November 13, 2019

By Donald Gilpin

With gerrymandering threatening to undermine the goal of fair elections in New Jersey and throughout the country, the League of Women Voters (LWV) of New Jersey, along with the Fair Districts New Jersey Coalition and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, will be hosting a town hall, “Ending Gerrymandering with People-Powered Reforms,” on Thursday, November 14 at 4 p.m. in Princeton University’s McCosh Hall, Room 28.

Three members — one a Republican, one a Democrat, one unaffiliated — of California’s first independent, citizen-led Redistricting Commission will be featured speakers, with Princeton University Neuroscience Professor and Princeton Gerrymandering Project (PGP) Director Sam Wang moderating.

“One person, one vote is essential to our democracy,” said PGP National Coordinator Jason Rhode. “Gerrymandering strikes at the heart of democratic politics. If the lines are not drawn fairly, how you vote matters less. I can’t think of anything more fundamental to our democracy at this moment than fair redistricting.”

Gerrymandering implies a practice where the party or legislators in control draw voting maps that will favor their candidates. more

JAIL TIME: BT Hayes ‘22 (left) as Chloe O’Ponzi and Calvin Rusley ‘20 (center) as Charles Ponzi with a crowd of white collar criminals in the Princeton Triangle Club’s production of “ONCE UPONZI TIME.” (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Anne Levin

With its list of famous alumni, it might seem as if Princeton University’s Triangle Club show is designed as a gateway to a professional career in performing arts. But despite the impressive roster — Jimmy Stewart ’32, Brooke Shields ’87, Ellie Kemper ’02, and Molly Ephraim ’08 — the annual musical comedy at McCarter Theatre is more about collaboration and giving students who might be majoring in other fields a chance to test their creative talents.

“We have students who are earning certificates in theater or dance, or majoring in music. But a lot of cast members and people working on the show who are majoring in things like finance, astrophysics, and economics,” said Kirsten Traudt ’20, who is president of the Triangle Club. “They have no affiliation with the arts, but they come here and do something creative, and that’s one of the beautiful things about it.”

The curtain will rise on ONCE UPONZI TIME, the 129th annual Triangle Club Show, at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre on Friday, November 15 at 8 p.m., with additional shows Saturday, November 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 17 at 2 p.m. As always, it is an original musical written and performed by students but led by professionals.

“We’re the only student group that hires a professional director, choreographer, and musical director,” said Traudt. “But the students do everything else — writing, acting, designing, promotion, playing in the pit orchestra. I’m working behind the scenes building the set, and we get to work alongside the McCarter staff. It’s really fun to see how they work.” more

By Donald Gilpin

“How trustworthy is the media?” was the central question as a distinguished panel of four experts discussed “Journalism in a Time of Doubt and Disinformation” on November 11, before an overflow audience of about 200 in Princeton University’s McCormick Hall.

In an era of intense partisanship, rampant “fake news,” and the unruly challenges of the world of the internet, the field of journalism increasingly suffers from lack of trust.

At the discussion sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Sociology Department, the Humanities Council, and the Program in Journalism, the panelists included Princeton University Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and the University Center for Human Values Andrew Chignell; Visiting Professor of Writing, Former Executive Editor of the New York Times, and Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Marshall Project Bill Keller; Princeton University History Professor Kevin M. Kruse; and National Public Radio Foreign Correspondent Deborah Amos. Princeton Journalism Professor and Journalism Program Director Joe Stephens moderated the proceedings.

The speakers were unanimous in lamenting the long slide of public trust in media. In 2014 for the first time a majority of Americans stated that they did not trust the media, according to a Gallup poll, and in other recent polls the only institution trusted less than the news media is the U.S. Congress. Young people trust the media less than older people, nine of 10 Republicans say they have lost trust in the news media in the last decade, and 75 percent of independents, 65 percent of moderates, and half of the liberals polled say they have lost trust in media in the past 10 years.  more

By Anne Levin

When representatives from HomeFront approached Dorothea von Moltke of Labyrinth Books about holding a panel discussion on homelessness and hunger at the store, von Moltke didn’t hesitate.

