December 7, 2022

A self-guided scavenger hunt, including items in a festive tree, was among the activities at The Watershed Institute’s Holiday Open House on Saturday. The event also featured live music, crafts, local vendors, refreshments, and more. Attendees discuss their favorite things about the event in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

In downtown Princeton and the Princeton Shopping Center, effects of the pandemic and ongoing construction projects have been blamed for low numbers and more than a few retail and restaurant closings. But recent openings, and announcements of future openings planned by businesses and restaurants, are encouraging signs for the local economy.

“We have a whole bunch of businesses developing here,” said Isaac Kremer, executive director of the Princeton Business Partnership (PBP), formed last May to encourage the development of local businesses. “So the future looks bright.”

New eateries to open in recent months include Maman on Hulfish Street, offering coffee, baked goods, and light fare; Ani Ramen House at 140 Nassau Street; Mtea, a tea/sushi/dessert spot at the former Dunkin’ Donuts at 49 Nassau Street; and Taim in Princeton Shopping Center. Maruichi, a Japanese food and deli chain that has locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland, is planning to open in the former Panera Bread at 136 Nassau Street, which has been closed since before the pandemic.

The upscale clothing retailer Hermes plans to open in fall of 2023 at the former Ann Taylor site on Palmer Square.  Signs on the window of the space next door indicate that clothing retailer Faherty will precede Hermes, with a spring 2023 opening planned. Charbellem Boutique is planning a shop on Witherspoon Street. The women’s clothing chain Johnny Was recently moved in to 69 Palmer Square West. more

By Donald Gilpin

Eager to weigh in on the issues most important to the future of their town, about 250 Princeton residents and others circulated through Princeton Public Library’s Community Room between 4 and 7 p.m. on November 30 for the first public open session on the Princeton Master Plan.

The open house, hosted by the Princeton Planning Board, presented participants with four stations throughout the large room, one devoted to each of four key Princeton issues: housing, downtown, mobility, and open space and recreation.

Individuals were provided with information at each station and they were given the opportunity to respond in detail with ideas about how Princeton should address its biggest challenges. There were hundreds of conversations throughout the room during the more than three hours of the event, and visitors wrote out comments and questions, and noted their preferences on a series of maps at each station.

“A master plan is a community’s blueprint for its future,” stated the flier handed out by the meeting hosts. “A new master plan will enable Princeton to set policies and priorities that will guide its decisions over the coming years, from housing and business to mobility and climate change. It tries to answer such questions as: Where should new housing go? How can we reduce traffic to make traveling around town easier? What does the municipality need to thrive economically? What kinds of outdoor spaces does it need?”

The master plan project is guided by a steering committee of Princeton residents and business owners, appointed by the Princeton Planning Board and assisted by a team of planning, economic development, and public outreach consultants. more

STATESMAN, SCHOLAR, SLAVEHOLDER: The towering bronze statue of John Witherspoon, Princeton University’s sixth president and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is the focus of controversy, as the University debates over a graduate student petition that calls for its removal and replacement with a plaque that delineates both positive and negative facets of Witherspoon’s life. (Princeton University, Denise Applewhite)

By Donald Gilpin

Ten feet tall and standing atop a seven-foot-high pedestal, the cast bronze statue of John Witherspoon, sixth Princeton University president (1768-94) and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, now presides over the University’s Firestone Plaza near East Pyne Hall — but its days may be numbered.

Witherspoon (1723-1794), in the “heroic realistic” style statue created in 2001 by Scottish sculptor Alexander Stoddart, is depicted preaching at a lectern on top of which rests an open Bible. Witherspoon was an ordained minister, a leading member of the Continental Congress, a founding father of the United States, and the only clergyman and only college president to sign the Declaration of Independence.

But he was also a slaveholder (as were the other first nine presidents of Princeton University), and a petition to remove the statue, initiated  by members of the University’s Department of Philosophy and signed by about 300 graduate students, is gaining traction. It has been taken up by the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Naming Committee, which will be holding  “listening sessions” in the coming weeks to allow members of the University community to weigh in as it considers the petition.

“The committee’s work will be informed by rigorous research, scholarly expertise within and beyond the University community, and input from the broad University community,” a University press release stated.

