August 26, 2020

PREMIER ATTRACTION: Ryan Ambler looks for an opening in action for the Archers of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). Former Princeton University men’s lax standout Ambler ’16 starred for the Archers as they advanced to the semifinals of the recently held PLL Championship Series. Midfielder Ambler ended up with nine points on four goals and five assists in the PLL competition. (Photo provided courtesy of PLL)

By Justin Feil

Ryan Ambler aims to make the most of his chances.

The 2016 Princeton University graduate had not made a shot as the Archers LC went into overtime against the Chrome LC in their Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Championship Series group game July 30.

“I was in somewhat of a shooting slump,” said Ambler, a 6’2, 190-pound native of Abington, Pa., who tallied 168 points in his Princeton career on 76 goals and 92 assists.

“The ball just wouldn’t go in. It was our third game. That night I’d hit the pipe, I’d hit the goalie three or four times. In my head, I was hoping just one of these falls. You kind of get in that rhythm where you wonder, when is this ball going to drop? It all happened so quickly. I have to give credit to guys like Tom Schreiber, another Princeton guy, and Grant Ament. They’re fantastic passers.” more

MORE TO COME: Paul Cooke showing his game face as he got ready for his sophomore season with the Swarthmore College baseball team. Former Princeton High standout Cooke has hit .267 with one homer and five RBIs over two abbreviated campaigns with the Garnet. (Photo by Brandon Hodnett, provided courtesy of Swarthmore College Athletics Communications)

By Bill Alden

Paul Cooke hasn’t been able to get in a complete season in his first two years with Swarthmore College baseball team, but he has still made an impact for the program.

As a freshman in 2019, former Princeton High standout Cooke hit .600 with six hits in 10 at-bats, one homer and four RBIs before getting sidelined for the rest of the season by an ankle injury.

This past spring, Cooke picked up two hits and an RBI before the season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, giving him a career batting average of .267 in college play.

Before he even took the field for his first game as a freshman, Cooke had developed a comfort level with the squad.

“I was really lucky to have six seniors my freshman year that were just really welcoming and did a great job of getting you up to speed and showing you the ropes,” said Cooke. more

STAGGERED START: Members of the Princeton High boys’ cross country team take off at the start of the Mercer County Championship meet last fall. While the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) gave the green light to fall sports last Thursday, there is no certainty that PHS athletes will be able to compete this fall. Under the NJSIAA plan, outdoor sports — football, cross country, field hockey, girls’ tennis, and soccer — can go ahead with practices to start on September 14 and competition beginning from September 28-October 2. At this point, Princeton Public Schools and private schools in town are still considering their options regarding the fall season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) gave the green light to fall sports last Thursday, a slew of questions remain before it will truly be game on for Princeton schools.

Under the NJSIAA plan, outdoor sports — football, cross country, field hockey, girls’ tennis, and soccer — can go ahead. Practices can begin on September 14 with girls’ tennis to start competition on September 28 and cross country, field hockey, and soccer to have opening day on October 1. Football will start on October 2.

The indoor fall sports — gymnastics and girls’ volleyball — will be moved to a winter start with practices beginning on February 16 and games on March 3. Winter sports teams can begin practice on December 3 with competition starting on December 21.

The NJSIAA, though, set forth a key caveat, noting that “all of these dates are subject to change based on guidance from the governor and Department of Health.”

An important date looming for Princeton High sports is September 14 as that is when Princeton Public Schools officials are slated to decide whether the district will be allowed to go ahead with a fall sports season.

With the neighboring West Windsor-Plainsboro district having already opted out of fall sports, PHS Athletic Director Brian Dzbenski recognizes that the PPS has other priorities besides sports.