“From our end, it was simply a no-brainer,” she said of the event being held Thursday, November 21 at 6 p.m. “It is so important, and such an interesting mix of voices. And we have the space.”

Panelists for “Hunger and Homelessness in our Community: An Expert Panel” are Princeton University professor and poverty researcher Kathryn Edin; Shakira Abdul-Ali, Trenton’s director of Health and Human Services; Mary Gay Abbott-Young, CEO of the Rescue Mission of Trenton; Sarah Steward, COO of HomeFront; and Talitha-Koumi “TK” Oluwafemi, YMCA’s manager of the Greenwood Avenue Farmers Market in Trenton. Oluwafemi will  provide a personal perspective on the climb out of poverty.

The discussion is the first in a series of events being presented by HomeFront as part of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. Providing housing for vulnerable families in what was a decommissioned Navy training station across from Trenton/Mercer Airport, HomeFront strives to end homelessness in Central New Jersey by giving clients skills and opportunities to support themselves and their families. more

RESTORING A RUIN: Mercer County has preserved the historic brick walls of the Rogers House in Mercer County Park as an “open-air” constructed ruin adapted for interpretation.

The Mercer County Park Commission has completed work on the John Rogers House Constructed Ruin in Mercer County Park. Built in 1761, the Rogers House is believed to be the oldest existing structure in West Windsor Township.

The Rogers House was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 1976; it is significant as a good example of the 18th century pattern brick architecture. The structure was deeded to Mercer County in 1970 when the lands around the house became Mercer County Park. more

By Stuart Mitchner

When I was very young, I read poems incessantly because I was lonely and somehow must have believed they could become people for me.
—Harold Bloom (1930-2019), from Possessed by Memory

Strange and yet unexpectedly gratifying, to open the Times one mid-October morning, ready to read the day’s news at arm’s length, or else to sling the paper angrily aside, only to hesitate, startled by the image of Harold Bloom’s all-the-sorrow-and-wonder-of-the-ages face on the front page with the fact of his death at 89. Even so, Bloom’s presence at the top of the news lends it a touch of literary grace, bringing his “people” Hamlet and Falstaff into the fire and fury of the present. In May of this year Bloom told an interviewer, “I teach Shakespeare as scripture,” his bible being The Invention of the Human (1998), in which he envisions the “pervasive presence” of Shakespeare “here, there, and everywhere at once,” as of “a system of northern lights, an aurora borealis visible where most of us will never go.” He grounds his devotion in Falstaff: Give Me Life (2017): “The true and perfect image of life abides with him: robustly, unforgettably, forever….Disreputable and joyous, he speaks to a world that goes from violence to violence.”

On another October morning a week earlier, same kitchen setting, same hour, same newspaper, the heavy weather of a world going “from violence to violence” gives way for the death of drummer Ginger Baker at 80. While Bloom’s passing recalled the quiet, thoughtful moments I sought him out as a teacher between covers, the news about Baker made me smile remembering the night in March 1968 when I saw a man whose his hair appeared to be on fire driving a set of drums like a team of wild horses, so deep in the “torrent, tempest, and whirlwind of passion,” that if someone with prophetic knowledge had assured me that the demon flailing away as if each moment might be his last would not only live through the night but for another 51 years, I’d have thought they were mad.  more

By Nancy Plum

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Westminster Choir, the renowned ensemble took the opportunity this past weekend to remind the Princeton community of its raison d’etre. Taking a line from the poetry of W.H. Auden, the 40-voice elite chorus of Westminster Choir College presented a concert of music to “Appear and Inspire” in Bristol Chapel on Sunday afternoon, reaffirming the Choir’s rich history and its connection to American musical culture.

