June 7, 2023

The third annual Princeton Community Pride Picnic on Saturday afternoon celebrated Princeton’s LGBTQ+ community with games, music, art, activities, local nonprofits, and more on the Palmer Square Green. Attendees share what brought them to the event in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

After a brief pause, when enrollment dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Public Schools (PPS) is facing a growing population and the need to make important decisions about where all those students will be going to school.

On Monday evening, June 5, PPS Superintendent Carol Kelley, along with a cohort of Board of Education (BOE) members and school administrators, presented several options for the future of the town’s elementary schools to a gathering of about 100 parents and community members assembled in the Princeton High School cafeteria.

As the district continues to gather information and input from stakeholders throughout the community, the possible scenarios under discussion include: 1) no changes — the status quo; 2) redistricting and rebalancing, with four pre-K to fifth grade buildings, about 370 students in each building; 3) building where the growth is, with four pre-K to fifth grade buildings, with larger populations at Littlebrook and Community Park, and smaller at Riverside and Johnson Park; 4) a “sister school” concept, with two sets of schools paired pre-K-2 and 3-5; and 5) a new upper elementary (or lower middle) grades 5-6 school. more

By Anne Levin

With the latest version of the Princeton’s Master Plan Community Visioning Survey having gone live at the end of last month, municipal staff and local officials are hoping for a healthy response from residents, who are invited to express their opinions on priorities for different kinds of development and community needs.

Public input is key to the master plan development process, which has been underway for more than a year and will go to the Planning Board for adoption after comments from residents are considered in at least two meetings in the winter.

“I think because our existing master plan is based in 1996, with adoptions along the way, people might not be aware of how important the public input is, and how ultimately it does get used,” said Justin Lesko, the town’s planning director. “I shouldn’t be sitting behind a desk imposing these regulations. That’s why we’ve structured the process this way — to have more hands-on activities like the open house, and now, more intentional questions.” more

By Anne Levin

A row of retail businesses on the ground floor of 20 Nassau Street, the former office building currently being renovated to become the Graduate Hotel, will close for anywhere from 20 to 50 days to allow for key structural and safety measures to be undertaken.

Jammin’ Crepes, Sakrid Coffee, Small Bites, Milk and Cookies, and Nassau Barbers are affected by the work. How long each will be closed depends on their location and size.

“With the building being historic, and kind of old, you find things once you open up walls,” said Pablo David, vice president of government affairs and community relations with A.J. Capital Partners, owners of the Graduate Hotel chain. “Needs are different. Issues range from fire safety to structural problems, utilities, and HVAC. Some major upgrades are needed throughout that portion of the building, to make it safe.”

David said the organization has been in communication with each of the business owners about the closures. “Everyone has had several touchpoints making sure they knew what was ahead,” he said. “We’ve been trying to work with them to make their lives a little bit easier. But obviously, it’s a disruption.” more

IN FULL BLOOM: Backyard settings like this one, from last year’s Mill Hill Garden Tour, will be open to the public in Trenton this Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. (Photo by Jeffrey Tryon)

By Anne Levin

In Trenton’s Mill Hill neighborhood and on the streets of Lambertville, summer gets off to an unofficial start this time of year with annual, self-guided garden tours in urban settings. This year in both locales, residents open their gardens —some meticulously tended, others a bit more wild — to the public on Saturday, June 10.

The Mill Hill tour coincides with Taste Trenton, the capital city’s seventh annual restaurant crawl (held Friday-Sunday). And in Lambertville, a native plant sale known as Lambertville Goes Wild is held Saturday at Cavallo Park, 2 Mount Hope Street, with experts on hand to give gardening advice. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. more

SCHOLARS AND LEADERS: At Homeworks Trenton, founded by a 2018 Princeton University graduate, young women from marginalized communities engage in activities focused on academics and leadership skills in a free residential program. (Photo courtesy of HomeWorks)

By Donald Gilpin

HomeWorks Trenton has been helping marginalized teenaged girls in a free after-school residential program established in 2016, and is now looking to quadruple its student population and move into a recently-purchased three-story house at 1212 Edgewood Avenue in Trenton.

