March 27, 2024

To the Editor:

As longtime residents of Princeton (we moved here 20 years ago), we are writing to indicate our profound concern over the proposed 16,000-square-foot, four-story addition to 344 Nassau Street, on the NE corner of Harrison Street. The developer’s application proposes 15 residential units, of which three would be affordable. The proposal also includes 15 parking spaces, six for commercial use, in an area where the adjacent streets have no on-street parking. Further, the proposal reduces commercial space in the existing building.  more

To the Editor:

Shame on Princeton University. For more than 50 years, Nassau Swim Club has provided Princeton-area residents, Institute for Advanced Study faculty and staff and the University community with a diverse, peaceful, sylvan escape from the heat and hustle and bustle of a New Jersey summer. Nassau, too, provides local kids, exercise, activity, and community engagement unparalleled in today’s screen-centric culture.

In October the University informed the Nassau Swim Club Board of Directors that Princeton would terminate the club’s lease in April 2024. The University, which owns the land on which the pool sits cited the pool’s failure to pay taxes owed as the reason for the closure. more

To the Editor:

On behalf of the entire 101: Fund Executive Board, we extend our most heartfelt gratitude to Princeton University and the incredibly generous contribution of $500,000 to the 101: Fund over the next five years. This transformative gift will make a profound difference in the lives of countless Princeton High School graduates and families in the community. Such meaningful support will enable us to provide essential tuition assistance for college. more

To the Editor:

Last week, one month after you published the devastating news “Nassau Swim Club Lease Terminated,” I was again dismayed to hear from those fighting to save this community pool that Princeton University had again refused to grant them the three-year extension for which they have pleaded for months, to give them a more reasonable amount of time in which to organize “members who expressed willingness to support the club with a range of volunteer tasks as well as financial contributions; plans for a capital fundraising campaign among current members and NSC alumni; optimistic plans for a strengthened 2024 budget; extensive plans for increasing membership in the University and IAS communities and in the larger Princeton area; and innovative programs for children” [February 21, page 1]. more

To the Editor:

Last week Princeton University told the Nassau Swim Club (NSC) that its lease for the property where the pool is located would not be reconsidered, and would be terminated, in April. Nassau Swim Club is a valuable, much-loved, and important asset for the Princeton community.

Earlier this month Nassau Swim Club’s Board of Directors presented a well-considered five-year business plan to Princeton University administrators to address the NSC’s financial challenges. The board laid out its plan to re-establish its commercial viability, including facility repairs, revenue growth, and fundraising, while maintaining its very successful swim and dive teams, swim lessons, and daily aquatic programs. more

To the Editor:

Princeton has a unique sense of place, and amidst the current wave of new housing and commercial development, let’s ensure that new buildings in historic districts meet the goal in the 2014 Historic Preservation Ordinance to “preserve, enhance, and safeguard the heritage of Princeton by preserving the resources in the community that reflect elements of its historic significance.”

The HP Ordinance specifies maintaining and developing “harmonious settings within historic sites and historic preservation districts,” and managing change in them by “encouraging sensitive alteration and/or new construction.” An addition to a historic structure must be “visually compatible with the structures and places within the district to which it is visually related, and act as a backdrop to and not visually intrude upon such structures and places.” Height, size, mass, roof shape, windows, etc., “shall be visually compatible with structures and places within the district to which they are visually related.” more

March 20, 2024

To the Editor:

“People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos is close to my heart … they bring the kind of validation and support for language and my place in the world I wished I had had growing up.” – Denice Frohman

These words were one of many highlights of a warm, entertaining, and moving afternoon supporting People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos. “Notable Words/Palabras Notables: An Afternoon of Readings and Conversation with Melissa Coss Aquino Denice Frohman, and Luis Mora-Ballesteros, moderated by Nora Muniz” was held on March 17 in the Mackay Lounge on the campus of the Princeton Theological Seminary.

We are so grateful to our community of ticket buyers, and individual and corporate sponsors. Thank you also to the Hispanic Theological Initiative at Princeton Theological Seminary for their support and to PTS for providing such a wonderful venue.

Charlotte Friedman
Andrea Honore
Board Co-Chairs, People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos
Eggerts Crossing Road

To the Editor:

As I read Clifford Zink’s recently published history on the Jugtown Historic District that Anne Levin highlighted in last week’s edition [“Booklet Considers the History of Jugtown as Development Pressures are Looming,” March 13, page 1], I was struck with the fact that although nearly 300 years have passed since its original settlement dating to 1730, the area still retains much of its historic character. Heading south on Route 27, the King’s Highway, towards Princeton, there is a distinction in the surroundings that one observes as you approach the area that constitutes this 18th century crossroads village. Quaint Colonial structures convey a sense of history from days gone past. It’s unmistakable — something seems irreplaceable about this part of town. more

To the Editor:

Thanks to Mimi Omiecinski’s community-building efforts, Pi Day, with its Einstein Look-Alike Contest and family fun, has become an annual frolic. A less visible benefit is the partnership that Pi Day fosters between iconic institutions that enables food systems literacy programs for students at Princeton Public Schools.

