September 20, 2023

Reenactors demonstrate a firing line at Young Patriots Day at Princeton Battlefield State Park on Sunday afternoon. The family event, hosted by the Princeton Battlefield Society, also featured tours of the Thomas Clarke House, activities, and historical guests including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Attendees share their favorite parts of the day in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

New COVID-19 vaccines are now available for everyone ages 6 months and older, and they are strongly recommended by the federal Center for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC), by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), and by local health authorities.

The new vaccine — a new formulation, not technically a booster —“will provide the most up-to-date protection against the virus and its variants as we move into the fall and winter holiday seasons,” according to a September 12 press release from the NJDOH.

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are currently making appointments for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations through the CDC’s vaccine website at The NJDOH states that vaccines will also be available from sites like primary care providers, other chain pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other health care institutions.

“With rising cases, COVID-19 continues to remain a significant public health priority,” said Acting Health Commissioner Kaitlan Baston. “The department will continue to work with providers across the state to make sure everyone who wants the added protection of the updated COVID-19 shot can easily access it, especially the state’s vulnerable populations and those who are under- or uninsured.”

Princeton Health Officer and Deputy Administrator for Health and Human Services Jeffrey Grosser noted that this new vaccine targets the variant called XBB.1.5 and will be the only COVID vaccine available this fall. He added that hospital admissions for COVID-19 and flu remain low at this point in Mercer County.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Catholic Charities will be the new behavioral health provider for the town of Princeton, starting in January 2024, in a move designed to improve and expand mental health and addiction services as well as save taxpayer dollars.

In a September 15 press release, the Municipality of Princeton announced that its decision, requiring the reorganization of some services previously shared with Corner House Behavioral Health, “was made through a careful evaluation of the paradigm shift in behavioral health treatment toward the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) standard; while also considering other factors, such as the expressed need from the public for expanded mental health services within the Municipality.”

The announcement notes that Catholic Charities, by directly connecting patients to the CCBHC network, can deliver “the same quality of care for a wider range of services to more Princeton residents than Corner House Behavioral Health.” Activities of the CCBHC network are mostly funded by federal and state grants and deliver low-to-no-cost services, with “a more comprehensive and coordinated spectrum of care, beyond substance use and mental health.”

In an August 2 letter in the Town Topics Mailbox, Princeton Councilman and Corner House Liaison Leighton Newlin commented on Corner House, stating, “Recent changes within the organization’s hierarchy have prompted the Municipality of Princeton to reevaluate the Corner House business model considering today’s highly populated and competitive mental health/substance abuse markets as well as current community needs.” Corner House’s executive director resigned early this year and has not been replaced. more

By Anne Levin

It took several attempts over nearly six decades, but Princeton Township and Princeton Borough were finally consolidated into the municipality of Princeton on January 1, 2013.

The 10th anniversary of this milestone is being celebrated on Thursday, September 28 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with a public party at the municipal complex. Everyone is invited to hear remarks from State Sen. Andrew Zwicker, Mayor Mark Freda, and Princeton Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros, followed by live music and refreshments.

Many of the people who worked to make consolidation a reality will be on hand. Prominent among them is Liz Lempert, who was the first mayor of the newly consolidated municipality, and served in the post until 2021.

“Every step along the way was effortful and it required an enormous amount of work from elected officials, municipal staff, and citizen volunteers,” she said in an email this week. “Chad Goerner [former Princeton Township mayor] in particular deserves a huge amount of credit for moving the initiative forward in a thoughtful, open, and methodical way.” more

THE PIANO IS THE STAR: Cristina Altamura will inaugurate the Altamura Legacy Concerts, featuring the Steinway piano now installed at Princeton United Methodist Church, on September 24. (Photo by Maria Grazia Facciolá)

By Anne Levin

When concert pianist Cristina Altamura inherited a 1924 Steinway “B Grand” piano from her mentor, pianist Jody Wise, she knew that the beautifully crafted instrument was too special to keep to herself. Three years and a major restoration later, the piano is the centerpiece of a new concert series debuting Sunday, September 24 in the Sanford Davis Room of Princeton United Methodist Church (PUMC).

The Altamura Legacy Concerts will launch with a performance at 4 p.m. featuring Altamura, tenor Fanyong Du, soprano Katie Lerner Lee, and pianist Binna Han in a program marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Performances in different musical genres, most of which are focused on the historic piano, continue on four more Sundays through April 7, 2024.

