April 10, 2019

By Anne Levin

At a meeting Monday night, April 8, Princeton Council voted unanimously to approve the creation of a new affordable housing zone on the site where the SAVE animal shelter was formerly located. The property is bordered by Herrontown Road, Mt. Lucas Road, and Old Orchard Lane.

Introduced at a previous Council meeting in March and then sent to the Planning Board for review, the ordinance came back to Council with some revisions for the three-acre property, which is to be devoted 100 percent to affordable housing in 65 one-,two-, and three-bedroom units for low-and-moderate-income households.

The vote came after testimony from numerous neighbors of the site, nearly all of whom were opposed to the plan. Each person who spoke said that while they support affordable housing and realize that Princeton has an obligation of a certain number of affordable units to create, the proposed complex is too big and out of character for the largely wooded area. more

By Donald Gilpin

In a resolution adopted unanimously Monday night, Princeton Council is asking the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) to reconsider its denial of a request for an all-pedestrian phase for traffic lights at the Nassau Street at University Place, Witherspoon Street, and Washington Road intersections.

“All of the Council is united in thinking this was a mistake by the DOT,” said Council President Jenny Crumiller.
“Pedestrian safety should be just as much a priority as traffic movement, if not more.”

Over the past six years there have been more than a dozen pedestrians struck at these intersections and one pedestrian killed, according to Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. In October 2017 a woman died after being struck by a cement truck turning left onto Washington Road from Nassau Street. more

NEW AND IMPROVED: Clarke Caton Hintz’s renovations and additions to the Trenton campus of Mercer County Community College have allowed for an expansion of courses at state-of-the-art facilities. (Photo by Jeffrey Totaro, courtesy of Clarke Caton Hintz)

By Anne Levin

With an expanded downtown Trenton campus of renovated and new buildings, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is becoming known as much for its presence in the capital city as its suburban spread next to West Windsor’s Mercer County Park.

New programs that needed new facilities with up-to-date technological capabilities now have a sleek home on North Broad Street. Courses in cybersecurity and security systems, fashion design and merchandising, nursing and phlebotomy, and more, are offered at the downtown campus, and enrollment is up.

“Our numbers in Trenton are growing,” said Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC president. “This spring we have over 600 students, which is our highest enrollment ever. And we could probably have more if there wasn’t a parking problem.”

Architects Clarke Caton Hintz have won a 2019 Smart Growth Award from New Jersey Future for their design of the project. The honor is for “reactivation of a group of long-dormant buildings in an overlooked part of the city, with amenities to serve both students and residents.”  more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton High School’s (PHS) production of Anything Goes last month received glowing reviews, but its racist humor and derogatory, stereotypical depictions of Chinese characters tainted the experience for many.

Written by Cole Porter in 1934 and performed by PHS in a 1962 revised version — other more recent versions also exist — the classic musical comedy contains problematic content in several scenes.

“We need to do better than urging a nearly all-white cast to uncomfortably play two-dimensional Asian characters who only exist for a slew of racist jokes and a plot point that could certainly do without any Chinese involvement,” wrote PHS junior Michaela Guo, in “A criticism of the spring musical” in the March 23 edition of The Tower student newspaper. more

By Anne Levin

Jim Nawn, owner of Fenwick Hospitality Group, announced last week that he is selling the Princeton restaurants Agricola, The Dinky Bar & Kitchen, Cargot Brasserie, and Fenwick Catering & Events to the New Jersey-based Harvest Restaurant Group. The deal is currently being financed and is expected to take effect mid-year.

According to a statement, the Harvest Group plans to transfer all current restaurant staff and management to the Harvest company. The group, which began in 1996, currently owns several New Jersey restaurants including Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery in Berkeley Heights, Roots Steakhouse and Huntley Taverne in Summit, and others in Morris Plains, Morristown, Westfield, Ridgewood, and Basking Ridge. more

By Donald Gilpin

Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law, and women’s gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University, will discuss race, gender, and the law with Imani Perry, Princeton University professor of African American studies and faculty associate in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, on Thursday, April 18 at 8 p.m. in Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium.

Perry commented, in an email, on Hill’s impact since she testified in 1991 at Senate hearings on Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court, accusing him of sexual harassment.

