January 11, 2017

“We are the ‘Go To’ place for aging well,” says Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW, executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC). “It’s important to have social interaction, a sense of purpose to engage your mind and learn new things in order to have better overall health and brain health.”

The number of older Americans is increasing all the time. Studies show that each day, 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65, and will continue to do so over the next several years. Not only are there more older people but their longevity is increasing. One of the fastest growing age groups is people 80-plus! more

January 4, 2017

A lone figure on Lake Carnegie suggests, at least for some, the time when you could see Albert Einstein out there “sailing through strange seas of thought” in his dinghy. (Photo by Emily Reeves) 

Mayor Liz Lempert has named nine appointees to Princeton’s new Civil Rights Commission, which is designed to provide informal conflict resolution and mediation. Princeton Council is expected to approve the list at its annual reorganization meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 4.

Members come from different sectors of the community, including four affiliated with Princeton University. “I’m excited about the launch of this important commission, and I’m especially thrilled with the diversity of residents who have volunteered to serve, and the expertise they bring to the table,” Ms. Lempert wrote in an email on Tuesday. more

Seven hundred and seventy students from a pool of 5003 candidates who applied through single-choice early action have been offered admission to next year’s freshman class at Princeton University. The number of early applicants is the largest in the past six years, up 18.3 percent from last year. more

A proposal by The Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College in Princeton is on the agenda of the Princeton Historical Commission’s meeting scheduled for Thursday evening, January 5.

Constance Fee, president of the school’s Alumni Council, plans to read a brief introduction to the proposal, which asks that the 28-acre campus be designated a historical landmark. Financially strapped Rider University, which has owned Westminster since 1992, is studying the idea of selling the Walnut Avenue site and relocating Westminster to Rider’s main campus in Lawrenceville. The request to the Historical Commission is part of an effort by students, alumni, and friends of Westminster to protect the campus and keep it where it has been since 1932.

“It’s not just the people. It’s the environment,” said Ms. Fee, an alumna whose mother also graduated from the school. On the music faculty at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, Ms. Fee has sent three of her former students to Westminster. “This is a Greek Revival style campus that was built specifically for educating a choir, with rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, teaching studios, and organs,” she continued. “To replicate that would be a staggering task.” more

MUCH NEEDED ADDITION: The new addition to be built on the grounds of Morven has been designed by GWWO Architects as a support structure that augments the historic mansion rather than stealing the architectural spotlight. Groundbreaking is Thursday. (Watercolor renderings by artist Mark Schreiber)

It has taken more than a decade, but Morven Museum and Garden is finally ready to break ground on a new building that will house an area for programming, a classroom, offices, and much needed storage space. On Thursday morning, January 5 at 10:30 a.m., shovels will officially hit the dirt. more

A recent gathering marked the $3,000 donation from the Whole Earth Center to the Friends of Herrontown Woods. Left to right: FOHW president Steve Hiltner, WEC board member Agnes Mironov, and FOHW board members Ahmed Azmy, Jon Johnson, and Inge Regan. The donation will go to the continuing restoration of trails and habitat at Herrontown Woods in northeast Princeton, and renovation of the Oswald Veblen house, barn, and cottage. Veblen, a Princeton University mathematics professor instrumental in the founding of the Institute for Advanced Study, donated much of his land to Mercer County in 1957 to form Princeton’s first nature preserve.

Nursing students from The College of New Jersey recently provided their services to Child Health Associates, a pediatric practice in Plainsboro. From left: Celia Cattabiani, Daniell Lacovo, Jacqueline Bilatto, Jane Clark, Jessie Riddlestorffer, and Lindsey Brandt worked in the office. The collaboration enables TCNJ nursing students to learn the practice of medicine from a multi-cultural patient population in ways that prepare them to provide nursing to a diverse group.

Lawrence resident David Price will be giving a 10-minute talk about his book Rescuing the Revolution: Unsung Patriot Heroes and the Ten Crucial Days of America’s War for Independence ($12, Knox Press) before the 55th annual Edward Hand March on January 7, 2017. The 10 a.m. talk about Hand, the Irish-born officer, will take place in the Lawrence Municipal Building. The Col. Hand March is open to the public.

A historical interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania, Mr. Hand has had three speaking engagements in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since November and to date has five more presentations scheduled in 2017. The 154-page book has already been reprinted prior to its official release.  more

“Parent to Parent: Family Training on ADHD,” an interactive program for parents and loved ones of children, adolescents, and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), will be held Sundays, January 15, 22, 29, and February 5, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at All Saints’ Church, 16 All Saints’ Road.

The program includes five two-hour interactive sessions including an overview of ADHD from assessment to treatment, the impact on the family, and creating developmentally appropriate positive behavior interventions, developing parenting strategies and interventions that strengthen family relationships, what to do when a child is having difficulty at school, understanding the federal laws, and more. more

Medicine is my lawful wife and writing is my mistress. — Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

In Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Chekhovian police procedural, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, the daughter of a village mayor is serving tea to some detectives, a prosecutor, a doctor inspired by Chekhov, and an accused killer who has been leading them on a haphazard search for the body of the man he murdered. Heavy winds having knocked out the power, the room is dark, and the men are in awe of the beauty of the girl’s face cameoed in the light of the candle on the tray she’s carrying as she moves among them. Someone remarks on the sudden apparition of “such an angel.” Gazing up at her when she bends to serve him his glass of tea, the killer begins to weep.

