistant engineer Deanna Stockton were to meet with the DOT on Tuesday to discuss making a temporary fix, and later a permanent repair, to the bridge. more

At Princeton Council’s January meeting devoted to setting goals for 2016, addressing the continuing problem of wage theft was voted a high priority.

The governing body had adopted an ordinance in 2014 specifically geared to the issue in the landscaping industry, giving the town the ability to revoke a landscaper’s license if they violate state and federal wage laws. But the illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work persists in other areas С most notably, the restaurant industry.

A recent case involving Soonja’s restaurant on Alexander Street illustrates the situation. “It involved two workers who were owed money,” said Lou Kimmel, of the New Brunswick-based organization New Labor, which strives to improve working conditions for immigrants. “We tried to resolve it informally, but couldn’t. It was formally resolved with the state Department of Labor. The judge decided in favor of the workers, so they got paid.” more


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ML7, a real estate investment, development, management, and construction company headed by Jeffrey Siegel, has purchased two adjacent properties on Witherspoon Street, one currently occupied by Small World Coffee and the other formerly occupied by the Princeton Army & Navy Store, according to Jessica Durrie, owner of Small World, and David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management.

ML7, with offices in Princeton and New York City, purchases and redevelops commercial real estate assets throughout the state and in the city. According to their website, ”We are an opportunistic buyer, focusing on acquiring special situation properties or properties experiencing some level of distress, whether in their existing capital structures, as a result of mismanagement or physical distress. ML7’s expertise is in repositioning real estate assets and unlocking value.” more

See below for the February 29, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

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


A TWO-WAY STREET: An inmate at Albert Wagner Correctional Facility in Bordentown works towards his GED in weekly sessions under the guidance of a Princeton University student tutor as part of the Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program. The program has expanded rapidly over the past eight years and now boasts 120 student volunteers from Princeton and many more throughout New Jersey and beyond. (Photo Courtesy of Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program)

The United States has more people in prison than any other country in the world — upwards of 2.2 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. And the experience and consequences of incarceration leave formerly imprisoned people even more likely to remain poor and marginalized.

Although the U.S. spends more than $86 billion on corrections each year, it provides limited resources to facilitate re-entry. Ninety percent of incarcerated people will be released, but 40 percent will return to prison within three years. High recidivism weakens families and communities, perpetuating social and economic equalities. more

3-2-16 profiles in ed swainIn the fall of 1969, as a sophomore, I walked into the Princeton University Office of Teacher Preparation to investigate the possibilities for a career in teaching. Mrs. Swain was presiding. Last week, a 41-year teaching career behind me, I walked into the Teacher Prep Office again. Mrs. Swain is still presiding.

The Office has moved, from West College to William Street. The program has seen five different directors, many changes in personnel and about 1000 University students gaining New Jersey Teacher Certification. Jacqueline L. Swain remembers, and has helped, all of them. “She is Teacher Prep,” said current program director Christopher J. Campisano. “If you want to know, Jacqui’s the one to talk to. She’s the heart and soul of the program. It’s the extraordinary program it is because of her work, because of Mrs. Swain. Anybody who walks through that door, regardless of whether they’re graduating or they were here 10 or 20 years ago, Jacqui will know their name.”

Jacqui Swain was born in Princeton, where her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents lived in a rambling old house on Clay Street near Witherspoon. Her parents moved to Rahway, where she went to school. She attended Rider College, graduated with a degree in Commerce and returned to Princeton, where she still lives.  more

FukushimaLabyrinth Books will host a discussion of two new books at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9: Noriko Manabe’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima (Oxford 2015) and Jonathan Pieslak’s Radicalism and Music (Wesleyan 2015).

According to Michael K. Bourdaghs, University of Chicago, “Contrary to widely held stereotypes, Japan has a long and loud history of public protest. As Noriko Manabe shows in her important new book, the massive demonstrations in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster belong to this tradition but also have produced their own distinct soundscape. Her detailed ethnographic and musical analysis of the parts numerous musicians have played in the movement vividly captures the sonic dimensions of this latest chapter from the history of Japanese street democracy.”