“I had already been teaching in a space at the church, and was having recitals in the sanctuary,” said Altamura, who lives in Princeton with her husband, So Percussion’s Adam Sliwinski, and son Guillermo. “The piano they had was an old Yamaha. I saw that they had this beautiful living room area, with Tiffany stained glass windows. And I had this beautiful instrument that I didn’t want to just keep in my house. It all started to make sense.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Sustainability is in the spotlight in Princeton this weekend, with Sustainable Princeton’s Clean Commuting Festival and eCommuter Fest at the Princeton Shopping Center on Friday, September 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. and a Community Sustainability Celebration on Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) at 100 Stellarator Road.

The Sustainable Princeton electric vehicle (EV) ride and drive event promises live music, test drives of the latest eBikes and EVs, games, and “a community EV owner showcase”; while visitors to the PPPL on Saturday will encounter an assortment of local environment-focused organizations, find out how PPPL is forging the path to fusion energy, “the ultimate source of clean energy,” and learn what they can do here and now in their own backyards.

‘Our focus going forward is to make the ‘e’ in eCommuter Fest stand for more than just ‘electric,’” said Sustainable Princeton Executive Director Christine Symington as quoted in a Sustainable Princeton press release. “We’re expanding eCommuter Fest to showcase more ways of getting around that are sustainable, affordable, and accessible to everyone.”  more

By Anne Levin

The recent listing for sale of Jasna Polana, the 18-hole, 225-acre golf club on Route 206 and Province Line Road, has prompted some speculation that the municipality might be eyeing the property as a site for redevelopment.

Not so, according to a statement last week made by Mayor Mark Freda and Princeton Council President Mia Sacks.

“We are aware that the Jasna Polana golf course property is currently being marketed for sale, and that initial advertisements for a potential sale suggest the possibility of a ‘comprehensive redevelopment of the site consistent with Princeton’s Master Plan update.’ On behalf of the governing body, we wish to make explicitly clear that there are no current plans to investigate or consider designating the Jasna Polana golf course property as an area in need of redevelopment. Although the Master Plan update process is still ongoing, there have been no indications thus far that this property will be recommended as such.”

It continues, “Any implication in the marketing materials for Jasna Polana that a more dense project, or expansion of uses beyond what is allowed under the current zoning will be permitted, is unwarranted. No amendments to the current zoning ordinance for this site are contemplated by Princeton Council at this time.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Music is only understood when one goes away singing it and only loved when one falls asleep with it in one’s head, and finds it still there on waking up the next morning.

—Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

You know how it is at dusk when the day has ended but it hasn’t? The ambiance of that time of day was all through everything we played.

—Richard Davis (1930-2023) on recording Astral Weeks

I’m driving Mr. Schoenberg around Princeton on his 149th birthday, it’s a fine September day, everything’s clear and bright, and we’re listening to Pierre lunaire, the atonal 21-song “melodrama” Mr. S. composed in 1912 and conducted in Berlin that October.

“Poor brave Albertine,” Mr. S. says, referring to the soprano Albertine Zehme, the vocalist/narrator at the Berlin premiere. “The real melodrama was in the audience. She had to contend with whistling, booing, laughter, and unaussprechlich insults, but the loudest voice in that crowd was the one shouting ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!’ Meaning me.”

To those who say there’s no way I could be conversing with an Austrian-American composer who died on Friday the 13th, July 1951, I’ll quote my passenger, who in 1909 announced his “complete liberation from form and symbols, cohesion and logic” because it’s “impossible to feel only one emotion. Man has many feelings, thousands at a time, each going its own way — this multicoloured, polymorphic, illogical nature of our feelings, and their associations, a rush of blood, reactions in our senses, in our nerves” is all “in my music… an expression of feeling, full of unconscious connections.” more

BRINGING SPANISH RHYTHM TO BALLET: Nayara Lopes and Arian Molina Soca of Philadelphia Ballet appear in “Carmen,” with choreography by Angel Corella. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

The 2023-2024 season of Philadelphia Ballet, formerly known as Pennsylvania Ballet, marks two major milestones: the 60th anniversary of the company’s founding, and the 10th anniversary of Angel Corella’s appointment as artistic director.

The season opens at the Academy of Music October 5 with the world premiere of Corella’s Carmen. Corella is building his version from scratch — creating an outline for the story, planning the sets — even buying and designing costumes. He spent a week in Spain purchasing castanets, head pieces, and flamenco pants. more

MUSIC AND MORE: The Justin Lee Jazz Trio is among the performers at D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Harvest Moon Ball, a benefit for the historic Point Breeze Estate in Bordentown.