“Although I grew up in a community that included many black feminists, the Thomas hearings were extremely impactful on me as an event in which the particular gendered experience of a black woman was in the public eye,” said Perry, who was in her late teens at the time. “Professor Hill, along with a group of other black women who litigated cases, brought the issue of sexual harassment into the public arena and changed the landscape of feminist politics.”

Describing the Me Too movement as “a contemporary extension” of Hill’s efforts, Perry compared Hill to Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement. “Then as now, Anita Hill, like Tarana Burke, has raised issues that have broad implications for our culture and also made clear the particular vulnerabilities experienced by black women and girls,” Perry noted. more

By Stuart Mitchner

My life has a happy ending.
— Dexter Gordon (1923-1990)

It’s that time of year, Princeton’s in its glory, baseball’s here again, and I’m driving with the windows down listening to Dexter Gordon, a player for all seasons. I can choose from postwar wonders like “Dexter Rides Again,” where Long Tall Dexter comes charging, guns blazing, out of the box, or it might be the headlong post-penitentiary euphoria of “Daddy Plays the Horn” and “Stanley the Steamer,” or the sound of his early 1960s New York renaissance in Go, surely the only jazz album to make it into a Swedish novel in which a character who hears it feels “blessed, clear-headed and strong,” for when you’ve listened to Dexter “you tell nothing but the truth for a long while.”

That quote from Svante Foerster’s novel is among the riches in Maxine Gordon’s Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (Univ. of California Press), which was the subject of a lively, jazz-ambient conversation late last month at Labyrinth Books between Maxine and Richard Lawn, the author of Experiencing Jazz, and All About Jazz’s Victor L. Schermer. The only thing  lacking was a set of speakers so that everyone present could hear samples of the tenor saxophonist’s massive sound; instead, people happily settled for the story of the fan who fainted when he heard the real thing in person.  more

By Nancy Plum

Boheme Opera NJ is marking its 30th anniversary this season, and the regional opera company is not celebrating quietly. In this past weekend’s productions at the College of New Jersey’s Kendall Mainstage Theater, Boheme Opera NJ took on a blockbuster from a master of Italian dramatic opera in Giuseppe Verdi’s monumental Aida. An opera in four acts (the last two are often combined), Verdi’s 1871 Aida was a departure for the composer in that there were no show-stopping arias of vocal fireworks for superstar singers; rather, the technical demands were evenly spread among all performers. The principal singers assembled by Boheme Opera NJ for Friday night’s performance (the production was repeated Sunday afternoon) consistently demonstrated their mastery of Verdi’s rich harmonic score and musical drama. Against a simple set leaving much of the locale depiction to a digital backdrop, the performers in this production were able to easily captivate the audience throughout the poignant story.

The timeframe of Aida is deliberately vague and open to interpretation, described only as during the “Old Kingdom of Egypt” (covering a good four centuries), and  Boheme Opera NJ placed the story “during the reign of the Pharaohs,” with virtual set artist J. Matthew Root’s digital scenery showing settings of Luxor in Upper Egypt and inner tombs of pyramids while the opening orchestral prelude was played. The orchestra assembled in the pit, and led by Artistic Director and Conductor Joseph Pucciatti, began the opera to the digital accompaniment of the Nile River flowing by as lean violins and graceful wind solos moved the tempo along as smoothly as the Nile. more

“FICTION”: Performances are underway for Pegasus Theatre Company’s production of “Fiction.” Directed by Peter Bisgaier, the play runs through April 14 at the West Windsor Arts Center. Linda (Jennifer Nasta Zefutie, foreground) is forced to re-examine her marriage to Michael (David C. Neal, rear left), when she reads his journal entries about his encounter with the mysterious Abby (Sarah Stryker, rear right) at a writers’ retreat.  (Photo by Darren Sussman)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

When author Linda Waterman is diagnosed with a malignant tumor and given three weeks to live, she secures a promise from her husband Michael, who also is a writer, that he will read her diaries after she dies. She also asks him to let her read his journals. This request makes him edgy, but he agrees — after tearing a page out of one of his notebooks. What follows is the unveiling of multiple layers of secrets in a seemingly close, if contentious, marriage — secrets that may or may not be true.