“We in Princeton are really focused on bringing the kids back into the building as soon as possible and having teaching and learning going on,” said Dzbenski, noting that under the current district plan the school year is scheduled to start remotely on September 14 with the PHS students not slated to be on campus until October 19. more

August 19, 2020

The outdoor tables at restaurants along Witherspoon Street are popular with residents and visitors alike. Town officials are planning to keep outdoor dining going into the fall and beyond, as long as the weather allows. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

In the sixth month of the coronavirus pandemic, with a number of schools and colleges delaying in-person reopening and just weeks to go before the Princeton Public Schools’ (PPS) originally scheduled reopening, the district is revising its plans for students’ return to the school buildings.

The PPS August 7 Restart and Reopening Plan, a hybrid model for a combination of in-person and remote learning, was designed as a flexible work in progress, “tempered by the recognition that uncertainties remain regarding the degree to which the district will be able to return students to brick-and-mortar education.”

The uncertainties — in the spread of the COVID-19 virus, in achieving standards of health and safety as directed by the New Jersey Department of Education and state and local health authorities, in staffing  sufficiency, and in parental concerns — seem to have multiplied, with prospects for a successful in-person or hybrid opening less clear than ever.

Deciding on a revised reopening plan was on the agenda for last night’s August 18 virtual Board of Education (BOE) meeting, taking place after press time.  Earlier in the day, PPS Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso said he would be presenting a “phase-up” plan to the BOE last night. “But there are two contingencies,” he added.

Those contingencies, which might necessitate postponement of any in-person learning until later in the school year, were staffing and the installation of ionization filtration systems in all of the HVAC units. more

By Donald Gilpin

With September fast approaching, the Princeton Health Department continues to work with Princeton Public Schools, Princeton Charter School, and area private schools on their return-to-school plans. The New Jersey Department of Health issued guidance on school openings on August 13, the same day Gov. Phil Murphy announced that all-virtual learning would be acceptable as long as certain conditions were met and the schools had a clear plan for progressing soon to at least partial in-person learning.

“Princeton schools have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into these plans,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser. Those plans include extensive measures to implement protocols and policies to keep students and staff safe.

The Health Department reported one new case of COVID-19 in Princeton on August 16, the only new case of the past seven days, with four new cases in the past 14 days.  The new case was noted as a family/household exposure linked to an out-of-county occupation exposure.

Princeton now has four active cases, 211 total positive cases, and 176 cases recovered with isolation complete. There have been 18 COVID-19-related deaths and an additional 12 probable COVID-related deaths.  The average age of death in those cases is 84.6 years. The average age of all Princeton COVID-19 cases is 55 years. more

By Anne Levin

During the pandemic, many Princeton restaurants have coped with the ban on indoor dining by serving patrons outside, at carefully distanced tables under tents or umbrellas. Business, for the most part, has been brisk. But with the end of summer approaching, a new set of challenges awaits.

Just how to cope with colder temperatures while still serving outdoors was among the topics at last Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Princeton Merchants Association. Additional discussions were about Princeton University’s plans for fall, a drop in cases of the coronavirus, and a plan to place representations of artwork from the Princeton University Art Museum in empty storefronts [see the story here].

Princeton Fire Official Joe Novak told merchants his department is working on a safety sheet outlining rules about using heaters outside. He has already received requests from some restaurants about how to proceed.

“A lot of people already have the tower-type heaters, which are absolutely acceptable,” he said. “They just have to be at least five feet from the building — two feet vertically, and three feet horizontally from any combustible surfaces. They won’t be allowed underneath canopies, but will be alongside them.” more

MUSICAL MERGER: Longtime Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey (YOCJ) Symphonic Orchestra Director John Enz leads the ensemble in a performance from 2017. Enz has retired after 35 years, and the YOCJ will now partner with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. (Kapu Patel Photography)

By Anne Levin

Amid the often discouraging news from local arts organizations due to the ongoing pandemic, two well-known musical ensembles have revealed a development that is decidedly more upbeat. The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey (YOCJ) have announced a partnership that expands the PSO’s assistant conductor position to include leadership of the YOCJ’s Symphonic Orchestra.