D&R Greenway Land Trust’s first-ever Harvest Moon Ball, featuring musicians and theater performers, will be held at the Discovery Center at Point Breeze on the evening of September 30, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 101 Park Street, Bordentown. The ticket price of $60 supports the historic and ecologically important property and can be purchased at, or by calling (609) 924-4646. 

In the tradition of Joseph Bonaparte, the exiled King of Spain who entertained prominent scientists, artists, and leaders at Point Breeze in the 1820s and 1830s, guests are invited to dress as someone who once visited Point Breeze or to come as they are to see who’s who. Prominent people who visited in the 19th century included the Marquis de Lafyette, Dolley Madison, John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John James Audubon, Louis Mailliard, and Joseph Bonaparte’s daughter Zenaide, for whom a dove was named.  more

Bob Jenkins

Bob Jenkins: In His Own Words, a short film about the life of the Princeton resident and sculptor who taught children for many years at the Arts Council of Princeton, will be shown on Tuesday, September 26, at 6:30 p.m., in the Community Room of Princeton Public Library.

The screening will be followed by a reception attended by Jenkins, who is 92, and filmmaker and Princeton resident Krysia Kolodziej. During the reception, there will be a Q&A session where Jenkins will talk about his life and Kolodziej will discuss the making of the film. There will also be a scavenger hunt where children will look for the library’s “Cheetah” sculpture created by Jenkins. Light refreshments will be served.

Jenkins arrived in Princeton from New York City in 1991. He began teaching clay and paper mache sculpture to children at the Arts Council of Princeton in 1993.

This event is co-presented with the Arts Council of Princeton. Visit for more information.

“THE PREDICTIVE SELF”: This work by Andrew Werth of West Windsor is part of “Patterns and Rhythms,” a group exhibition on view September 28 through November 25 at the Trenton Free Public Library. An opening reception is on September 28 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) and the Trenton Free Public Library will present the exhibition “Patterns and Rhythms” at the Trenton Free Public Library from September 28 through November 25. This a continuation of the art series that showcases the talent of area artists, which is slated to continue as an ongoing series. An opening reception is set for Thursday, September 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The exhibition features work by Andrew Werth, Léni Paquet-Morante, Florence Noonan, and Adriana Groza.  more

“GARDEN STATE”: Artist Anandi Ramanathan, whose work is shown here, will be the featured speaker for the “Inside the Artist’s Studio” series at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center on Friday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m.

On Friday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m., artist Anandi Ramanathan will be the featured speaker for the “Inside the Artist’s Studio” series at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center. Ramanathan, a member of the Princeton Makes artist cooperative, is a watercolor/acrylic artist who specializes in painting florals and illustrations.

Ramanathan is known for her unique greeting cards, floral-themed home décor, and other art products sold in multiple stores, reflecting her signature style. Also a passionate teacher, she will share insights about her artistic practice and creative process during her presentation.  more

“CARVERSVILLE SETTLE”: This painting by James Feehan is featured at HoBART 2023, “Art in the Native Landscape,” on view September 23, 24, 30 and October 1 at Steinbeiser’s Farm in Frenchtown.

HoBART 2023, “Art in the Native Landscape,” will take place on September 23, 24, 30, and October 1at Steinbeiser’s Farm, 718 County Road 519, Frenchtown, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. more

“ROBESON BEFRIENDS EINSTEIN”: One of the panels from “Albert Einstein: Champion of Racial Justice and Equality,” on view at the West Windsor Library through September 28. The exhibit will go on the road through mid-2024.

Following its launch at the Princeton Public Library this summer, “Albert Einstein: Champion of Racial Justice and Equality” is going on the road through mid-2024.

The exhibit is a joint project between the nascent Princeton Einstein Museum of Science (PEMS) and the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society (WJHCS) and details Albert Einstein’s relationships with local African American residents and many of the most prominent Black leaders of the mid-20th century.  more

“THE PHILLIPS’ MILL PARTY CAT”: Pamela Miller created the Signature Image for the “94th Juried Art Show,” on view September 23 through October 29 at the historic Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa.

Autumn officially arrives in Bucks County, Pa., with the “94th Juried Art Show” at Phillips’ Mill, opening September 23 and running through October 29. The art show continues the traditions of its founders with an array of fine art created by over 350 regional artists and showcased at the historic Mill.

Nestled along River Road, in New Hope, Pa., the gallery at Phillips’ Mill will be open daily from 1 to 5 p.m. The show will also be available for viewing and purchases online 24/7. Artists Syd Carpenter, Al Gury, Jill Rupinski, Lauren Sandler, and TK Smith lent their expertise to jury the more than 600 framed, sculpture, and unframed portfolio submissions received this year.  more

FINANCIAL FOCUS: “We work with clients to help them make sound financial decisions. We are advocates for them, and we have long-term relationships. Underlying everything is our desire to help people meet their financial goals.” Shown, from left, are financial advisors Michael G. Petrone, CFP, JD; Thomas M. Petrone, CLU; and Andrew Petrone of Petrone Associates Financial Advisors, the longtime family business founded by President Thomas M. Petrone.