Written by Steven Dietz, Fiction premiered in 2002 at McCarter Theatre Center. The play returns to the Princeton area through the Pegasus Theatre Company. more

Princeton Record Exchange, at 20 South Tulane Street, will mark the 12th annual National Record Store Day on Saturday, April 13. Record Store Day celebrates the culture of the independently owned record store.

The day is designed to bring together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world. On this day, hundreds of limited-edition titles are sold exclusively at stores such as Princeton Record Exchange.

The main attraction of Record Store Day is the availability of titles on vinyl that can only be found in participating independent bricks-and-mortar stores. At last count, there are over 400 limited edition titles being released this year.

Adding to the collectible appeal, most of these records have very limited production runs, typically from 100 to 5,000 pieces. They are allocated by the distributors to stores around the country, and the stores don’t know what they’ll receive until the last minute. For the last few years, Princeton Record Exchange has ended up with over 1,500 pieces for sale. more

On Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m., the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) performs “Mirror Displays,” a free concert, at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall on the Princeton University campus. Rage Thormbones is special guest.

Pieces feature electronically processed tap dance, live-coded orchestra sounds, trombones equipped with custom electronics to provide musical control of feedback, a piece of music that is also a video game, live group-typed spoken work poetry, tap dance controlled lights, and a piece where the audience’s cell phones are part of the musical soundscape. more

“SHAD”: This painting by Trenton artist Abelardo Montano is featured in “UpStream,” a group art show celebrating spring by the river, on view at Cross Pollination Gallery in Lambertville April 12 to May 11. An opening reception with the artists is Saturday, April 13 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Cross Pollination Gallery in Lambertville invites the public to an opening reception of “UpStream,” a group art show celebrating spring, the river, and the fish that are coming back to spawn and start a new life cycle. The show is on view April 12 to May 11. The opening reception is Saturday, April 13, 5-8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. more

“ORPHEUS LOOKED”: Works by New York-based photographer Rachel Stern will be on display in at Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus Gallery in Trenton April 11 through May 9. A community reception and artist talk take place Wednesday, April 17, 5 to 7 p.m.

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG) will showcase works by Rachel Stern in the exhibit “Orpheus Looked.” The show runs from Thursday, April 11 to Thursday, May 9. The community is invited to a reception and artist talk with Stern on Wednesday, April 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. The talk starts at 6 p.m.

JKCG is located in MCCC’s Trenton Hall, 137 North Broad Street, across the street from the James Kerney Building.  more

“THE OVERGROWN QUARRY”: This archival print on Kinwashi paper is featured in “Intrepid Alchemist: Diane Levell’s Bucks County,” on view at the Michener Museum of Art through July 28. The exhibit features more than 20 photographs of Bucks County through the seasons.

The Michener Art Museum shines light on a series of photographs for its newest exhibition, “Intrepid Alchemist: Diane Levell’s Bucks County.” On view through July 28, this collection of landscape images by master photographer Diane Levell (American, born 1946) features more than 20 photographs printed on Japanese rice paper which illuminates Levell’s unique approach of transforming the familiar into the magical.

“Diane, a fearless adventurer and pioneer, continues to surprise, experiment, and push the boundaries of photography, and challenges viewers to slow down and look closely enough for an alchemical transformation of matter to take place before their eyes,” says Michener Executive Director Kathleen V. Jameson. “Her works are marked by poetic beauty coupled with technical prowess, and it has been a delightful experience to work with her on this presentation.” more

SURVIVAL TALE: “Breakthrough,” based on a memoir by Joyce Smith, recounts the unlikely survival of her son John (played by Marcel Ruiz) after he was submerged for more than 15 minutes in a frozen lake. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

By Kam Williams

Despite having a couple of generic American names, John Smith’s (Marcel Ruiz) life story has been anything but boring. It’s just too bad that the shy 14-year-old has been too embarrassed to share it. 