The retirement of the youth orchestra’s longtime Symphonic Director John Enz, who has also been a cellist in the PSO, was the main impetus for the new arrangement. Now, under the direction of PSO Assistant Conductor Nell Flanders, the young musicians will take part in workshops and sectional rehearsals with the professionals from the PSO. They will also get special access to PSO concerts, and have an opportunity to meet and greet guest artists who perform with the orchestra.

“John Enz was keen that something like this could come out of him hanging up the baton.” said PSO Executive Director Marc Uys. “Over the last couple of years, we have had a peripheral relationship with them that has been gradually increasing. They have helped us out at Communiversity. They are a group I’ve admired for a long time. They are very much aligned with what is important to us.” more

By Donald Gilpin

In the midst of ongoing national protests and debate over policing, Princeton Police Department (PPD) Captain Chris Morgan presented the 2019 Annual Police Department Report to the Princeton Council last week.  

“We are absolutely aware of a lot of the concerns out there,” said Morgan in describing the 86-page report as “the most comprehensive we have put together since consolidation.” He continued, “We are committed to rebuilding trust within the community. We believe community engagement is important and being transparent with this information. We’re always looking for ways to better serve the community.”

A statement by PPD Chief Nick Sutter, written in June after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis during a police arrest, accompanied the report and emphasized the importance of trust and relationship-building between the police and the community. more

By Anne Levin

As anyone who strolls through Princeton’s central business district or Princeton Shopping Center can attest, there are several empty storefronts in town. These vacancies have prompted a program to enliven these blank spaces with representations of works from the Princeton University Art Museum.

“Art for the Streets” was introduced last Thursday, August 13, at a virtual meeting of the Princeton Merchants Association. Stephen Kim, the museum’s associate director for communications and information, said the idea is to fill the empty windows by making use of the museum’s diverse collection. The first round is being funded by the museum.

“I don’t think there are a lot of museums that are doing something like this,” said Mayor Liz Lempert. “We are really appreciative and excited about this project.”

The initiative is not limited to the downtown or shopping center, and will include vacant storefronts in any other areas of town. “We’ll use a diverse set of images, some with local connections,” Kim said. “They’ll have different orientations and different media. If folks want to provide a storefront window for us, we’re eager to go.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Nabokov must be writing this script. Who else but the creator of Humbert Humbert, Dolores Haze, and Jonathan Shade could conceive of a president named Trump appointing a postmaster general named DeJoy to sabotage the U.S. postal system ahead of the 2020 election? The USPS subplot of my homemade conspiracy theory can be traced to Thomas Pynchon’s short novel, The Crying of Lot 49 (CL49). The Cornell connection, formed when Pynchon was a student taking one of Vladimir Nabokov’s courses (presumably “Masters of European Fiction”), is signaled in the opening paragraph’s reference to “a sunrise over the library slope of Cornell University.”

A Postmarked Bookmark

When I’m in need of something to mark my place in a book, I usually choose from a stash of photos, actual bookmarks, and old postcards like the one of Grand Central Terminal I’ve been using for CL49. Addressed to a Mrs. N. Adams in Franklin, Indiana, the card is postmarked 1 a.m. Nov. 22, 1922, and bears a canceled dollar-green U.S. Postage 1¢ stamp of George Washington (profile facing left). According to the Mystic Stamp Company, the earliest known use for this series was December 17, 1922. Readers familiar with Pynchon’s work will recognize one of his signature tropes in the note stating that due to “poor centering and other minor defects, a number of coil stamp sheets had been set aside as ‘waste’ to be destroyed.”