By Jean Stratton

For 53 years, Petrone Associates Financial Advisors has been helping clients navigate their finances and guiding them to a successful outcome and future.

Such important work has become even more necessary today as people are dealing with challenges on many levels. Recovering from the aftermath of a worldwide pandemic, coping with inflation, uncertainty over taxes, worries over technology, and climate change are all foremost.

On a more personal level, it can include anxiety over the next paycheck, protecting income, funding college costs, long-term health care planning, or anticipating retirement needs.

Whatever one’s financial status, these are all concerns that require careful attention. more

TOUGHING IT OUT: Princeton University running back John Volker battles for some extra yardage in a 2022 game. Last Saturday, senior Volker rushed for a game-high 91 yards and a touchdown as Princeton defeated the University of San Diego 23-12 in its season opener. The Tigers are hosting Bryant (1-2) on September 23 in their home opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

By some metrics, it would appear that the Princeton University football team endured a long afternoon when it opened its 2023 season by playing at the University of San Diego last Saturday afternoon.

“If I check with the analytics people, we lost the turnover battle 2-0, we lost the penalty battle, I think we had 40 more yards in penalties, and we didn’t finish drives,” said Princeton head coach Bob Surace. “All of those are things the analytics people say you have got to focus on. They would have said we lost the game by 20 points.”

But playing with intensity and executing when it counted, Princeton was able to grind out a 23-12 win over the Toreros before  a crowd of 1,191 at Torero Stadium.

“I was just saying to Mike Willis (Tiger offensive coordinator), ‘If you watch the film, most of the plays were really good,’” said Surace. “That is very encouraging. You watch it play to play and there are so many good things that you would have thought you have won by 20 points.”

Heading to California last week, the Tigers were chomping at the bit to get started after going through an arduous fall camp. more

MAC ATTACK: Princeton University women’s soccer player Heather MacNab gets ready to toss the ball into play in recent action. Last Sunday, junior forward MacNab tallied a goal and an assist to help Princeton defeat Quinnipiac 4-2. The Tigers, now 5-1-1, host Cornell on September 23 in their Ivy League opener before playing at Lafayette on September 26. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Heather MacNab did not want to rest on the high of the biggest win of the season for the Princeton University women’s soccer team.

With Princeton coming off a 3-2 win over No. 10 Georgetown last Thursday evening, junior forward MacNab scored her first goal of the season and added an assist to help the Tigers post a 4-2 win over Quinnipiac last Sunday.

McNab was one of four different goal scorers for Princeton, who improved to 5-1-1 heading into the Ivy League portion of the schedule which starts when Princeton hosts Cornell on September 23.

“We have a lot of momentum going forward,” said MacNab. “We do have a big chip on our shoulder. I think we had a lot to give last season that we didn’t fully give so I think we have a lot to prove to ourselves just in terms of being able to compete in such a competitive league. We know we’re really good and able to compete with the best in the nation so it’s very important that we remain locked in and ready to fight and compete and dominate the Ivy League.” more

FLASH POINT: Princeton High quarterback Travis Petrone fires a pass last Saturday as PHS hosted Florence High. Junior Petrone passed for 143 yards and two touchdowns and had a 29-yard TD run in a losing cause as PHS fell 28-23 to the Flashes. The Tigers, now 2-2, play at Bishop Eustace on September 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High football team trying to rally against undefeated Florence in the fourth quarter last Saturday, Travis Petrone threw an interception and it looked like the Tigers were going to go away quietly as they trailed 28-16.

Instead, forcing a punt, PHS got the ball with 2:39 left in regulation and went on a march.

“It was just play fast, play hard,” said junior quarterback Petrone. “Coach (Charlie Gallagher) kept saying, ‘get out of the huddle, run to the ball, play fast, play fast, play fast,’ and that is what we did.”

Petrone capped the 56-yard drive with a dazzling jaunt down the sideline for a TD as the Tigers narrowed the gap to 28-23 with 1:39 remaining in regulation.