In Radicalism and Music (Wesleyan 2015), Jonathan Pieslak discusses music’s transformational impact on the radicalization, reinforcement, and motivational techniques of violent political activists in four radical groups: al-Qa’ida, racist Skinheads, Christian-affiliated radicals, and eco-animal rights militants.
Benjamin J. Harbert, co-editor of The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity, calls Radicalism and Music “a well-argued foil to the notion that music is a universal language that brings people together. The subtheme of music and its relationship to the Internet provides important groundwork for thinking of music as a particular ‘information technology’ without divorcing it from its ritual function.”  more

The Garden Club of Princeton, member of Garden Club of America, Conservation Committee recently constructed a “Solar Suitcase,” a stand alone complete solar electricity system that fits into a rugged, weather and dust proof plastic suitcase suitable for travel to remote destinations, to help provide electricity to women at a birthing home in Sierra Leone.

The entire club supported the endeavor, allocating civic project funds to purchase the suitcase kit from the We Share Solar program. We Share Solar typically provides the kits to schools around the country, enabling students to learn about the science of solar electricity and international philanthropy. It also chooses and is responsible for delivery to communities without access to reliable electricity, which include schools, orphanages, community centers, and libraries.  more


“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”: This photograph by Olivia Nini, grade 10 — Ken Lockwood Gorge, High Bridge, New Jersey is part of the “Beauty and the Beast — the Fall and Rise of the Raritan River” exhibit at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery on view through March 30.

D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents Beauty and the Beast — the Fall and Rise of the Raritan River,” fine art photography by Princeton Day School students of Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick, head of Upper School photography. Focusing on the historic Raritan River, the images are on view through March 30, 2016.

The Beauty section evokes the river’s course through stunningly beautiful New Jersey locations, home to many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals — many threatened and endangered. The “Beast” segment of the exhibit chronicles effects of the river’s use for transportation; as an energy source for crucial industries; and, tragically, receptacle for toxic wastes.

“We have canoed and photographed the Raritan from New Brunswick to Edison,” says Hohmuth-Lemonick. The Raritan is New Jersey’s longest river and includes the state’s largest contiguous stretch of wildlife habitat. D&R Greenway was founded to preserve land adjacent to waterways such as the Raritan River. more

TT_Art 1

EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING: Diana Weymar’s “Telegraph Creek: Tanning a Moose Hide” is part of the Arts Council of Princeton’s new exhibition, “Every Fiber of My Being,” on view in the Taplin Gallery, March 5 – April 17.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents Every Fiber of My Being, a group exhibition featuring textile and contemporary embroidery. Visitors can expect original works from artists Maira Kalman, Amy Meissner, Cassie Jones, Diana Weymar, Caroline Lathan-Stiefel, Danielle Hogan, and Katie Truk. 

Every Fiber of My Being is curated by the Arts Council’s 2016 Spring Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence, Diana Weymar. Growing up in the wilderness of British Columbia, Diana learned the importance and practical value of a vivid imagination. In her artwork, she is interested in how to interact with existing materials — photographs, clothing, text — to address issues of storytelling, identity, narrative, and documentation. more

art rev

“London, Waterloo Bridge” by Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)

To D.H. Lawrence, who died on March 2,1930 at 45, a “painted landscape is the background with the real subject left out.” It’s also where “the English exist and hold their own.”

Clearly, this is a novelist speaking, as well as a poet, philosopher, essayist in many realms, revolutionary, and a painter for whom landscape is the “background to an intenser vision of life.”

Some Serious Fun

As I make my way to the Princeton University Art Museum, I imagine Lawrence by my side looking the way he did to the doctor he hosted for tea and toast only weeks before he died, “a colorful figure with bright blue coat, red hair and beard and lively blue eyes” who “made the toast himself treating the operation as though it were a serious matter and at the same time great fun” — which is how I’d like to treat the subject of this column and the current exhibit, “Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape.” more

Anne_BalletWhen Mary Pat Robertson and her husband Michael came from New York City to Princeton in 1980, she thought she’d be retiring from her dance career. But the town, where the Robertsons moved so that he could pursue his doctorate at Princeton University, turned out to have a lot more dance to offer than she expected.

It wasn’t long before Ms. Robertson began teaching at Princeton Ballet School. Six years later, she was named the school’s director. In June, she will step down after 35 years teaching and administrating hundreds of students, some of whom have gone on to professional careers.

“I’ll miss the kids,” she said during a telephone interview last week. “But it’s time. I’ll probably do a little private coaching, and I look forward to getting back to choreography. I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking and I hope to expand that. I’m even contemplating writing a book for parents about what to look for in a ballet school.”