In CL49, the acronym WASTE (We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire) refers to an underground postal service created by fusing the poetry of paranoia with the thermodynamics of entropy; the system’s emblem, a muted post horn, can be seen on the cover of the first edition of The Crying of Lot 49 (shown here). Published in 1966, the novel presages not only the hauling away of post office drop boxes and sorting machines in August 2020, but the president’s obsession with voters in a specific constituency, namely the “suburban housewives” who are the subjects of an experiment on the effects of LSD-25 being conducted by   psychotherapist Dr. Hilarius. Refusing to take part in the experiment after being told “We want you,” CL49’s fantasy-prone protagonist Oedipa Maas hallucinates “the well-known portrait of Uncle that appears in all our post offices, his eyes gleaming unhealthily, his sunken yellow cheeks most violently rouged, his finger pointing between her eyes. I want you.”  more

“EAGLETS”: Artist Doris Ettlinger, who created this painting, will be one of the participants as the Garden State Watercolor Society (GSWS) and D&R Greenway Land Trust celebrate GSWS’ juror and top award winners from “Out of the Wild,” their 50th Anniversary Juried Exhibition. The virtual happy hour is Wednesday, August 26 from 5 to 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, August 26 from 5 to 6 p.m., the public is invited to pour their favorite beverage and join others who appreciate the varied and vital connections between nature and art as the Garden State Watercolor Society (GSWS) and D&R Greenway Land Trust celebrate GSWS’ juror and top award winners from “Out of the Wild,” their 50th Anniversary virtual juried exhibition. Via Zoom, viewers will discover which wild settings and what interactions with wild creatures inspired the chosen winners of the exhibit’s top prizes. The first presentation of the land trust’s new D&R Greenway James Fiorentino Nature Award will also take place that evening.

Register for this free Zoom event at

GSWS President Tess Fields will discuss the role of art in 21st-century conservation, and address art in the time of COVID. D&R Greenway CEO and President Linda Mead will moderate the nature-focused discussions. She will speak about how the land trust’s management of their preserves uses conservation data to ensure protection of wild creatures.  more

NO NUTCRACKER: American Repertory Ballet has decided to cancel live performances of “Nutcracker” this coming holiday season, due to health concerns about the pandemic. A virtual series of excerpts will be available online. (Photo by Eduardo Patino)

Due to many unknowns about the global pandemic, American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker has been canceled for the holiday season. But a virtual series of excerpts will be available for online viewing.

“It was a difficult decision, but our top priority remains the health and safety of our staff, artists, and audiences,” said Executive Director Julie Diana Hench. “Since 1964, American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker has been a celebration of community and youthful imagination. We look forward to the day when we can all be together again in-person to celebrate the magic of this professional and joyous holiday tradition.” more

EXECUTIVE DECISION: Craig Robinson speaking at the “Thrive: Empowering and Celebrating Princeton’s Black Alumni” conference last fall on campus. Robinson, a former Princeton men’s hoops standout, college coach, and NBA executive, was recently named as the executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). (Photo by Denise J. Applewhite, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

Having seen many sides of basketball over the last 40 years, Craig Robinson is getting a new view of the game as he was named the executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) last month.

Robinson was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year for the Princeton University men’s hoops program in the early ’80s, an assistant college hoops coach at Northwestern from 2000-2006, and a head coach at Brown and Oregon State from 2006-14. Since leaving coaching, he has been a college basketball analyst for ESPN, a front office executive with the Milwaukee Bucks and then the New York Knicks, as well as general manager of the Knick’s G League Westchester Knicks.

“It’s really the first time I’ve been able to bring all of my experiences to bear on one particular job,” said Robinson, 58, who worked as a bond trader, investment banker, and executive in the corporate world after graduating from Princeton before making the move into college coaching. more

HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE: Chase Ealy, left, battles a foe during recent action in the Mercer County Amateur Master Soccer League (MCAMSL) at Mercer County Park. Former Princeton High boys’ soccer star Ealy helped organize a team of PHS alums, the Princeton Wanderers, to play in the MCAMSL this summer. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It has become a summer tradition for Princeton High boys’ soccer alums to meet up when they are back in town for some spirited pick-up games and camaraderie.