“I didn’t know I had that in me,” said Petrone, reflecting on his 29-yard touchdown run. “I see a big opening — I was thinking about getting out of bounds, but then I saw one of our wide receivers, Ben Walden, make a huge block. I thought OK, I have got to try to get in. I made a move on one or two guys and got into the end zone.” more

HOWE ABOUT THAT: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Holly Howes is all smiles after scoring the lone goal for PHS in a 1-0 win over Hightstown last Thursday. The Tigers, who lost 2-1 to Haddonfield last Saturday to move to 3-2, host Lawrence High on September 21 before playing at Princeton Day School on September 23 and at Notre Dame on September 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Holly Howes made a number of runs to goal early on for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team as it hosted Hightstown last Thursday, but to no avail as the foes were knotted in a scoreless stalemate.

Despite misfiring wide and having one point blank shot saved by the Rams goalie, Howes was undeterred.

“You could definitely see that the momentum was in our direction,” said senior forward and co-captain Howes. “When you have a miss that you probably think you should have scored. The best thing you can do is forget about it and move on to the next play.”

With 23:39 left in the first half, Howes didn’t miss as she slotted the ball into the back of the net to give PHS a 1-0 lead. more

LILY OF THE FIELD: Princeton Day School field hockey player Lily Ryan controls the ball in a game earlier season. Last Friday, senior star Ryan scored two goals to help PDS defeat Stuart County Day School 5-0. The Panthers, who topped Robbinsville 5-2 last Monday to improve to 3-0-1, play at Hamilton West on September 20 before hosting Allentown on September 22 and Steinert on September 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lily Ryan is determined to go out with a bang this fall in her final season with the Princeton Day School field hockey team.

“It is a sense of urgency,” said senior forward/midfielder Ryan. “It is senior year and you want to make it the best that you can. Everyone on the team is friends, which makes the energy for every game much better.”

Displaying that urgency last Friday against visiting Stuart Country Day, Ryan tallied two goals to help the Panthers pull away to a 5-0 victory.

After jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the contest on a goal by Tessa Caputo, PDS did hit a lull as it controlled possession but didn’t push across another goal for more than 28 minutes. more

RISING SPEKTOR: Hun School girls’ soccer player Olivia Spektor goes after the ball in a 2021 game. Senior Spektor figures to be a key offensive threat for Hun this fall. The Raiders, who are being guided by new head coach Krista Sahrbeck, fell 6-1 to Seneca last Thursday to move to 0-3. Hun plays at Westfield High on September 21 before hosting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on September 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Krista Sahrbeck has a lot on her plate as the dean of students at the Hun School.

Despite a hectic schedule packed with meetings, phone calls, and administrative work, Sahrbeck has carved out several hours a day to follow her sporting passion, taking the helm as the head coach of the Hun girls’ soccer team.

For Sahrbeck, balancing all of her responsibilities has proven to be a challenge. more

BE STRONG: Hun School field hockey player Phoebe Thielmann, right, dribbles the ball in recent action. Last Monday, junior midfielder Thielmann scored two goals to help Hun defeat the Academy of New Church 5-0. The Raiders, now 2-1, will host Pennington on September 20 and then compete in the 2023 Max Field Hockey National High School Invitational in Conshohocken, Pa., from September 22-23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tracey Arndt wants her Hun School field hockey team to adopt a run-and-gun approach to the game this fall.

“I keep talking to them, saying that field hockey has to have a mindset more like basketball than any other sport, meaning that if the other team scores that doesn’t matter,” said Arndt, who guided the Raiders to a 9-8 record in 2022. “I have my perfectionists. It is who scores more at the end and just keep that idea. It is working through playing the whole 60 minutes and not worrying about the score until the whistle blows.”

Arndt believes that she will get some scoring punch from her forward line which features senior Alexa Cavalli, sophomore Addi McNally, and freshman Piper Morey. more

FULL SPEED AHEAD: A player races to the end zone in action last fall in the Princeton Junior Football League (PJFL). The popular flag football league, which is in its 11th year, will be kicking off its 2023 campaign this Sunday at the Princeton High turf field. (Photo provided courtesy of PJFL)

By Bill Alden

For the Navy Seals, the term “Full Benefit” stands for a philosophy that implores one to get the most out of any situation, good or bad.

That Full Benefit mindset is being employed by the Princeton Junior Football League (PJFL) as it kicks off its 2023 campaign this Sunday at the Princeton High turf field.

“We really wanted that theme this year because we are getting the full benefit with more kids and more divisions,” said PJFL president Matt Bellace, noting that the Princeton police will be co-sponsoring opening day with plans to provide refreshments and stage an exhibition game.

“You know what, whether you are having a great game or the worst game of your life, this is how you get full benefit. It became a motivational theme. We made T-shirts that we gave out to the kids with PJFL on the front and Full Benefit on the back.” more

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