The cornerstone piece of the concert was Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, composed to commemorate the patron saint of music and from whose text the title of the concert was derived. Setting poetry by Auden, Britten composed the three-movement work while living in America as war was breaking out throughout Europe. Westminster Choir conductor Joe Miller took the three movements of Britten’s tribute to music and interspersed them throughout the first part of the concert, surrounding Britten’s music with standard works from the Westminster Choir repertory, in many cases featured on Westminster Choir recordings or composed by individuals connected to the Choir College. more

“Scrooge,” a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” comes to Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor November 22-December 1. This classic tale of the rich, stingy Ebenezer Scrooge closely follows the 1970 musical film starring Albert Finney, which won an Academy Award for music score. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and students. Visit www.kelseytheatre.org.

“DISCOVERY”: This illustration for the book “Discovery” by Vladimir Radunsky is part of “A Celebration of the Children’s Books of Vladimir Radunsky,” on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers in New Brunswick through March 8, 2020. The exhibit features more than 50 original gouache, photo collage, and paper collage illustrations on public view for the first time.

For more than 30 years, artist Vladimir Radunsky created children’s books, combining creative narration, innovative design, and pervasive wit. The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers now spotlights his career in “A Celebration of the Children’s Books of Vladimir Radunsky,” on view through March 8, 2020.

With support from the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund, the exhibition features recently acquired artwork for two of the books, Because . . . and Discovery; while illustrations from The Mighty Asparagus and Mother Goose of Pudding Lane are on loan from the collection of Eugenia Radunsky, the artist’s wife. More than 50 original gouache, photo collage, and paper collage illustrations are on public view for the first time and include bilingual labels, in English and Spanish. more

“NATURE IN BLACK AND WHITE”: Linocuts by eighth-grade students at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart are now at the Olivia Rainbow Gallery, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton through December 20. (Photograph by Tasha O’Neill)

D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents “Nature in Black and White,” an exhibit of works by eighth-grade students of Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, on view through December 20. more

PLEASING THE PALATE: “Sushi is our specialty, but we also offer other traditional choices, including steak, lamb, chicken, and pasta dishes,” says Tony Yu, chef/owner of the new Elite Five Sushi & Grill. Pictured is an assortment of his special creations. Clockwise from upper right: Pickled Spanish Mackerel, Grilled Chilean Sea Bass, Fire and Ice Sushi Roll, and a Mango Medley dessert.

By Jean Stratton

Just opened October 16, Elite Five Sushi & Grill has already attracted a gathering of customers intrigued by its variety of sushi, sashimi, and rolls; its grilled steaks, lamb, and chicken dishes; and also by its unusual name.

“It is named for the five senses,” reports chef/owner Tony Yu. “First, food is visual. You look at it, and then, there is the aroma, the taste, the texture — and you even listen to it! All of these elements must be appealing to the diner.”

Located at 277 Witherspoon Street, the restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and takeout. It will also available for private parties.

Its contemporary decor offers classic lines within a comfortable, uncrowded setting. Its attractive decor is enhanced by its natural look, with inviting Asian nuances. more

BRONX BOMBER: Princeton University quarterback Kevin Davidson fires a pass a game earlier this fall. Last Saturday, senior Davidson threw for 210 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause as Princeton fell 27-10 to Dartmouth at Yankee Stadium. The loss to the undefeated Big Green snapped a 17-game winning streak for the Tigers, who dropped to 7-1 overall and 4-1 Ivy League. Princeton will look to get back in the win column when it hosts Yale (7-1 overall, 4-1 Ivy) on November 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For lifelong New York Yankees fan Bob Surace, making the pilgrimage to the Bronx is always special.

So when Surace brought his undefeated and ninth-ranked  Princeton University football team to Yankee Stadium last Saturday for a clash against undefeated and No. 13 Dartmouth to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first game which pitted the Tigers against Rutgers on November 6, 1869, the trip was destined to leave a slew of memories.