“Over the summer whenever we are home, we will always get together and have a couple of beers and kick around,” said former PHS soccer standout Chase Ealy ’15. “We hang out and get to see each other again.”

But with the COVID-19 limiting field availability, Ealy and his buddies decided to enter a team in the Mercer County Amateur Master Soccer League (MCAMSL).

“We were having a really hard time finding somewhere to play casually so we said ‘you know what, this league already exists, why don’t we see if we can play in the league,’” said Ealy of the league which plays at Mercer County Park.

“A bunch of Princeton boys have always played in the league on other teams but this year I said we have enough guys that we could have a Princeton team. As we reached out to people, they were saying yes.” more

SMOOTH STROKE: Travis Petrone of the West Windsor-Plainsboro all-star team shows his hitting form last Friday in the Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth 13-year-old state tournament at Bacon Field in Hopewell. Outfielder/pitcher Petrone helped the WW-P squad battle hard as it fell 7-3 to Nottingham on Friday and 8-5 to Ewing/Hopewell a day later to get knocked out of the double-elimination competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the West Windsor-Plainsboro all-star squad fell behind 5-0 to Nottingham in the second inning of the opener at the Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth 13-year-old state tournament last Friday evening, it could have thrown in the towel.

Instead, WW-P battled back, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth to narrow the gap to 5-3 in the game played at Bacon Field in Hopewell.

After Nottingham responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, WW-P got runners on first and third in the top of the seventh but the rally fizzled as it ended up falling 7-3.

“It was nice that the kids hung in there,” said WW-P manager Jason Petrone, whose roster included Princeton residents Eddie Kuczysnski, Michael Prete, Ben Walden, Alex Winters, and Travis Petrone. more

August 12, 2020

This tree on the Westminster Choir College campus was among the many casualties of Tropical Storm Isaias, which slammed Princeton with heavy rain and winds on Tuesday, August 4. By Monday night, all power had been restored. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

At a meeting of Princeton Council Monday evening, Deanna Stockton, the town’s municipal engineer, got word that power was back on at the last remaining location where it had been knocked out by Tropical Storm Isaias nearly a week earlier.

“I’m very happy to report that all of the PSE&G outages have been restored so we have full electrical operation,” she said. “When we started the  meeting, we still had one outage on the map, but now that’s fixed.”

Most locations had power restored by Friday. But just after the storm on Tuesday, August 4, multiple roads were closed as a result of fallen trees and wires. Power and cell service outages were widespread. Among the roads blocked were Pheasant Hill Road near Province Line Road, Laurel Road, Cleveland Lane, Herrontown Road, North Harrison Street, Walker Drive, and Drakes Corner Road. Trees were suspended on wires at several locations.

Traffic signals were out on North Harrison Street at Terhune, Valley, and Mt. Lucas roads. The municipal building was open for people who sought relief from the heat or needed to charge devices.

More than one million New Jersey homes and businesses were left in the dark by the storm’s rain and winds. New Jersey was part of Isaias’ path up the East Coast, battering Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania before hitting New York and New England. One person in Maryland, one in New York, and two others in North Carolina died as a result of the storm. More than 20 tornadoes were reported from North Carolina to New Jersey. Surf City on Long Beach Island reported a wind gust of 109 miles per hour. more

By Anne Levin

The appointment of Michael Yeh as Princeton’s new director of emergency and safety services was announced at Princeton Council’s virtual meeting on Monday, August 10.

Since the passing of former Emergency Services Director Robert Gregory last January, Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter has been acting as the town’s director of emergency management.

Yeh, who was Rider University’s Commander of Emergency Management and Special Operations since 2013, will be coordinating Princeton’s emergency management while overseeing the Fire Prevention, Housing Inspection offices, and the Fire Department. The director also serves as the liaison to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.

“He comes with a wealth of knowledge,” Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield said before introducing Yeh, via Zoom, at the meeting. In a press release, Dashield added, “Michael’s experience and expertise in emergency services will be critical as we continue to manage our current public health emergency.”