Witherspoon had “a complex relationship to slavery,” according to the University’s Princeton and Slavery Project website. “Though he advocated revolutionary ideals of liberty and personally tutored several free Africans and African Americans in Princeton, he himself owned slaves and both lectured and voted against the abolition of slavery in New Jersey,” the website states. more

A DOYLESTOWN TRADITION: Fonthill Castle, the historic home of Henry Chapman Mercer, is festively decorated for the holidays. Tours are offered throughout the season. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Crawford imagery LLC)

By Anne Levin

With its dark, concrete walls, inlaid ceramic tiles, spooky hallways, and shelves of antique objects and books, Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pa., is a particularly atmospheric location for evoking the feeling of holidays past. The castle, which is currently decorated for the holidays and open for visitors, was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer, an archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramicist, and scholar who lived from 1856 to 1930.

The neighboring Mercer Museum is filled with Chapman’s collections of some 50,000 tools and objects from pre-industrial America. This past Tuesday, the museum held its first open house in three years. “It has a long tradition in the community,” said Karina Kowalski, director of education and community services for Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle. “Returning to this legacy program is very exciting for us.”

Back at the architecturally distinctive — some might say eccentric — Fonthill, guided tours and “meander days” are available throughout the season. On weekdays, there are “Winter Wonderland” guided tours of the castle, showing off the holiday decorations while sharing the history of Mercer and the construction of the property. Tours take 60 minutes.

Holiday Lights Meander Days are on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with time slots beginning every 10 minutes. The tours are offered through the end of December. Guides are stationed along the route to answer questions. Guided evening tours, which might be the best time to see lights in windows and on trees, are Thursdays in December and Wednesday, December 28, beginning at 5 p.m. (last tour is 6:45 p.m.).

“In the evening, it just glows,” said Kowalski. “We have fake candles all around, and we have added more outdoor lights than ever before. It just twinkles.” more

By Donald Gilpin

“Balance,” “fairness,” “relationships in the community,” and a “guardian” attitude are key words that recur throughout the discussion on policing with new Princeton Police Department (PPD) Chief Jonathan Bucchere, who was sworn into office at the November 14 Princeton Council meeting.

On Friday, December 2, at about 3 p.m., Bucchere, who takes pride in putting his words into action, could be found manning the school crossing at Witherspoon Street and Birch Avenue.

“We were short-staffed and a lot of school crossings had to be covered,” he said. “While I was out there working, at least three or four people who knew me stopped and thanked me and commented on the fact that I was out there doing the school crossing.”

He continued, “The best part of the job is building relationships. Policing is all about relationships, whether it be the community or the men and women of the department. It’s the most rewarding part of what we do.”

He described the model of 21st century policing that was introduced under former PPD Chief Nick Sutter and has taken hold in Princeton and across the country over the past seven years. “It’s really embracing the guardian mentality over the warrior mentality,” said Bucchere. “You can use a balanced approach to enforcement, and you do so under the guardian mentality, building relationships in the community. You’re not out there trying to arrest everyone and issue citations to everyone.”

Bucchere, who was born in Princeton, grew up in Hamilton, and graduated from The College of New Jersey before attending the State Police Academy, joined the Princeton Borough Police in 1999 as a patrol officer.  more

By Anne Levin

Clients of Princeton Fitness & Wellness at Plainsboro were given a jolt when a letter from management dated November 28 informed them that the club will close at the end of the year to accommodate additional space requirements on the Princeton Medical Center campus.

Having recently completed a strategic plan, Penn Medicine Princeton Health decided that the space will be repurposed, possibly for such services as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and an ambulatory care center.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we notify you that Princeton Fitness & Wellness at Plainsboro must permanently close effective Saturday, December 31, 2022, at 4 p.m.,” reads a letter to members. “On November 16, 2022, we were notified by Penn Medicine Princeton Health that additional space is required on the Princeton Medical Center campus to meet the increasing demand for medical care and services. After a thoughtful and thorough strategic plan process, Princeton Health determined it must repurpose the space currently used by the Fitness Center to better serve patients and the broader community.”