He was born in Guatemala, but raised in Missouri by Brian (Josh Lucas) and Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz), the missionary couple that adopted him as an infant. But even the terrific childhood they provided couldn’t supply answers to nagging questions that still burdened the boy in junior high, like wondering why his birth mom didn’t love him enough to keep him. John was so traumatized that he gave his teacher an excuse the day he was supposed to make a class presentation about his family tree. more

FAMILY TIES: “Ours is a real family business. It has included my grandfather, my dad and uncle, my brother and me, my son, and also two nephews. We have all been part of establishing and continuing A. Pennacchi & Sons Masonry Restoration Company, which is now 72 years old.” Paul Pennacchi (right), owner and president of the Hamilton-based company, is shown with his son Paul Jr.

By Jean Stratton

A family business today stands out as unique. In times past, independently-owned and operated family businesses were seen throughout Princeton and the area, but now, such establishments have become rarities on the business landscape.

That A. Pennacchi & Sons Masonry Restoration Company has stood the test of time since its beginning in 1947 is a tribute to the determination and hard work of its founders and current owners and employees. more

FROM WET TO DRY: “The B.Q. Basement Systems crews work in residential, commercial, and industrial settings, and handle jobs of all sizes. The crew members featured here have 60 combined years with the company,” says B.Q. Marketing Manager Margaret McGonigle. “Also, our 15 estimators provide a thorough free inspection and estimate.”

By Jean Stratton

Is it time to dry out?

Are there lingering puddles and even wading pool-type conditions in your basement after a strong and steady rain?

Have small creatures found an inviting home in the cellar? Various insects, and even mice, who may stop by for a drink in a puddle?

That damp basement may not only invite unwelcome visitors and be un-sightly, it can cause a host of problems, including serious health issues, such as asthma and allergies. Mold on the walls and unpleasant musty odors emanating from excess humidity are just some of the challenges that exist in many basements in Princeton and the surrounding area. Since much of Princeton is located in wetland conditions, this is an ongoing problem. more

MAKING HAY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Julia Haney gets ready to unload the ball in recent action. Last Saturday senior attacker Haney tallied four points on two goals and two assists to help Princeton rally to a 14-12 win at Dartmouth. The 16th-ranked Tigers, now 7-3 overall and 2-1 Ivy League, host No. 11 Loyola (9-3) on April and Harvard on April 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

In the midst of wrapping up her thesis, Julia Haney helped the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team pass a giant test.

The Princeton senior attacker had two goals and two assists in the Tigers’ 14-12 comeback win at Dartmouth on Saturday.

“The win against Dartmouth was huge,” said Haney. “Going into the game, we were super prepared. We knew we needed to come out ready to go from the first whistle. This stretch of the season is by far the most important. Every game counts and it’s always awesome when you come out on top.” more

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Princeton University women’s open crew varsity eight churns through the water in a regatta this spring. Last Sunday, the top boat excelled at the Ivy League Invitational on Lake Carnegie, moving to 7-0 on the season and retained both the Class of 1984 Plaque and the 1975 Cup against a quartet of Ivy League opponents. The fifth-ranked Tigers are next in action when host Yale and Texas in the race for the Eisenberg Cup. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

As Lori Dauphiny assesses her Princeton University women’s open crew team this spring, she believes the program’s Class of 2019 is poised to go out in a blaze of glory.

With stars Claire Collins and Emily Kallfelz setting the tone, the team’s senior group brings a lot to the table.

“It is a very strong senior class. Claire and Emily are our co-captains; they also went to U23 and have done well,” said Dauphiny.

“Others around that class are also strong kids and leaders in their own right. I love every class, but this class definitely has many attributes. They are talented, they are achievers, they are strong, they are academically savvy so they have it all going on.” more

WESTERN HERO: Princeton University baseball player Max West takes a cut in recent action. Senior catcher West had three hits in a losing cause as Princeton fell 2-1 to visiting Columbia last Sunday. The Tigers, now 6-18 overall and 3-6 Ivy League, host Seton Hall for a single game on April 10 and then head to Penn for a three-game set this weekend with a doubleheader slated for April 13 and a single game on April 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Max West has traveled an unusual route to stardom for the Princeton University baseball team.

After graduating from the Singapore American School, West served two and a half years as a combat diver and naval officer in the Singapore Navy. He then applied to U.S. colleges and ultimately decided to matriculate to Princeton, arriving in the fall of 2015.

“Initially coming to college as a 21-year-old freshman, I was older than everyone else and felt a little out of place,” said West.