Yeh’s appointment will become effective on August 24, which is the date of Council’s next meeting. “I’m very excited about this step, and engaging with the Princeton community to refine our preparedness,” he said, “and working with the community to identify any areas of concern they have.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The movement to rename John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) seemed to gain momentum at Princeton Public Schools‘ (PPS) second scheduled session of community input on Monday night, as more than 50 people participated on the Zoom call.

Support for a name change appeared almost universal, among Board of Education (BOE) members as well as community participants, though there was  a range of opinions about when and how that change should take place.

“We appreciate the community comment and we want to move forward with the process,” said PPS Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso, pointing out that the BOE policy committee must first change the district policy on naming, and then the process of choosing a new name could go forward.

“That could happen quickly,” Galasso said, and he noted that JWMS could have a temporary generic name – Princeton Unified Middle School was suggested – during the “teachable” interim period as the community considered a new permanent name.

Suggestions for permanent names have included Betsey Stockton, who founded the first school to teach Black children in Princeton; Toni Morrison, who lived in Princeton and taught at Princeton University; Princeton actor and activist Paul Robeson; recently deceased Congressman John Lewis; local Princeton historian Shirley Satterfield; and former first lady and Princeton University graduate Michelle Obama.  more

BEAUTIFUL PEST:  The spotted lanternfly, first seen in New Jersey in 2018, has arrived in Princeton, and its numbers are expected to increase rapidly. The destructive plant-hopper infests a variety of different trees and vines, and excretes a sticky fluid similar to honeydew that creates a sooty, moldy mess.

By Donald Gilpin

Just when you were enjoying spending time outside, socializing with social distancing guidelines in the open air during the pandemic, there’s another threat that might drive you indoors in the coming weeks.

The spotted lanternfly, a moth-like Asian plant hopper with bright red coloring and black spots, has recently been identified in at least six sightings in Princeton as part of Princeton’s BioBlitz. Though it has two pairs of wings, it jumps more than it flies. 

It’s an invasive species, destructive to crops and trees, especially maples, willows, and other smooth bark trees — at least 70 host species.  And spotted lanternflies are extremely annoying pests, according to Bob Dolan, mid-Atlantic territory manager of Rainbow Tree Care Scientific Advancement in Montgomery County, Pa. 

Not yet as pervasive in Princeton as it is in Pennsylvania, the spotted lanternfly was accidentally introduced and confirmed in September 2014 in Berks County before it spread throughout Pennsylvania and into neighboring states.  more

By Donald Gilpin

A virtual forum of more than 20 area elected officials and candidates highlighted Joint Effort (JE) Princeton Safe Streets’  Saturday, August 8 gathering, with speakers sharing their vision of the future as they called for dramatic change with less than three months to go before the critical November elections.

“Our existence, our future, our dreams, and our hopes for generations to come are on the line,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, as she rallied some hundred participants to support Joe Biden and Democrats at all levels on November 3.

Hosted by JE and the Capital City Area Black Caucus (CCABC), the forum, titled “Why the 2020 Election is so Important,” was the penultimate event of more than a week of Joint Effort Safe Streets 2020 events celebrating Black history and culture and the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. 

JE 2020 concluded on  Sunday evening, August 9 with a Cynthia “Chip” Fisher and Romus Broadway Memorial Virtual Art Exhibit-Collage Slideshow and community reception, a  tribute to Romus Broadway, the presentation of awards, the Jim Floyd Memorial Lecture, and a gospel music hour.

In her speech, Watson Coleman emphasized how much — including access to health care, education, housing, jobs, economic equality, and racial justice — is at stake in the upcoming election. 

“This is a time when we’re going to encounter such impediments to getting the vote out that we have to be smart and strategic. We have to be working with one another and we have to be communicating and connecting,” she said. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton University’s announcement last Friday that no undergraduates will be on campus for the fall term marked a reversal of an earlier plan that would have brought students back in shifts. Other area universities have also revealed details about the fall semester, some of which are revisions of previous plans. Rider University announced Tuesday afternoon that it will move to entirely remote instruction for the fall semester.