Representing Penn Medicine Princeton Health, spokesperson Andy Williams said the closing was unavoidable. “Repurposing the existing building instead of construction a new one will enable us to make a transition in months, as opposed to the year or more it would take to design and build a new structure,” he said in an email. “In addition, there is only one available parcel on the campus. In our redevelopment agreement with the township of Plainsboro, that land is designated for medical research.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

In 1966, the victorious English team famously sang “Sunny Afternoon” in the baths after the World Cup final…

—from @The Kinks

Ray Davies calls it the “mystical fairy tale of ‘Sunny Afternoon’ and the World Cup” in his “unauthorized autobiography” X-Ray (Overlook Press 1995). After landing a song at the top of the charts the same month England’s team was at the top of the sporting world, Davies composed “Waterloo Sunset” the following spring, a British anthem for the ages that he would sing half a century later at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Clips of the highlights from England’s 4-2 victory over West Germany can be viewed on YouTube, the same black and white images that Ray saw on his home set, including the moment when a beaming Queen Elizabeth shakes hands with the captain of the British team before handing him the cup. In the aftermath of the Queen’s September 8 death, it’s moving to see her happily, unceremoniously caught up in the excitement of a cheering crowd 96,000 strong. Recalling the “magic” of July 30, 1966, Davies writes of himself and his band mates, “Patriotism had never been so strong. We were all war babies, we had all seen Hungary beat England when we were at primary in the early sixties.” When midfielder Bobby Charlton, considered one of the greatest players of all time, “buried his head in his hands as he fell to his knees and wept on the English turf,” Davies “felt like millions of others watching on television: I wanted to be next to him …..” more

COMMUNITY MUSICIANS: Ruth Ochs conducts the Westminster Community Orchestra at a free concert on the Westminster campus. The “Holiday Chestnuts and Sing-along” concert is on December 14 at 7:30 p.m.

The Westminster Community Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will present their tenth annual family holiday concert on Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. “Holiday Chestnuts and Sing-along” will take place in the Robert L. Annis Playhouse on the Westminster Choir College campus of Rider University on Walnut Lane.

While the performance is free, the orchestra will continue its long-standing tradition of accepting free-will monetary donations at the door to benefit and be distributed to area food pantries and service organizations.

The performance will feature holiday favorites such as Leontovich’s Carol of the Bells and Bernard’s Winter Wonderland. The concert will also include Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers” from The Snow Maiden, “Valse Lyrique” by Sibelius, Glazunov’s “Snow Variation” from The Seasons, Chase’s Christmas Favorites, and Bach’s “Gigue” from Orchestral Suite No. 3, as well as orchestra member Beth Gaynor LaPat’s Chanukah Songs. The audience is invited to join the orchestra in Finnegan’s Christmas Sing-along. more

CHORAL FAVORITES: The Newark Boys Chorus School (NBCS) will present its holiday concert program, “Tis the Season,” on December 10 at 5 p.m. at Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street. The program features holiday songs and works written specifically for the NBCS Concert Chorus. NBCS is the only urban, independent boys’ chorus school in the country. The concert is open to the public and will include a free-will offering. For more information, visit nassauchurch.org.

American Repertory Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is on stage this Sunday, December 11 at 3 p.m. at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, accompanied by the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey and the Trenton Children’s Chorus. For tickets, visit arballet.org. (Photo by Eduardo Patino, NYC).

From December 9 through 11, MTM presents the comedy The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge at Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College. Toys for Tots gifts will be collected in the lobby before, during, and after the performances.

Playwright Mark Brown takes the “happily ever after” component of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to an new level. The play begins when, just a year after his miraculous transformation, Ebenezer Scrooge reverts to his old ways. He indignantly files suit against Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, attempted murder and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. They all relive the night in question as all of the characters from A Christmas Carol take the stand.

Shows are Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for students, senior citizens and children. Visit Kelseytheatre.org.

HISTORIC CENTRAL COURT: The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pa., has received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which will help with the care, management, and cataloging of 500 artifacts that are free-standing and suspended from the ceilings and mezzanines of its 1916 Central Court.

The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pa., operated by the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS), recently received a grant to improve the care, management, and cataloging of 500 artifacts installed in its 1916 historic Central Court.

The museum was the recipient of an $111,907.00 matching grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, in 2022 as part of IMLS’ Museums for America grant program which will support the Mercer Museum’s aim of preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to its care.

The grant will allow the museum to fully perform an inventory, clean, catalog, and assess the condition of objects that are free-standing and suspended from the ceilings and mezzanines of the Mercer Museum’s historic Central Court. A hydraulic lift will be used to survey the artifacts hanging in the core of the Mercer Museum — unreachable otherwise from the ground. The survey is anticipated to be completed by 2024.  more

This work by Alina Marin-Bliach is part of the “Members Holiday Art Exhibit and Boutique,” on view through December 18 at Gallery 14 Fine Art Photography, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, visit gallery14.org.