“The entire week was great, with the celebration of the first game we played in, the Empire State Building being lit up the orange and red for us and Rutgers, and the number of alumni who flew in, who drove in,” said Princeton head coach Surace, a star center for the Tiger football program in the late 1980s.

“It was really incredible to see the support from everybody who has been a part of Princeton football for such a long time and then have the Yankee Stadium experience.” more

ON POINT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Carlie Littlefield looks to pass the ball last week as Princeton hosted Rider in its season opener. Junior point guard Littlefield scored 10 points and had a career-high seven assists in the November 5 contest to help the Tigers prevail 80-47. Last Sunday in a 75-50 win at George Washington, Littlefield nearly recorded a triple-double, scoring 22 points with 10 steals and eight rebounds. Littlefield was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week. In upcoming action, Princeton, now 2-0, plays at Seton Hall on November 15 before hosting Florida Gulf Coast on November 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women’s basketball team took the court for its season opener last week against Rider at Jadwin Gyn, it was more than just the start of another season.

With Carla Berube taking the helm of squad after Courtney Banghart having headed south to guide the University of North Carolina, the November 5 contest marked a new chapter in the history of the Princeton program.

Tiger junior guard Carlie Littlefield and her teammates were ready to turn the page as they faced the Broncs.

“We were all just super excited for this new era and this new season to kick off,” said Littlefield. more

BIG JAKE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Jake Paganelli skates near the boards in a game last winter. Last Saturday, junior forward Paganelli scored a goal in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-1 at Dartmouth. The Tigers, now 1-2-1 overall and 0-2 ECAC Hockey, will be seeing their first action this season at Hobey Baker Rink when they host RPI on November 15 and Union on November 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University men’s hockey team opened its ECAC Hockey campaign last weekend by falling at Harvard and Dartmouth, Ron Fogarty is far from discouraged.

“I like where this team is at; we have four lines that are doing well,” said Princeton head coach Fogarty, whose team is now 1-2-1 overall and 0-2 ECACH. “All of the guys, to a man, are playing hard and smart.”

Despite playing hard in New England, Princeton fell 3-0 to Harvard on Friday and 3-1 to Dartmouth a day later.

“Last weekend was a tough two games score-wise but I liked how we played,” said Fogarty. more

MIDFIELD MAESTRO: Zoe Sarnak displays two of her many talents, recently performing on stage, left, and playing soccer for the Harvard women’s soccer team in 2006. Sarnak, a stellar midfielder for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team from 2001-04, will be inducted in the PHS Athletic Hall of Fame this Saturday. (Photos provided by Zoe Sarnak and Harvard Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

As an award-winning composer and lyricist, Zoe Sarnak relishes the process of combining her talents with others to create productions.

For Sarnak, working together to achieve something special stems naturally from her experience as a star midfielder for the Princeton High girls’ soccer program more than a decade ago.

“Team sports were really good because they taught me how to play a certain leadership role on a team; I definitely think they helped me in my career,” said Sarnak, a 2005 PHS grad now based in New York City whose professional resume includes such theater and songwriting honors as winning the Jonathan Larson Award and the Davenport Contest and being named as a finalist for the Fred Ebb Award, Kleban Prize, Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, and the NY Stage & Film’s Founders Award. more

SERVE AND PROTECT: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Emily Dobler blasts a serve in a match last season. Last Thursday, senior libero Dobler contributed 10 digs and nine service points in a losing cause as seventh-seeded PHS fell 2-1 to 10th-seeded East Brunswick in the second round of the state Group 4 tournament. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 19-8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into the fall, the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team was looking for someone to fill the critical libero role.

“The libero serves as a defensive specialist and playmaker, wearing a different color jersey than her teammates to signify her unique responsibilities.

While PHS senior Emily Dobler had never played that position before, she reluctantly agreed to give it a shot.

“This is my first year paying libero, I used to be a hitter on the front row,” said Dobler.