HomeWorks has seen impressive growth in support and its impact on its students, academically and personally, over the past seven years, and its Executive Director Natalie Tung sees no limits to its future possibilities. more

EINSTEIN, ANOTHER VIEW: An exhibit on the renowned scientist’s relationships with residents of Princeton’s traditionally Black neighborhood and with many Black leaders of the mid 20th century will be on display in the Princeton Public Library from June 15 to August 1, a collaborative project by the Princeton Einstein Museum of Science and the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society. (Photo courtesy of the Princeton Einstein Museum)

By Donald Gilpin

Two stories embedded deeply in the history of Princeton and the world are Albert Einstein as the great scientist developing his theory of relativity and contributing to the theory of quantum mechanics, and Einstein as one of the first members of the Institute for Advanced Study, serving there and paying frequent visits to Princeton University from 1933 until his death in 1955.

But Einstein and his involvement with the African American community is a little-known facet of the man’s life that will be on display from June 15 through August 1 in an exhibit in the second floor Reading Room at Princeton Public Library (PPL). more

By Stuart Mitchner

Midway through actor Brian Cox’s memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat (Grand Central $29), someone asks if he ever thought of playing Donald Trump. After a quick emphatic “No” (“It’s such a bad script”), he explains why he prefers playing Logan Roy, the profane patriarch in HBO’s hit series Succession, which just completed its fourth and final season. “Roy is more interesting because he’s a darker character … He does villainous things but he’s not really a villain. And another thing that interests me about him is that we have this in common: we’re both disappointed in how the human experiment has turned out.”

Cox returns to the same theme in the book’s final chapter, admitting that sometimes “it can be distressingly easy to put on my Logan Roy skin” because besides being about wealth and entitlement, Succession is “about displacement,” about how Logan is “classically displaced, taken from his childhood home when he was very young.” At this point, Cox makes it clear that he’s talking about himself: “I know somebody else who feels displaced, who left Scotland at a young age. Somebody who feels a certain disgust with the rest of the human race, who feels that humanity is a failed experiment.”

Why This Image?

The feeling of displacement Cox mentions may offer a clue to the photograph he picked for the cover of his memoir. Celebrity book jackets generally accentuate the positive. This unguarded image makes you curious about the author’s choice and how it might relate to the show that made him famous. Given Cox’s personal triumph in Succession, his woebegone expression is striking when contrasted to the interior photo of him as Logan Roy, where he looks every bit the confident, all-powerful ruler of a media empire who would have nothing but contempt for an actor who seems to be barely containing a world of sorrow. And although Cox’s narrative is marked by slights, losses, tragedies, failures, absurdities, embarrassing accidents, missed opportunities, and disappointments, it’s also enlivened by humorous turns of phrase and  numerous amusing incidents. more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) introduced a new violin star to Princeton audiences this past weekend in a performance also including a world premiere. Led by Music Director Xian Zhang, the Orchestra presented a concert in Richardson Auditorium Friday night featuring music commissioned for the Orchestra’s Centennial celebration, well as a beloved violin concerto performed by an up-and-coming superstar.

As part of its Centennial Anniversary, NJSO commissioned an orchestral piece from Chinese-American composer Chen Yi. Yi’s compositions are rooted in her upbringing during China’s Cultural Revolution, and she describes her works as a fusion of Chinese lore and Western form and techniques. The one-movement Landscape Impression, commissioned by NJSO and premiered in this past weekend’s concert, was inspired by two poems by the 11th-century writer Su Dong-Po.  more


PEOPLE BEHAVING BADLY: In ActorsNET’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Cat Miller, left, and Shelli Penitmall Bookler discover Falstaff’s scheme and come up with their own plan to teach him a lesson.

ActorsNET finishes its 26th season with a 1960s sitcom reboot of The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare, a comedy of sexual jealousy and overbearing egos set against a landscape of summer resort leisure and the “dirty dancing” music trend.