“SHIRANKALA”: An exhibition of works by Shiranie Perera is on view through January 31 at Songbird Capital, 14 Nassau Street, on Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m. or by appointment.

“Shirankala,” an art exhibition at 14 Nassau Street inside Songbird Capital, features 15 paintings by local artist Shiranie Perera. The show is on view through January 31 and is open to the public on Saturdays from 1-6 p.m. Private tours are available by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays from 5-6 p.m. Call (609) 331-2624 to schedule an appointment.

This exhibition, located on the first floor of the historic Bank & Trust Building, developed out of a fortuitous meeting between Perera and Jie Hayes, the founder of Songbird Capital. “When I walked into Shiranie’s gallery/studio in Lawrenceville one late Friday afternoon in September, my plan was a 15-minute visit,” said Hayes. That visit ended up being two and a half hours of what Hayes calls a “mesmerizing experience,” adding that “Shiranie’s paintings are captivating and liberating at the same time.” more

THE TEST OF TIME: “We have been known for our personal attention, always ready to help customers with advice if they want it. They know that they could count on the quality of our products and our service.” Bob Cohen, owner of Freedman’s Jewelers, is shown with his sister and colleague Beverley Levenson in the Pennington store, which will close in February.

By Jean Stratton

An independent business since the early 1900s, Freedman’s Jewelers was originally established in Trenton. It was purchased by Sidney Cohen in 1937, and in 1954, it moved to the Ewing Shopping Center, 962 Parkway Avenue. A year later, Bob Cohen, Sidney’s son, joined the business.

The Cohens opened a second location in 1993 at the Pennington Shopping Center, its current site. This move expanded the clientele, with more customers coming from Hopewell, Pennington, Princeton, Lawrenceville, and Bucks County, Pa.

“Word-of-mouth built our business,” explains current owner Bob Cohen. “We have had many loyal customers over the years, and many are friends.

“When I joined the business, I really learned by doing. This is the best experience.” more

TURNING THE PAIGE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Paige Morton handles the ball in the paint in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, sophomore forward Morton tallied six points to help Princeton defeat Towson. After playing just six minutes a game off the bench last season, Morton has emerged as a key contributor for the Tigers this winter, averaging 6.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in starting all seven games. Princeton, now 5-2, plays at UConn on December 8 before hosting Delaware on December 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

In an unlikely twist, Paige Morton will be the best Paige on the court when the Princeton University women’s basketball team plays at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion on Thursday.

UConn star Paige Bueckers is out for the season after tearing her ACL in August while Morton has made a big move in her second year at Princeton. The sophomore forward has started every game for the Tigers after playing just six minutes per game in her first year.

“It’s definitely been a change since last year,” said Morton. “My teammates have been really supportive and they make me feel confident out there. They always have my back. That’s been something that’s really been helpful for me as I take on a new role.”

Morton has given the Tigers some versatility with the ability to use her 6’3 size to go bigger this year, something they didn’t use last year as much following the graduation of Bella Alarie and Taylor Baur in 2020. Morton’s improvements since last year landed her in the starting lineup from the outset of the season.

“Paige has a really great skill set,” said Princeton head coach Carla Berube. “She’s got a great frame. She’s able to step out a little bit and hit some mid-range jumpers. She has a lot of different finishes on the inside, which keeps the defense back on their heels. She’s strong and gotten stronger and more confident. She’s playing with a little more aggressiveness than she did last year. I think she understands the college game a little more than she did her first year. She’s been really, really important at the beginning of the season. And the whole fall she was one of our best players in practice every day. That’s why she earned the starting nod.” more

FRESH APPROACH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jack Scott puts up a layup in recent action. Last Wednesday, freshman guard and former Hun School standout Scott tallied a team-high 13 points with nine rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes off the bench as Princeton routed Division III Cairn 92-58. The Tigers, who topped Drexel 83-63 last Saturday to improve to 6-2, host Monmouth on December 10 before facing Iona on December 13 at Kean University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mitch Henderson sensed that his crew of freshmen could make a big impact this winter as they started their careers for the Princeton University men’s basketball team.

“It is a very competitive young group, very competitive,” said Princeton head coach Henderson. “That is really good for everybody because it just raises the level.”

Last Wednesday, two of those prized newcomers, Jack Scott and Caden Pierce, starred as Princeton routed Division III Cairn 92-58. Guard Scott tallied a career-high and team-high 13 points with nine rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes off the bench while starting forward Pierce contributed a career-high nine points, four rebounds, and a blocked shot.