“I wasn’t that excited about it at the beginning of the year, but it is really fun to work on getting the passes there and getting them up. I am improving on that because I never thought of myself as a passer.” more

FAST COMPANY: Members of the Princeton High girls’ cross country team take off at the start of the Mercer County Championships last month. This past Saturday, PHS took third in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet. As a result of making the top five, the Tigers qualified to compete in the state Group 4 meet this Saturday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Three apples a day keeps the Princeton High girls’ cross country season going.

“We’ve all been eating apples all year,” said PHS veteran stalwart Lizzy Hare with a laugh. “That’s the key.”

Last Saturday at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional at Thompson Park in Jamesburg, Hare, the lone senior in the Tiger top seven, posted a personal record of 20:37 over the 5,000-meter course to come in fourth out PHS’s scoring five runners and help the squad place third in the meet.

“I think it’s very inspiring,” said Hare. “It’s really pushing us. We want to hopefully make it to Meet of Champs this year. It’s a big goal. We’ll have another hard week of training to hopefully make it out next week.” more

November 6, 2019

Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal jumps for joy after scoring a first half goal to help PDS defeat Newark Academy 2-1 in the state Prep B title game last Friday. It marked the sixth straight Prep B crown for the Panthers, who finished the fall with a 16-3-1 record. See page 39 for more details on the game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Donald Gilpin

Democrats Mia Sacks with 4,283 votes (44.99 percent) and Michelle Pirone Lambros with 4,111 votes (43.18 percent) won seats on the Princeton Council in Tuesday’s election, defeating Independent Adam Bierman (1,092 votes, 11.47 percent), while three candidates were elected to the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE), all for three-year terms. The results are unofficial and do not include provisional and mail-in ballots.

In the closely-contested BOE vote, the challengers out-polled the incumbents, as newcomer Susan Kanter led the pack with 3,157 votes (27.16 percent), former Board member Dafna Kendal received 2,948 votes (25.35 percent), and incumbent Debbie Bronfeld won the third seat with 2,795 votes (24.04 percent). Greg Stankiewicz’s bid for reelection fell just short with 2,682 votes (23.07 percent).

In the race for New Jersey Assembly for the 16th Legislative District, incumbent Democrats Andrew Zwicker with 26,280 votes (27.85 percent) and Roy Freiman with 25,077 votes (26.58 percent) retained their seats over Republican challengers Mark Caliguire (21,606 votes, 22.90 percent) and Christine Madrid (21,387 votes, 22.67 percent). In Princeton the tally was 3,491 for Zwicker, 3,331 for Freiman, 653 for Madrid, and 643 for Caliguire. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University released two new reports last month regarding policies, resources, and communications for combating sexual misconduct on campus.

Generated in response to protests last spring organized by Princeton IX Now (formerly Princeton Students for Title IX Reform), the reports, one external and one internal, offer recommendations on the University’s Title IX process. The protests culminated in a nine-day, round-the-clock sit-in outside Nassau Hall from May 7 to 11.

Describing Princeton’s Title IX system in their list of 11 demands as “opaque, victim-blaming, and traumatizing,” the protesters last spring wrote on their website, “We demand the reform of Title IX procedures at Princeton to protect survivors. Individually, we have tried to pursue reform through bureaucratic processes and meetings with various administrators. This has not reformed the system. We demand more.”

The website also included accounts from more than 30 anonymous students and University employees about their personal experiences with Title IX. more

By Anne Levin

The five-story building at 20 Nassau Street, home to numerous offices, health care professionals, and retail businesses, has been purchased by a company that develops hotels in university towns. According to management of the building, the sale to the Chicago-based Graduate Hotels closed on October 31.

Tenants were able to meet on Monday, November 4 with representatives of the hotel firm, who told them their existing leases would be honored, according to the owner of one of the building’s ground floor retail businesses.The retail owner, who has operated his business for 20 years, declined to be identified, but said there were no assurances by the new owners that leases would be renewed.