The play follows Shakespeare’s well-known old scoundrel, John “Sinjin” Falstaff, who has become a nightclub entertainer, headlining at the Garter Restaurant in the Windsor Resort. Down on his luck, Falstaff schemes to seduce the titular merry wives, Mrs. Alice Ford and Mrs. Margaret Page, in an attempt to restore his fortunes. He sends them identical love letters, but his double-dealing ruse is discovered, and the two ladies are determined to teach him a lesson. There are disguises, misdirected letters, a “duel,” and a midnight denouement before the tangle is unraveled, the men get their comeuppance, and the good prevails. more

VIRTUOSO VOCALIZING: Will Liverman, a Metropolitan Opera star and Grammy winner, sings works by Black composers at the Princeton Festival, on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden, on June 19 at 7 p.m. (Photo by Adam Ewing)

Opera is the focus June 16-20 at the Princeton Festival, being held in an outdoor performance pavilion on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden. In addition to a new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville on June 16, 18, and 20, the festival will also present Metropolitan Opera star Will Liverman in a recital on June 19 at 7 p.m.

James Marvel directs The Barber of Seville, which pits the clever wit of the barber Figaro, portrayed by Andrew Garland, against a bumbling and greedy guardian, Dr. Bartolo, played by Steven Condy. The story is centered on Count Almaviva’s love for the beautiful Rosina, roles filled by popular returning Festival artists Nicholas Nestorak and Kelly Guerra. Remaining cast members include Festival veterans Eric Delagrange and Cody Müller, as well as Kaitlyn Costello-Fain and the Festival Opera Chorus. Princeton Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov conducts. more

THREE PREMIERES: American Repertory Ballet will present a new work by Amy Seiwert as part of the Premiere3 program at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, June 10-11.Shown are Annie Johnson, Shaye Firer, and Erikka Reenstierna-Cates in Amy Seiwert’s 2021 premiere “World, Interrupted.” (Photo by Eduardo Patino, NYC)

American Repertory Ballet (ARB) returns to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center June 10-11 with Premiere3, two new works by choreographers Ethan Stiefel and Amy Seiwert, and the company premiere of the Arthur Mitchell classic, Holberg Suite.

“Premiere3 offers our audiences three novel and assorted works that showcase the immense talents and heart of our dancers,” said Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel.  more

MUSIC FOR KIDS: Musician Laurie Berkner gives an encore performance at the 40th Annual New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning on July 28. (Photo by Jayme Thornton)

Princeton native Laurie Berkner will return for an encore performance at the 40th Annual New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning.

Berkner will give a family show at 1:30 p.m. on the festival’s opening day, Friday, July 28, at Solberg Airport, 39 Thor Solberg Road, Whitehouse Station.

“I am so honored to have been asked to perform at the NJ Lottery Festival of Ballooning this year as part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration,” said Berkner. “It is always such an amazing event and I’m sure this year is going to be particularly fantastic as we all celebrate this impressive milestone together.” more

MUSIC TO THE RESCUE: “Culture for Understanding and Tolerance” is the theme of the June 17 concert by Collegium Musicum NJ featuring pianist Phyllis Lehrer, left, and violinist Alexei Yavtuhovich at Nassau Presbyterian Church.

Collegium Musicum NJ continues its 2023 classical concert series at Nassau Presbyterian Church on June 17 at 5 p.m. The fifth concert in the series, it will feature violinist Alexei Yavtuhovich and pianist Phyllis Lehrer performing works by Mozart, Franck, Bartok, and other composers.

“We strongly believe our 2023 concert series ‘Culture for Understanding and Tolerance’ will enable our communities to better understand and enjoy each other’s unique national culture, traditions, and historical development through the performance of music along with presentations of other art forms,” said Yavtuhovich, who is president of the organization. more

“KINGFISHER/IRIS”: Bucks County artist Dean Thomas, creator of this color woodcut, will host a hands-on printmaking workshop on Saturday, June 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa.

The Phillips’ Mill Community Association will host an afternoon of hands-on printmaking instruction with award-winning Bucks County artist Dean Thomas of Sellersville, Pa., on Saturday, June 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. Following an overview of various printmaking techniques and a demonstration of the color reduction process, participants will design and cut a print block and produce their own prints with Thomas overseeing and assisting. more

“WATCHING CATS”: Work by local artist Cathy Dailey and others is featured at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center. The artist cooperative will host Art Groove, an evening art making party, on Friday, June 9 from 6 to 11 p.m.