Scott, for his part, was ready to compete when he got the call against Cairn.

“I got a chance to go in there so whenever my name is called, I just try to go as hard as I can and make the most out of the opportunity,” said Scott, a 6’6, 197-pound resident of Denver, Colo. “That is what I tried to do, I thought we played really well.” more

JACOBS LADDER: Princeton University men’s hockey player David Jacobs goes after the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, freshman forward Jacobs tallied a goal and an assist in a losing cause as a late Princeton rally fell short in a 5-4 loss to St. Lawrence. The Tigers, now 4-7 overall and 3-6 ECAC Hockey, host Union on December 9 and RPI on December 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It took a while for David Jacobs to start producing this winter in his freshman season on the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

Though the first eight games of his college career, Jacobs had just one assist. But catching fire after Thanksgiving, he has tallied two goals and two assists in his last three appearances.

“I think it is just growing every day and trying to get more and more comfortable out there,” said Jacobs, a 5’10, 180-pound native of Needham, Mass. “I have great teammates so it is great playing with them. We work hard every practice and I am just trying to get better every day.”

Last Saturday, Jacobs displayed his growth, getting a goal and an assist in a losing cause as a late Princeton rally fell short in a 5-4 loss to St. Lawrence.

The Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Nick Seitz then fell behind 2-1 early in the second period. Jacobs evened up the game at 2-2, blasting a one-timer into the back of the net with 11:08 left in the second period. The Saints responded with three unanswered goals to lead 5-2 midway through the third period. After St. Lawrence got hit with a five-minute major penalty, the Tigers scored two goals to narrow the gap to 5-4 but couldn’t get any closer as they moved to 4-7 overall and 3-6 ECAC Hockey. more

WINNING THE DAY: Princeton University wrestler Quincy Monday, top, controls a foe in a match last season. Senior star Monday, who advanced to the NCAA final last March at 157 pounds, is primed for a big final campaign with the Tigers. Last Sunday, Monday, ranked No. 1 nationally at 157, posted a 5-0 win over No. 15 Chase Saldate of Michigan State in the Garden State Grapple at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Tigers, who fell 38-3 to Wisconsin and 21-15 to Michigan State in the event, to move to 0-3, host Rutgers on December 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In his debut season for the Princeton University wrestling team in 2018-19, Quincy Monday qualified for the NCAA championships at 157 pounds but the trip to Pittsburgh turned out to be a downer.

With his inexperience showing, Monday lost all of his matches. Looking for redemption, Monday made the NCAAs as a sophomore and was seeded fifth but didn’t get to compete as the event was canceled as a result of the global pandemic. In 2021, Monday had no chance to make the NCAAs as the Ivy League scrapped its winter season due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

Those disappointments fueled Monday’s motivation as he competed last winter.

“To have that get canceled and not get that chance and get a win and do my thing at nationals set a fire under me for sure,” said Monday, who won his first Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) title on the way to qualifying for the NCAA championships

Once in Detroit for the NCAAs, a fired-up Monday got some redemption, making it to the final where he fell 9-2 to Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin.

“It was just really exciting, I was grateful to be there and be able to be at nationals and get rolling,” said Monday, who was joined in the finals by classmate Patrick Glory, who made it at 125, giving Princeton its first two NCAA finalists since 2002. “We had a lot of energy and momentum going into it, being able to have that opportunity to be able to go back and compete.” more

DOWN LOW: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Cooper Zullo skates around a goalie in action last season. Senior star forward and captain Zullo is primed for a big final campaign. PHS opens its season by facing Notre Dame on December 12 at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rik Johnson underwent a trial by fire last winter when he joined the Princeton High boys’ hockey program as an assistant coach.

“It was exciting, at first I was a little apprehensive,” said Johnson, who had played for the Monmouth University club hockey team and in men’s leagues but had never coached before. “I observed and I was able to learn a lot different ways to approach things.”

This season, Johnson will be getting the chance to apply those lessons as he is taking the helm of the PHS program, succeeding head coach Dave Hansen.

“There is a learning curve for sure, learning everything you need to know as the head coach,” said Johnson. “My personal philosophy is for the players to try not to make the same mistake twice. Three, four practices in now, we are trying to scratch those off the list. I am trying different things out, seeing what works.”

The PHS players are responding well to their new leader.