While ballet has played a major role in Ms. Robertson’s long career, contemporary dance has also been a focus. Before becoming the ballet school’s director, she co-founded the company Teamwork Dance and did a lot of freelance dancing and choreography. In New York, she studied the techniques of José Limón, Merce Cunningham, and Martha Graham. more

National Youth Art is celebrated during the month of March. Cranbury school student artists will be featured at the Gourgaud Gallery at Town Hall in Cranbury. The show will run from March 6-25.

Stacey Crannage, art teacher at Cranbury School, has selected art pieces from kindergarten through eighth grade to be showcased. Criteria used for selecting the Gallery artwork included technique, originality, and showcasing the student’s unique strengths and talents. Student artwork will include paintings, drawings, and sculpture, amongst others.  more

February 26, 2016

See below for the February 24, 2015 Princeton Zoning Board Meeting.

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

February 24, 2016


Princeton Day School boys’ basketball players, from left, Craig Wrenn (No. 12), Chase Lewis (No. 3), and David Coit (No. 11) celebrate with teammates last Wednesday after top-seeded PDS edged third-seeded Morristown-Beard 66-62 in overtime in the state Prep B final. It was the first state crown for the program since the Panthers won the Prep A title in 1999. See page 40 for more details on the championship game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)


The 88th Annual Academy Awards takes place this Sunday, February 28, 2016. The awards ceremony was first broadcast to radio in 1930 and televised in 1953. It is now seen live in more than 200 countries. This year’s ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre is Los Angeles and is hosted by comedian Chris Rock. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette, officially called the Academy Award of Merit, which has become commonly known by its nickname, Oscar.

As an ode to the prestigious ceremony, Princeton Magazine has selected a series of unique products inspired by the nominees. To purchase, click on each product image.

Break a leg! more


Princeton Magazine is continuing the Oscar celebration with a selection of dazzling gold products.

The Oscar gold was spread around last night with Spotlight winning Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay; Leonardo DiCaprio taking home Best Actor for The Revenant; Mark Rylance and Alicia Vikander were named best supporting actor and actress, respectively, she for The Danish Girl; and Brie Larson took the best actress prize for Room.

Shop Gold! Simply click on each product image to purchase.


Witherspoon Jackson

A NEIGHBORHOOD IN PICTURES: Several photo collages created by Witherspoon-Jackson resident Romus Broadway were on display in the corridor at Witherspoon Monday night, where Princeton Council met to consider making the neighborhood a historic district. The photo essays, spanning several decades, illustrate the history and heritage of the area. Before the meeting, many people were observed pointing out familiar places and locations. 

At another standing-room-only meeting of Princeton Council in Witherspoon Hall Monday night, the proposed ordinance that would make the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood Princeton’s twentieth historic district drew spirited commentary from residents and other members of the public. Nearly all spoke strongly in favor of the concept. more

Battlefield Caption

About 50 members of the Princeton Battlefield Society, meeting Saturday afternoon on the Maxwell Field buffer zone between the main battlefield and the Institute for Advanced Study, vowed to press on with their law suit and other measures planned to halt the Institute’s construction of faculty housing units. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon, in contemporary dress at center) spoke on behalf of the Battlefield Society’s efforts, as did Society President Jerry Hurwitz (standing to Gusciora’s left). 

Fenwick Hospitality Group, owned by Jim Nawn, who also owns Agricola, the Great Road Farm, and the bar and bistro planned for the old Dinky train station, has purchased the Main Street Restaurant Group, including the Main Street Bistro in the Princeton Shopping Center, Main Street Eatery and Gourmet Bakery in Kingston and Main Street Fine Catering in Rocky Hill.

Mr. Nawn, former owner of 37 Panera Bread franchises in New Jersey, stated his respect for Main Street, which has been in the community since 1984. Mr. Nawn plans to move slowly with any future changes.  more

See below for the February 22, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

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

A fourth Democrat has announced her candidacy for a seat on Princeton Council. Anne Waldron Neumann, a former member of the Princeton Environmental Commission and Site Plan Review Advisory Board, has joined newcomers Tim Quinn and Leticia Fraga and incumbent Jenny Crumiller in the race for the two seats that are up for grabs. Ms. Crumiller issued a formal announcement this week that she is seeking re-election.

Incumbent Patrick Simon has said he will not seek re-election.

Affordability is the most pressing local issue to Ms. Neumann, who ran for Borough Council in 2010 but was defeated in the primary. “I grew up in Princeton,” she said in her release, “and I’m passionate about preserving our many diverse neighborhoods. How many Princetonians know that a third of all Princeton households, based on income alone, would be eligible for affordable housing?” more