Princeton Makes, a Princeton-based artist cooperative, will host Art Groove, an evening art making party, on Friday, June 9 from 6 to to 11 p.m. at its artist studios and art market in the Princeton Shopping Center.

Art Groove will feature creative activities for children and adults, artists working in their studio, video art screenings, a DJ, and live music provided by Jonah Tolchin and others, as well as a raffle in which people can win artwork from Princeton Makes artists. more

“FATHER’S DAY”: This oil on canvas painting by Sue Collier is featured in “Family Recollections,” on view June 17 through July 22 in the Taplin Gallery at the Arts Council of Princeton. An opening reception is on Saturday, June 17 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will present “Family Recollections,” an exhibition of figurative paintings from memory, imagination, and plein air by artist Sue Collier, in the Taplin Gallery June 17 through July 22. An opening reception is on Saturday, June 17 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Collier’s body of work showcases her intuitive understanding of the figure’s storytelling prowess. Vibrant colors dapple her pieces, charged with both an intimate emotion and a particularly American ethos.  more

MUSIC APPRECIATION: “At our Summer Festival, we try to broaden the participants’ minds by including various speakers and lecturers as well as pianists and piano pedagogues. All classes and events will be open to the public, and we hope everyone can visit us, see the metamorphosis of the young pianists, and experience beautiful music-making with us.” John Perry and Mina Hirobe-Perry, directors of the John Perry Academy of Music, are shown with Seiji, their 6-year-old son.

By Jean Stratton

“We are the music-makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams.”

—Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy

Something special will be available in July for all those who love to make music and for those who may be dreaming of doing so someday.

The John Perry Academy of Music (JPA) is scheduling its International Summer Music Festival July 2 through July 14 at The College of New Jersey, located at 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing Township.

It is the first time the prestigious event will take place in New Jersey. After many years in Los Angeles, John Perry and Mina Hirobe-Perry, directors of the Academy, have relocated to Princeton.

“A festival of this type offers the opportunity for the talented music student to immerse himself/herself in an intense music performance program without the distractions of other subjects, other classes, and all other competing demands on their time,” explains John Perry. “There is no question that one walks away from this experience greatly enriched and knowledgeable about the art of music.” more

LIGHTING IT UP: Members of the Princeton University women’s lightweight varsity 8 crew show off the spoils of victory after taking first in their grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta last Sunday on Mercer Lake. It marked the third straight national title for the Tiger top boat. The victory culminated a historic day for the Tiger women’s lightweights as their double sculls and varsity 4 also prevailed in their grand finals. Princeton won the team title at the event for the second straight year. (Photo by Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden=

Sarah Polson wasn’t sure how she would measure up after deciding to join the Princeton University women’s lightweight crew program.

“I didn’t even get recruited to Princeton, it was too much of a high shoot for me,” said Polson, a native of Chicago, Ill. “Thankfully I got into Princeton. I rowed in high school at CRF (Chicago Rowing Foundation) and when I came, I knew I wanted to walk on. I had no idea that I would be able to make the top boat.” more

MAKING NOISE: Members of the Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity 8 crew shout for joy after getting the hardware they earned for taking first in their grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta last weekend on Mercer Lake. The Tigers posted a winning time of 5:41.02 over the 2,000-meter course, 1.8 seconds in front of runner-up Harvard. The heroics by the top boat help Princeton win the team title and earn the IRA President’s Cup for the first time since 2010. (Photo by Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

One of the unique challenges in sports is performing your best when your best is required.