Given Ceylan’s frequent references to the influence of Chekhov’s fiction on his work, the hushed wonder of the girl’s entrance may owe something to his story, “The Beauties,” which is told by a man looking into the cinema of his memory to a moment in his late teens. A 16-year-old girl at some miserable outpost swarming with flies in the middle of nowhere is serving tea. She has her back to the narrator at first, all he can see is that she’s slender, barefoot, in a simple white cotton dress and kerchief. When she turns around to hand him his tea, he feels “all at once as though a wind were blowing away all the impressions of the day, all the dust and dreariness.”  more

JEWELS SOLD WISELY: This Cartier diamond, platinum, and onyx pinecone brooch was sold at Rago Auctions for $514,000. Starting on January 10, all are welcome to schedule an appointment or drop in at Morven Museum and Garden between 1–3 p.m. to have their jewelry valuated by an appraiser from the leading U.S. auction house. Should you choose to sell, Rago will donate a percentage of its commission to Morven. 

Starting on January 10, Morven Museum and Garden will host free jewelry valuations by Katherine Van Dell, director of the jewelry department at Rago Auctions and a guest appraiser on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow. The program continues on February 14 and every second Tuesday of the month thereafter from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Should you choose to sell, Rago will donate a percentage of its commission to Morven.

“Unused heirlooms are a source of financing for vacations, tuition, or more jewelry,” says Katherine Van Dell, “Why not find out what the jewelry you’ll never wear is truly worth?”

“Morven is pleased to partner with our friends at Rago for this special program,” says Barbara Webb, Director of Development at Morven Museum and Garden, “Katherine and her team are uniquely qualified to assist you in understanding more about your jewelry and other family treasures.”

Katherine and her colleagues look forward to meeting clients in Princeton monthly. Call to schedule an appointment from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. or, if you prefer, drop by between 1–3 p.m. when no appointment is necessary.

For more information, or to schedule your appointment, contact Robin Harris at (609) 397-9374, ext. 119 or email robin@ragoarts.com. Should you wish to have one of Rago’s specialists come to Princeton to evaluate personal property other than jewelry (fine or decorative art, coins, silver, etc.), Rago can arrange that for you, as well, at Morven or in your home.

Rago is a leading U.S. auction house with $33 million in sales in 2015. It serves thousands of sellers and buyers yearly with global reach, personal service, and competitive commissions for single pieces, collections, and estates. Rago’s expertise encompasses 20th/21st century design; fine art; American, European, English, and Asian decorative arts and furnishings; fine jewelry, and coins/currency. An internationally known venue through which to buy and sell, it offers free valuations for personal property (from a single piece to collections), as well as USPAP compliant estate and appraisal services. Rago is located midway between Philadelphia and New York with satellite offices in Westchester/Connecticut.

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“WASHINGTON CROSSING BRIDGE IN THE WINTER”: This acrylic painting by Marcel Juillerat is currently on view at the Monmouth Museum. Gallery 13 North, in Lambertville, is representing Juillerat in their January exhibit, “Winter Light.”

Swiss-born Marcel Juillerat joins a roster of artists represented by Gallery 13 North in Lambertville. During his 40 years as a painter, Juillerat has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the region. This solo exhibition, called “Winter Light,” will be a collection centered around winter landscapes of New Jersey, specifically Jacobs Creek, Washington Crossing, as well as Baldpate Mountain area. more

Photo by Mitsu Yasukawa

As it pursues its mission to support playwrights, new plays, and the future of the American theater, McCarter Theatre Center’s LAB program will be putting to work a $35,000 grant, announced last month, from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The future of the American theater rests with the American playwright,” McCarter artistic director and resident playwright Emily Mann stated. “We take it as a core mission of this theater to develop and support new works and the playwrights who create them.”

LAB offers readings, workshops, a 10-day artists’ retreat in the spring, commissions and the annual LAB Spotlight Production. It also provides McCarter audiences with a window into the creative process. New works developed in the McCarter LAB have included pieces by Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike), Danai Gurira (Eclipsed), Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics), Regina Taylor (Crowns), Tarrell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays) and more.

Noura, a new play by Iraqi-American playwright and performer Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire), will be featured at the end of this month as a LAB Spotlight Production. Created after years of work in Arab American communities in New York City, where Ms. Raffo discussed A Doll’s House with Middle Eastern women, Noura is “a timely re-imagining” of Ibsen’s play “through the lens of an Iraqi refugee family” and “a passionate exploration of contemporary feminism that reflects the dilemma facing modern America: do we live for each other or for ourselves?” more

The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank will host an epic Elvis Presley Birthday Bash starring expert impersonators, musicians Scot Bruce and Mike Albert on Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. Both are known for their uncanny resemblance to the young “King” and have earned endorsements by Elvis’s former back-up singers. Special requests will be taken by the audience. Ticket prices range from $20-$40. To purchase, visit www.countbasietheatre.org.