Each year, proprietors Jen Carson of LiLLiPiES bakery and Gab Carbone (and co-founder and business partner Matt Errico) of the bent spoon ice cream parlor create a Pi Day Sundae sold around 3.14. This year, they created cherry LiLLiPiES with choice of ice cream at the bent spoon, and brownie LiLLiPiES with mascarpone ice cream at LiLLiPiES.  more

To the Editor:
The Princeton High School Cross Country-Track & Field Boosters would like to thank many in the community for supporting the Princeton 5K that was held on Saturday, March 16. We had a record turnout with 487 people, ages 6 to 77, crossing the finish line of the 5K, and another 50 young athletes in the 300-meter kids dash. We thank everyone who came out to run, walk, and cheer.

We are extremely fortunate to have an amazing group of sponsors this year. Princeton Tree Care returned as a gold sponsor for the third year in a row. Perennial sponsors jaZams, Princeton Orthopaedics Associates, and Queenston Realty joined them at the gold level this year. First-time sponsors Lawrenceville Foot Care and Tacoria also contributed at the gold level. Fleet Feet Princeton Running Company returned as a silver sponsor, donated awards for top finishers, and held our packet pick-up event. The Princeton 5K is the largest annual fundraiser for the PHSCCTF Booster club, a 501(c)(3). All donations directly support the Princeton High School Boys and Girls Cross-Country and Track & Field teams. Please check out all our sponsors at Princeton5K.com. more

March 13, 2024

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Princeton Housing Authority (PHA) Board of Commissioners, staff, and the tenants affected by the recent fire incident at Redding Circle Family, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to all of the people and agencies who responded and lent their invaluable support during this challenging time.

The prompt response and exceptional service provided by Princeton Fire Department, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (Mercer County Station 66), Plainsboro Fire Department, Hamilton Fire Department, Kingston Fire Department, and West Windsor Emergency Services were instrumental in extinguishing the fire swiftly and limiting further damage. I deeply appreciate the bravery and dedication demonstrated by all of the first responders in ensuring the safety of our residents and the preservation of their homes as well as the follow up with tenants to ensure they comply with fire safety strategies and protocols moving forward. more

March 6, 2024

To the Editor:

As I read a recent issue of Town Topics, I was struck by the incredibly diverse array of summer camps and enrichment programs available in our community. As a parent deeply invested in the well-being and growth of my own children, I was reminded of the invaluable benefits that high-quality summer enrichment programs afforded our family.

Young people participating in these programs gain not only new skills but also a heightened sense of self-awareness, increased confidence, and enhanced social-emotional skills. These experiences, often away from screens and electronic devices, contribute significantly to the development of resilience and independence. more

February 28, 2024

To the Editor:

This past week we just barely escaped a very expensive scam — it is so common that there is a name for it: the grandchild scam. The callers were very clever and I am now ashamed to have been taken in. They required $18,000 in cash.

We were saved by Samantha, the PNC bank manager, who patiently persisted until we discovered the ruse. Thank you, Samantha!

Carol Haag
Ridgeview Circle

February 21, 2024

To the Editor:

I write in response to the recent letter to the editor by Maria Juega about Princeton University’s voluntary contribution to the community and the municipality [“Renters Should Be Included in PU Plan for Tax Relief Payments,” Mailbox, February 14].

When my colleagues and I began our discussions with University representatives, a priority in those conversations was addressing affordability and social equity, goals shared by both town and gown. Together, we explored a variety of possibilities, which ultimately led to an unprecedented increase in University support for a broad range of meaningful services that aid the most vulnerable in our community.   more

To the Editor:

A small, but very vocal group of residents has decided to launch a lawsuit against Princeton’s newly adopted Master Plan. Their group’s name? The Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development. Their objection? The new Master Plan modestly expands the number of neighborhoods where small-scale multifamily housing can be built. This lawsuit is nothing more than NIMBYism cloaked in legal jargon, and it threatens to stall Princeton’s progress at a crucial juncture. more

To the Editor:

Several recent letters from fellow residents express frustration about the size of our trash bins, and detail some folks’ struggles to deal with their waste streams. I am writing to implore the town to accelerate the implementation of a convenient curbside compost program for residents.

The EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills than any other single material in our everyday trash, constituting 24 percent of municipal solid waste. I imagine this does not include all organic waste. more

To the Editor:
In contrast to other readers (“New Town Trash Collection System Doesn’t Work for Larger Families, Mailbox, February 14 and “New Curbside Trash Collection System Needs to Accommodate More Garbage,” Mailbox, February 7), our family of five has had no problem staying within the confines of one trash can. Having only one garbage can should nudge residents to explore whether waste can be reused, recycled, or composted. more

February 14, 2024

To the Editor:

As part of a more than $50 million voluntary contribution package to the Municipality of Princeton, local programs, and residents, Princeton University recently awarded Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) $300,000 over three years in support of HIP’s Eviction Prevention Program. On behalf of HIP, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Princeton University for this tremendously generous and life-changing contribution. more

To the Editor:

The recently announced voluntary contribution agreement between Princeton University and the municipality calls for $10 million in tax relief payments for low- and middle-income Princeton homeowners [“University to Contribute 50M+ to Municipality,” January 31, page 1]. This well-intentioned but flawed Princeton plan further compounds the regressive nature of our tax system, which greatly favors homeowners at the expense of the poor.  more

To the Editor:

A capacity audience of 1,000 listened to Ukraine’s National Symphony Orchestra performance at McCarter on the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday, February 11. On behalf of Princeton’s small Ukrainian-American community, we’d like to thank McCarter’s impressive team, especially Debbie Bisno for her detailed execution, and Martin Miller, Paula Abreu, and Kelly Ryman for their efforts and engagement with both the audience and musicians. Special thanks to Princeton University’s Patrick Caddeau and Maria Garlock of Forbes College for hosting a warm reception, providing an opportunity for the orchestra members to engage with University students, faculty, and administrators as well as local dignitaries and leaders of Ukrainian-American organizations. Sunday’s performance was also supported by Princeton University’s Humanities Council, Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, and caring community members. more

To the Editor:

I wholeheartedly agree with Bob Rabner’s letter from last week [“New Curbside Trash Collection System Needs to Accommodate More Garbage,” Mailbox, February 7].

These new trash bins just don’t work for families with more than four members. I also live in Ettl Farm and often see neighbors with trash piled up and out of their single can. This type of pickup cannot be easy for our trash handlers — in fact it probably makes it a bit harder for them. It’s February and I have trash from Christmas that I am only now able to fit in the small bin. This trash has been sitting in my garage for more than a month. It’s ridiculous. 

On top of our frustration with this ongoing weekly garbage battle, the town has quite the nerve to charge a lease fee of $300 per year for an additional can. We pay some of the highest taxes in New Jersey. No wonder all of my friends are moving to Pennsylvania. 

Minda Alena
Christopher Drive

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of the recent letters expressing concern about Princeton Council’s decision to consolidate a board and two commissions. Prior writers have clearly expressed the problems with consolidation. I won’t repeat their arguments.

This action is one more example of the disregard by the members of the Council of both the clearly stated wishes of the residents and the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community.  If the Council members can’t (or won’t) serve their constituents, it’s time for them to step down from their positions. We all deserve better.

Maryann Witalec Keyes
Franklin Avenue

February 7, 2024

To the Editor:

I virtually attended the January 22 public meeting of Princeton Council and like many others asked the question of the evening: Why not wait a month or so to formally assess the proposed ordinance and gain input from the town? [“Council Approves Consolidation of Board, Commissions,” January 24, page 1.]

In reply, our elected officials diverted the discussion by rationalizing and insisting on an immediate vote — protesting that their only mistake was a glitch in the “roll out”; that Princeton had a reputation for talking too much and not acting (I would think that particular cliché referred to the town governance rather than the people in general); and, critically, that “the situation” — apparently a vast complex of coordination and communication problems inhibiting Princeton’s ability to help its people — was so dire that something had to be done immediately.  more

To the Editor:

Am I the only resident in Princeton who thinks the new curbside trash collection arrangement is a disaster? While I’ll admit that the process is efficient — the truck zips up and down our street in record time (but safely) — the limited items that can fit in the can are absurd. I’m not talking about a piece of furniture or a refrigerator — how about any household item simply a bit too big to fit in the opening of the single allocated trash can? And don’t get me started on what to do after a spring cleaning or a family gathering and you have a few extra bags of trash. I’ve actually called neighbors to ask if they had any room in their trash can. What do other residents do?

I have a growing pile of “trash” in my garage that I should be able to dispose of at my curb. But I can’t. I’ve already had a request for a bulk pickup rejected. I hate to come back to this, but for what we pay in taxes in this town I should be able to throw stuff out.

Bob Rabner
Christopher Drive

To the Editor:

Last May, there was a flurry of letters in Town Topics in which residents complained about how difficult it was to get reliable cellphone service in parts of Princeton. The mayor and Council held a special meeting with various providers to see if new towers could be built.

About seven weeks ago, I read in the Municipality of Princeton newsletter (December 14, 2023) that four new cell towers are in the planning stage to be erected in four different neighborhoods in Princeton. I am concerned that the risks involved in improving cell service may be greater than is perceived.  more