“Brian (PHS Athletic Director Brain Dzbenski) said he was looking for somebody from a head  coaching perspective that was going to be around so there was continuity for the kids,” said Johnson, who is taking over a program that went 16-5-3 last winter and advanced to the Mercer County Tournament final. “It is positive, they are great kids, they are helpful. It is great roster, we have got 15 returning players.”

Johnson is expecting a great senior year from star forward and captain Cooper Zullo (39 goals, 32 assists in 2021-22).

“Cooper is doing his thing, he is doing a great job as a leader,” said Johnson. “He is going to be our captain again this year. He is great with ushering in the new kids and leading the group. I think last year was a little bit of a shock to him when he was named captain; that caught him off guard, but he grew into it. He is so good. The one thing I added last year in working with him was hit the net. He has improved on that.” more

HEY BRO: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Brophy displays his freestyle form in a race last season. Sophomore Brophy figures to be a key contributor for the Titers this fall. PHS starts its 2022-23 campaign with a meet at Steinert on December 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Featuring depth, talent, and a positive chemistry, the Princeton High boys’ and girls’ swimming teams both produced dominant performances last winter.

Each squad placed first in the Mercer County championship meet with the boys going on to win the Public B Central Jersey sectional title and making it to the Public B state final on the way to a 14-1 record. The girls, for their part, went 11-1, advancing to the North 2 Group B sectional semis.

Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz knows that her boys’ squad will have a bull’s eye on it.

“Something I stressed to them at the beginning of the season was that the target is definitely on our back this year,” said Misiewicz. “There is that pressure, if you want to call it that, to repeat.”

Buoyed by its upbeat mentality and bonds among the swimmers, Misiewicz believes the squad will be unfazed by such pressure.

“I think the guys are more than willing and up to the challenge,” said Misiewicz. “They are such a good group. They mesh so well, they all get along with each other so well. They are really the definition and the perfect version of whatever I could ask for in a team with the way they treat each other and the way they all talk to each other. They hang out with each other outside of their swimming.” more

CHASING SUCCESS: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Lauren Chase brings the puck up the ice in action last winter. Senior defenseman Chase is poised for a big final campaign for the Panthers. PDS hosts Cranford on December 9 in its season opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Julie DeSimone is confident that the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team won’t miss a beat as she takes the helm of the program.

Having served as an assistant coach for PDS over the last four seasons, DeSimone brings continuity as she succeeds previous head coach John Ritchie.

“We have such a good coaching team and even under John, it was so collaborative, it didn’t feel like there was hard, fast hierarchy,” said DeSimone. “It was a nice transition, just continuing to work with Mike [Adams] and Jaimie [Davis] and having Shavonne [Leacy] on board as well. That has been a huge advantage, she has been fitting in really well. We have all always divided and conquered. We are just continuing that model that was set up under John. We were kind of a united force, I don’t think it has been that big of a shift.”

DeSimone and her staff are determined to keep the program on the winning track that saw it go 14-6 last winter, capturing the Prep state title and advancing to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state final in the process.

“We are really happy with how we ended the season last year and we want to keep building on that success,” said DeSimone. “It was really fun. We are really happy about how we built the program and the success we have had over the last few years. The returning players are definitely excited to get back to competing against those teams we played last year and what we did. We are well-positioned to do that again.” more

CHASING SUCCESS: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Lauren Chase brings the puck up the ice in action last winter. Senior defenseman Chase is poised for a big final campaign for the Panthers. PDS hosts Cranford on December 9 in its season opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though Tony Bowman just retired after a long career as an investigator with the N.J. Department of Gaming Enforcement, he is not taking it easy.

Instead, Bowman is keeping busy by starting a return engagement as the head coach of the Stuart Country Day School basketball team, a program he previously guided from 2003-11.

“It has been different; when I got there last time I had like 14, 15 girls,” said Bowman, who is taking over a team that went 8-8 last winter. “I had a few more basketball players and I had more multi-sport athletes. I don’t have that this time, either the numbers and that kind of athlete. Right now, I have nine players.”

As he tries to get the most out of his scrappy band of players, he is going back to basics.

“I am focusing on fundamentals, teaching basketball and making sure everybody is on the same page,” said Bowman. “My ideal is to make the players that are good to get better and the ones that are just learning basketball to be better than what they were when they got started. That is what I am doing.” more

November 30, 2022

A large crowd was on hand for the Annual Palmer Square Tree Lighting on Friday evening. The event also featured musical performances and a visit from Santa Claus. Attendees share what they are looking forward to this holiday season in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)