April 3, 2024

To the Editor:

I want to thank everyone who has written in support of the Nassau Swim Club. I have been a member of Nassau for almost four decades, and my children and grandchildren (and some of their cousins) have spent many magical summers there.

I am writing to mention another service to the community that Nassau has been offering for years at a very affordable cost. Designed for children of working parents, a full day aquatics program runs daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is open to children age 6 to 12. In the morning, children who are able to swim a full lane join the swim team practices, while the others receive swim lessons until ready to join.  more

To the Editor:

On March 25, Princeton’s Council introduced an ordinance to permit the acquisition of 90 acres on Herrontown Road, to preserve the property in perpetuity for passive open space. This important project is supported by Friends of Princeton Open Space, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the Ridgeview Conservancy, and The Watershed Institute, all nonprofits that are donating grant funding towards the purchase. The state, through its competitive Green Acres grant program and the County Open Space Advisory Board, has also deemed the purchase worthy of funding. $1,830,000 has been raised from private donors. The town will ultimately pay between 20 percent and 25 percent of the purchase price, depending on the county’s contribution, which has not been finalized. Princeton will initially advance more than that amount, and will be reimbursed as funding from other sources arrives, as has been done in the past.  more

To the Editor:

As I sit with Princeton University’s decision to terminate Nassau Swim Club’s lease, I find myself overwhelmed with feelings of grief knowing that the magic of Nassau is being killed. A core part of Nassau Swim Club has always been its swim and dive teams. Since the 1960s, Nassau has given children the opportunity to explore themselves through its low pressure competitive teams through participation in the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) league.  more

March 27, 2024

TEAMWORK: “Greenleaf Painters works closely with you to ensure your satisfaction. We use high performance paint that is good for you and for the environment. You can count on excellent results.” Shown, from left, are members of the Greenleaf team: Ryan Munn, operations manager; Sean Carty and Frank Danser, project managers; and Jonathan Shenk, president and owner.

By Jean Stratton

Jonathan Shenk, owner of Greenleaf Painters, LLC, isn’t only “a painter for all seasons,” he is “a man for all seasons.” His unique background sets him apart in many ways.

The son of Mennonite missionaries, Jonathan was born in Somalia, and also lived in Kenya. He later moved with his family to the Lancaster, Pa., area.

As a young man, he taught English literature at a high school in the South Bronx in New York, and later studied at the Union Theological Seminary, also in New York. After ordination as a minister, he was posted to a Presbyterian church in Princeton Junction as an associate pastor.

After six years, he decided to head in a new direction, and established his own painting company. Greenleaf Painters, LLC came into existence, and a new adventure began. more

To the Editor:

When I drive down Route 27 from Kingston, I arrive in a neighborhood of lovely and varied 19th and 18th century homes and commercial buildings and I know I have reached Princeton. Jugtown wasn’t always part of Princeton, though. In the 18th century it was its own place, also known as Queenston. Since the 1980s, Jugtown has been recognized locally, statewide, and nationally as an historic place. While change is inevitable, historic preservation ordinances were put in place to help manage change in historic neighborhoods such as Jugtown.  more

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

SUCCESS STORY: “We are looking forward to getting back to our original concept and vision of Ottoburger. We will offer accessible value-based real food, with friendly service in an informal, down-to-earth atmosphere.” Maria and Otto Zizak are shown in the new location of Ottoburger, their popular restaurant, which will also have some surprises in its spacious location.

By Jean Stratton

There is a new look at 65 East Broad Street in Hopewell. Ottoburger, the popular restaurant that closed in 2022, is back! It just reopened this month in expanded quarters at the site formerly occupied by the Brick Farm Market.

“There were so many disappointed customers when the original Ottoburger closed, and we kept getting inquiries about it,” says owner Otto Zizak. “People started coming even before we had opened! Now they’re coming all the time. We are so glad to be back!” more

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

SIGNATURE SUSHI: Executive Chef Naoki Toshiro, owner of Naoki Sushi Dining in Lawrenceville, shown in the restaurant, looks forward to sharing his specially prepared omakase sushi with the ever-growing number of appreciative customers. 

By Jean Stratton

Fans of sushi are delighted that a new restaurant, Naoki Sushi Dining, is providing this popular Japanese specialty in Lawrenceville. It is especially known for its signature omakase sushi, which is not readily found in the area,

Whether visitors are educated in omakase sushi dining or beginners ready to explore new tastes, they will experience the highest quality omakase sushi prepared by expert chef/owner Naoki Tashiro. more

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

“NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS”: “With HIP, there is a network to help people navigate the difficulties they have ensuring safe housing. We help them to realize that they don’t have to do it all by themselves. Help is there for them.” Lori Troilo, executive director, and Tom Pinneo, board chair of Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP), are engaged in helping to provide transitional housing for individuals in need.

By Jean Stratton

When the news of the day seems relentlessly negative, we tend to forget or may not even know of the many acts of generosity and kindness provided by individuals and organizations throughout the Princeton area.

One such organization is Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP), which focuses on helping those in need to find transitional housing and assisting them to build a better future.

A roof over your head! Such a basic need, and yet for so many, it is not something they can count on.

In a place like Princeton this is shocking — not a situation one would expect, and yet it is happening. Some people are homeless or at risk of homelessness, living temporarily in motels, in cars, or unsuitable and unsafe buildings. Fortunately, HIP is one of the organizations at the forefront trying to find solutions. more

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