CONTEMPORARY PIANO MINIATURES: Westminster Conservatory’s faculty recital series continues with a performance  by pianist Marvin Rosen of works by contemporary women composers on Sunday, January 8 at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.  Admission is free.

Westminster Conservatory’s faculty recital series continues with a performance by pianist Marvin Rosen on Sunday, January 8 at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.  Admission is free. more

Cirque Éloize Saloon visits the State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. Through gravity-defying acrobatic prowess, inventive choreography, and live music (including renditions of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and “Crazy” by Patsy Cline), Montreal’s Cirque Éloize brings the rollicking world of Saloon to the stage, inspired by stories of America’s Wild West. To purchase tickets, visit www.statetheatrenj.org or call (732) 246-7469. State Theatre of NJ is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.

The life of the mind is celebrated at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS). Located at 19 Lambert Drive (off Rosedale Road), the independent international boarding and day school opened in 2013, and offers a unique study and research program to a multi-cultural student body.

Executive Principal Matthew Pearce has been with PRISMS since 2014, and involved in STEM education for more than 20 years. Starting his career in London, he taught physics for students in an upper school in grades six through 12, also serving as head of physics. Coming to the U.S. in 2004, he worked for 10 years at the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), which was named the number one high school in America by U.S. News & World Report.  more

December 28, 2016

The first issue of Town Topics appeared in March 1946. In the early years, founders Dan Coyle (left) and Don Stuart wrote all the copy and sold all the ads for their timetable-sized publication.

AS IT HAPPENS: This is how the site of Princeton University’s Arts & Transit complex looked last January. Much progress has been made on the buildings designed by architect Steven Holl, and the project is still scheduled to be completed in 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The rapid pace of teardowns and the often out-of-scale houses that replace them was an issue that dominated discussions in Princeton throughout 2016. The town’s changing character was the theme in the platforms of nearly every candidate who ran for local office in 2016. Midway through the year, moved to take action by the presence of bulldozers all over town, Princeton Council formed a Neighborhood Character and Zoning Initiative. more

Kelsey Review, Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) literary journal that went to a fully online quarterly format this fall has just posted its Winter 2016 issue. The latest issue features art, poetry, and prose from contributors who live or work in Mercer County. more

GOLD STANDARD: Star goalie Ashleigh Johnson makes a save for the U.S. national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Rising Princeton University senior Johnson helped the U.S. go on an undefeated run to the gold medal at the Rio Games. (Photo Courtesy of U.S.A. Water Polo)

Across the sporting landscape, 2016 was a year of turbulence and unpredictability featuring such startling developments as the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, the Cleveland Cavaliers rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals and earn that city’s first major pro title since 1964, and Villanova capping an unlikely run to the NCAA men’s basketball title with a buzzer beater for the ages. Of course, on the political scene, Donald Trump’s stunning win in the U.S. presidential election was the shocker of shockers. more

I should like to be a free artist and nothing more …. — Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Time for a premature New Year’s Eve toast by way of Chekhov’s “Champagne,” a story from the 1880s narrated by a “young, strong, hot-headed, giddy, and foolish” man in charge of a small railway station in the vast desolate remoteness of the steppe. His only diversions are getting wasted on vodka and watching the windows of the passenger trains for a glimpse of a pretty woman, for which he “would stand like a statue without breathing and stare … until the train turned into an almost invisible speck.” He and his wife are getting ready to see in the New Year. The fact that she adores him only magnifies his boredom. He has two bottles of champagne, “the real thing,” Veuve Clicquot, and as the hands of the clock point to five minutes to twelve he begins uncorking a bottle, which slips from his grasp and hits the floor, but he manages to grab it, fills two glasses, and delivers a toast, “May the New Year bring you happiness,” oh-oh, his wife’s upset, a dropped bottle is unlucky, “a bad omen,” she says. “It means some misfortune will happen to us this year.” more

Mauricio Gutierrez, president and CEO of NRG, is the speaker at the January 5 Monthly Membership Luncheon of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event will take place at the Princeton Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 100 College Road East, in Plainsboro, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. more

“CALIFORNIA DREAMING”: This oil on canvas by Jeaninne Honstein will be on display at Stuart Country Day School’s Considine Gallery for their winter gallery exhibition, “Of Shape and Space.” Honstein, who is a Princeton painter and sculpture, will be exhibiting alongside award-winning architect, artist, and author, Lauri Matisse. The show will run from January 29 to February 21.

Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart announces the winter gallery exhibition in Stuart’s Considine Gallery will include the works of artists Jeaninne Honstein and Lauri Matisse. “Of Shape and Space,” a new exhibit at the Considine Gallery in Princeton, explores the spatial relationship between human figures on the canvas and the sculpted forms of painted vessels and urns. The human figures suggest living vessels while the artistic rendering of colorful urns creates warmth and liveliness.  more

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