“That has made my college experience much more valuable. I was definitely more mature at 21 than I was at 18. Spending that time back home in the military has allowed me to get the most out of this experience here at Princeton.” more

TED TALK: Princeton High baseball star Teddy Durbin fires a pitch in a game last year. Senior first baseman/pitcher Durbin has been making an impact with his bat so far this spring. Last week, Durbin hit triples in consecutive games for the Tigers, who are now 2-3. In upcoming action, PHS hosts WW/P-South on April 10 and Allentown on April 12, plays at Princeton Day School on April 13, and then hosts Nottingham on April 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Teddy Durbin has found a comfort level as he has moved into the number two spot in the batting order for the Princeton High baseball team this spring.

“I am mainly a fastball hitter, that is what I am best at,” said the senior first baseman/pitcher Durbin. “In the two spot, you usually get a first pitch fastball which is ideal for me.”

Last Wednesday against visiting Piscataway, Durbin got PHS started in the first inning, stroking a single and then coming around to score after an error, balk and wild pitch. more

SHOWTIME: Princeton Hugh girls’ lacrosse player Shoshi Henderson heads to goal in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, sophomore attacker henderson tallied three goals to help PHS defeat Notre Dame 12-6. The Tigers, now 3-1, plays at Allentown on April 11, hosts Columbia on April 13, and then plays at Princeton Day School on April 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Shoshi Henderson didn’t have to rack her brain to know the game plan for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team as it hosted Notre Dame last Monday.

The words “cohesive” and “unit” were scrawled in black magic marker on her hands.

“We just had to work together,” said Henderson, noting that all of her teammates had the message written on their hands. “We had to spread out everything and we did a great job of doing that.” more

OUT OF THE GATE: Hun School baseball player Carson Applegate takes off after hitting the ball in recent action. Freshman center fielder Applegate has been a catalyst in the leadoff spot as Hun has gotten off to a 7-0 start. In upcoming action, Hun hosts Princeton Day School on April 10, plays at Pennington on April 11, plays at Blair Academy on April 13, and then faces Immaculata High on April 15 at Diamond Nation. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Carson Applegate hasn’t wasted any time making an impact this spring for the Hun School baseball team.

The precocious freshman, who has already committed to attend the University of Kentucky and play for its Division I baseball program, has been the leadoff batter and starting center fielder for the Raiders from day one of his debut campaign.

Applegate has enjoyed carving out a role for the Raiders. “As long as I fit into the team, whatever works best for team,” said Applegate.

“We are practicing every day and getting better as a team, working to be the best we can.” more

J-TRAIN: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Jaelyn Bennett brings the ball up the field in the team’s season opener against Pennington last week. Freshman attacker Bennett scored three goals in a losing cause as the Tartans fell 14-5. Stuart, now 0-3 after being defeated 16-4 by Princeton Day School last Monday, will look to get on the winning track as it hosts Hamilton on April 11 and Hightstown on April 15 before playing at Rutgers Prep on April 16.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

There were some opening day jitters for the Stuart Country Day lacrosse team as it hosted Pennington to start the 2019 season last week.

Having trouble getting possession of the ball, Stuart fell behind 11-1 by halftime.

“We scored first and then we were really challenged from that point,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik.

But showing progress within the game, the Tartans outscored Pennington 4-3 in the second half to make it a 14-5 final.

In Bruvik’s view, the Tartans gained some important lessons from the loss.  more

ON FIRE: Hun School softball player Meghan Donohue hits the ball in a game last spring. Senior first baseman Donohue went 3-for-5 with a homer, three runs, and one RBI as Hun defeated Doane Academy 17-6 last Monday. The Raiders, now 4-2, play at Northern Burlington on April 10, at WW/P-South on April 11, at Blair Academy on April 13 and at the Peddie School on April 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Hun School softball team trailed visiting Lawrenceville 6-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning last Thursday, Meghan Donohue wasn’t about to give up.

The Hun senior first baseman smashed a double off the left field fence, attempting to spark a rally for the Raiders.

“We worked the pitcher to be up more than she was,” said Donohue. “A lot of that hit had to do with seeing the ball and taking one that was good. It felt good. This is my senior season. I am just out here having fun; that takes a lot of the pressure off for me.” more