“With deep regret and sadness, I write to update you about our plans for the fall, and, in particular, to explain why Princeton has decided that its undergraduate program must be fully remote in the coming semester,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in a letter to the campus community. “In brief, the pandemic’s impact in New Jersey has led us to conclude that we cannot provide a genuinely meaningful on-campus experience for our undergraduate students this fall in a manner that is respectful of public health concerns and consistent with state regulations and guidance.”

The University had previously planned to host sophomores and seniors starting late this month, while the classes of 2021 and 2023 would be on campus starting in January of 2021. But with infection rates soaring around the country and nearly two million cases reported over the last month, things changed.

“First, the health risks to the campus and surrounding populations appear greater now than they did just a month ago,” Eisgruber wrote. “Reopening efforts in New Jersey and elsewhere have demonstrated how difficult it is to contain the disease.  Where schools and universities have started to bring back students, COVID cases have rapidly followed.” more

By Anne Levin

Investigation is continuing into the death of a 20-year-old man who jumped to his death Sunday afternoon, August 9, from the roof of the Spring Street Garage.

“The police department is investigating what we believe to be a suicide,” Princeton Police Captain Chris Morgan said at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night.

Out of respect for the family of the man, who is from West Windsor, no further details have been released, Morgan said. “It raises the question, is there anything more we can do as a town to prevent this? This was the second suicide [from the garage roof] in the past six years, and there have been two other attempts which the police department was able to prevent. So hopefully, in the near future, we can talk about a physical barrier or some type of deterrent that may prevent this in the future.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

When Tropical Storm Isaias knocked out our power last Tuesday morning, I already had Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Herman Melville’s Journal of a Visit to London and the Continent close at hand, along with flashlights, battery-operated lanterns, and a portable CD player. Besides the fact that both writers have sailed similarly stormy seas of thought, I knew we’d be printing on August 12, three days before De Quincey’s August 15th birthday and two weeks after the 201st birthday of Herman Melville, who discovered the Opium Eater on his way to writing Moby-Dick.

Painting in the Dark

When Confessions first appeared in the September 1821 issue of London Magazine, elegantly addressed to the “Courteous Reader,” Melville was 2 years old, a reader in the making who would bond with the book in London shortly before Christmas 1849. A hop, skip, and a virtual jump later, it’s August 2020 and De Quincey’s lighting this grateful reader’s way through the after-midnight darkness of a power outage. Taking occasional breaks from the book, I become an impromptu cinematographer, moving the flashlight beam around the living room, poking holes in the darkness and zooming in on details: the densely shadowed corner of a print from Goya’s Disasters of War; a fragment of winding road on a large Art Nouveau vase; flowered fireplace tiles; the bronze glimmer of the andirons; and above the mantle an oil painting of a night scene by an unknown artist, a firelit shoreline, a boat being unloaded by spectral figures, the scene becoming gloomier, more sinister as the flashlight sweeps over it.

Picking up where I left off in the book, it’s as if De Quincey’s been reading my mind, setting the scene, asking if “the reader is aware” that children have the power of painting phantoms “upon the darkness,” a power that in some is “simply a mechanical affection of the eye” while “others have a voluntary or semi-voluntary power to dismiss or to summon them” (my italics because we were told the power would be restored by now, c’mon PSE&G, give us back our power, power, power!), and after a child informs De Quincey that when he tells the phantoms to go, they go, but that sometimes they come when he doesn’t want them to come, the Opium Eater assures him that he has “as unlimited a command over apparitions as a Roman centurion over his soldiers.” Picturing the confused and by now perhaps terrified child, I’m reminded this is the same man who was found by one of his daughters one evening sitting at his desk with his hair on fire. more