The red brick building dates from 1918 and once served as a dormitory for Princeton University students, according to the 20 Nassau website. The site advertises more than 70,000 square feet of space, with 112 office suites ranging in size from 150 to 450 square feet, and a few larger spaces over 1,500 square feet. more

“JOURNEY”: Artist Marlon Davila, who grew up in the Witherspooon-Jackson neighborhood, is putting the finishing touches on his mural titled “Journey” on the outer wall of Lupita’s Groceries on Leigh Avenue and John Street. The Arts Council of Princeton is inviting the community to a reveal party and formal dedication at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 9. (Photo courtesy of Arts Council of Princeton)

By Donald Gilpin

A bright blue sky, a large tree with green leaves, the Big Dipper with the North Star in the top left corner, and butterflies of all sizes adorn what used to be a yellow expanse of wall outside Lupita’s Groceries on Leigh Avenue and John Street.

Marlon Davila has almost finished his mural titled Journey, and The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has invited the public to attend a reveal party on Saturday, November 9 at 10 a.m., with light refreshments and a formal dedication by Mayor Liz Lempert.

“It is a dream come true,” said Davila, who grew up in the Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) neighborhood. “I remember being a kid who loved coloring books and drawing. Years later I still have that same passion for art, and I am creating a mural on this beautiful wall in my hometown on the exact street where I lived for many years.” more

By Anne Levin

After more than a year of planning, proposals, and meetings with residents of the surrounding neighborhood, Princeton Theological Seminary has announced it will no longer proceed with a project that would build new student apartments on the campus.

A release from the Seminary last week said that instead of the construction of new student housing on its Tennent Roberts campus along Hibben Road and Stockton Street, it would focus on restoring existing buildings at the campus. The school cited “increased cost estimates for the project” as the primary reason for the decision.

Key elements of the plan included new apartments on the main campus for single and married students, the renovation of Hodge and Brown halls to include private bathrooms, renovation of Alexander Hall, and renovation or replacement of the Mackay Center.

As part of the plan, the campus would have been designated a redevelopment zone, which proponents said provides for more control over design specifics than the traditional zoning process. But during neighborhood meetings, there was pushback from some residents who were concerned about density and increased traffic. more

Best-Selling Author Tells “How to Raise an Adult”

Julie Lythcott-Haims, best-selling author of How to Raise an Adult and former freshman dean at Stanford University, spoke about the detrimental effects of helicopter parenting to a crowd of more than 300 parents and educators on October 28 at the Princeton Montessori School on Cherry Valley Road.

She discussed the need for parents to lovingly detach from micromanaging their children’s lives, emphasizing the toll that over-parenting takes on children and parents, including children’s mental health struggles and “learned helplessness.”

“We were so pleased to host this particular speaker, as Julie’s message about how to raise independent adults mirrors the philosophy of a Montessori education,” said Princeton Montessori Head of School Michelle Morrison.

Lythcott-Haims’ lecture and a workshop for educators earlier in the day were sponsored by Princeton Common Ground, a volunteer-led consortium of the parent associations of 16 local independent schools. more

NEW HOSTS: The Meeting House, previously known as Two Sevens, is now owned by married couple Amar Gautam and Amanda Maher, who have three young children and want the reconfigured restaurant to welcome families like their own. The Witherspoon Street eatery next to Avalon Princeton is being renovated to reflect a warmer, more casual aesthetic, with a less expensive menu.

By Anne Levin

When The Meeting House restaurant opens its doors later this month, new owners Amar Gautam and Amanda Maher are expecting some pint-sized patrons to be part of the first-night crowd. Formerly known as Two Sevens Eatery and Cantina, the space at 277 Witherspoon Street has been redesigned to be more family-friendly than its predecessor, while still appealing to hip diners who might be out for dinner or drinks.

“This will be a community-based restaurant with a burger on the dinner menu, a great $9 glass of wine, and a great beer selection,” said Gautam. Added Maher, “Having three kids of our own, we’re going to say to people, ‘Your kids are not just allowed here, they are welcome here.’” more