As the Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity 8 crew prepared to compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta last weekend on Mercer Lake, Marty Crotty was confident that his rowers were poised to achieve such an effort due to some focused training in the wake of taking first at the Eastern Sprints. more

ALL IN: Members of the Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity 8 crew, lying on the ground to the right, join the members of the Tiger men’s and women’s lightweight rowing programs last Sunday to celebrate their success at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta. The men’s heavyweights placed third in their grand final while both lightweight squads won national team titles in the competition which took place at Mercer Lake. (Photo by Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

After the members of the Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity 8 crew got their medals for taking third in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta last Sunday at Mercer Lake, they rushed off the stage en masse to pose for a group shot with the Tiger men’s and women’s lightweight rowers.

The scene of the heavyweights celebrating with the lightweight crews, who dominated their competition winning team titles and five grand finals, exemplified the special spirit that has developed among the Princeton rowers.

“Holy cow, what a day to be a Tiger,” said Princeton men’s heavyweight head coach Greg Hughes, whose team placed fourth in the team standings at the competition behind champion Cal, runner-up Washington, and Yale. “We always talk about how we are one boathouse, that we have the best boathouse in the country. Today is proof of that. For me, to be a part of that and the power of that, you can’t put a value on that.” more

FRESH APPROACH: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Garrett Mathewson makes a return in a recent match. Freshman Mathewson has starred at third singles in his debut campaign as PHS won the Mercer County Tournament and made it to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 final. The fourth-seeded Tigers, who fell 3-2 at second-seeded WW/P-South in the sectional final last Monday, ended the spring with a 14-2 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Garrett Mathewson is just a freshman, but he has brought plenty of savvy to the court for the Princeton High boys’ tennis team.

“I have played since I was very young; my mom was a bit tennis player, she is the one who really got me into the game,” said Mathewson, who took up the game at age five and started playing competitively at age 10. “I have had a long time playing matches. I have a lot of experience — each day I strive to get better.”

Last week, third singles star Mathewson played a very good match as fourth-seeded PHS hosted fifth-seeded WW/P-North in the quarterfinals of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 sectional, topping Jayant Venkatesan 6-2, 6-2 as the Tigers prevailed 5-0. more

FINAL SHOT: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Harry Bernardi gets ready to unload a shot as third-seeded PDS rolled to a 23-4 win over 14th-seeded Gloucester Catholic last week in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group B. Last Thursday, senior star Bernardi scored three goals to help PDS rally to a 16-14 win over sixth-seeded Holy Spirit in the Group B quarterfinals. The Panthers, who improved to 14-6 with the victory, were slated to play at second-seeded Rutgers Prep on June 6 in a semifinal contest with the winner advancing to the final on June 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Things looked bleak for the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team as it fell behind visiting Holy Spirit 7-2 in the first quarter of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group B quarterfinal last Thursday, but Harry Bernardi wasn’t fazed.

“We have been in this spot before,” said PDS senior attacker Bernardi. “The offense was doing their part. I knew it would shift into one of those games where the offense would dominate. I knew the defense would come back.”

In the second quarter, third-seeded PDS started to find a rhythm, narrowing the gap to 10-6 to sixth-seeded Holy Spirit at halftime. more

TOURNAMENT RUN: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Jesse Hollander sprints upfield in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior midfield Hollander tallied one goal and three assists to help third-seeded PDS defeat 14th-seeded Morris Catholic 18-4 in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group B tournament. On Saturday, Hollander chipped in two goals and two assists as the Panthers defeated sixth-seeded Villa Walsh 18-7 in a Group B quarterfinal contest. PDS, who improved to 13-7 with the win, was slated to play at second-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy on June 6 in a semifinal matchup with the victor advancing to the final on June 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jesse Hollander and her teammates on the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team had plenty of motivation as they hosted Morris Catholic last Wednesday in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group B tournament.

PDS was seeing its first action since getting knocked out of the Mercer County Tournament and Prep B state tourney a week and a half earlier and was playing its final game on Smoyer Field before its turf gets replaced. more

May 31, 2023

Presented by Spirit of Princeton, the annual Princeton Memorial Day Parade returned on Saturday morning with participants, including the Colonial Musketeers Fife and Drum Corps, shown here, marching down Nassau Street to Monument Plaza. The parade was followed by a ceremony at Monument Hall. Attendees discuss their Memorial Day weekend plans in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Sarah Teo)