June 15, 2022

By Donald Gilpin

Juneteenth, Freedom Day, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War, will be celebrated throughout the Princeton area with a variety of events from Friday, June 17 to Monday, June 20.

Celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s, Juneteenth, officially June 19, became a New Jersey state holiday in 2020 and a federal holiday in 2021.

“It’s one of those extraordinary stories,” said Donnetta Johnson, executive director of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) in Skillman, where an action-packed observance will take place on Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  “After people were emancipated it wasn’t until two years later that the word got to Galveston, Texas. A sergeant in the army saw that people were still enslaved and he couldn’t believe his eyes.”

On June 19, 1865 a Union Army general finally proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas. “It’s been a jubilant celebration of freedom,” Johnson continued. “Really America’s first celebration of freedom, because you can’t have freedom in a place that doesn’t have freedom. This is a great American holiday. Of course, the battle wasn’t over and still isn’t over, but this is an American expression of freedom. It’s very significant to the African American community and should be significant to all Americans.” more

“DO YOU REMEMBER?”: The Arts Council of Princeton is inviting the community to a “Naming Party” on Saturday, June 25 to help identify friends, family, and neighbors pictured in the collages of the late Witherspoon-Jackson artist Romus Broadway. (Photo courtesy of the Arts Council of Princeton)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton community is invited to a “Naming Party” and a trip down memory lane through the photographic collages of the late Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) artist Romus Broadway on Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP).

As part of a collaborative project with the Joint Effort Safe Streets Program, the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association, and Princeton University’s Special Collections, the gathering will allow participants to view Broadway’s photos and help to identify and preserve the names of friends, family, and community members pictured in his collages. Coffee, pastries, and lunch will be served at this free event.

Princeton Councilman Leighton Newlin reflected on the legacy of Broadway, who died in 2020, and on the upcoming Naming Party.

“Romus is gone, but his pictures are still here,” said Newlin. “He and they continue to tell the story that documents the rich history of a great neighborhood. Who knows? This gathering could inspire the next storyteller.”

He continued, “Saturday, June 25 will be special because people will be able to review Romus’ work and help the curators identify the people who are in the pictures that he took. Some will see themselves; others will see members of their family. Everybody will see somebody they know.”

Broadway’s collages and other photographs have been on display at various events at the ACP, church services, schools, and community programs over the years. Princeton University has purchased a large collection of his work.

Maria Evans, ACP artistic director and a W-J resident, came up with an idea for creating public artwork using vinyl banners to display the collages, and she and ACP Executive Director Adam Welch approached Jennifer Garcon, librarian for modern and contemporary special collections at Princeton University.

“She loved the idea,” said Welch. “The Department of Special Collections is digitizing the collages and sending those digital versions to us, and we are getting permission to do this banner project.”  more

SUMMER MUSIC: Maestro Rossen Milanov and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra acknowledged the applause after a recent performance at the Princeton Festival.

By Anne Levin

The Princeton Festival’s ambitious 2022 season, most of which is taking place under a 10,000-square-foot  tent on the grounds of Morven, is midway through its run of classical music, jazz, opera, and more. So far, so good, said Marc Uys, the executive director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO), which merged with the Princeton Festival earlier this year.

“It was a lot of work to get ready, and we did it with minutes to spare on opening night,” Uys said this week. “We had perfect weather and an extraordinary performance by Storm Large. It was so amazing to see so many happy faces, and that has been the pattern since then. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed, which is exactly what we wanted.”

In previous years, the festival presented events at multiple venues throughout town. Consolidating most of the performances in the tent, under one “roof,” (a few Baroque concerts are across the road at Trinity Episcopal Church) is a good thing, said Uys. But the variety of offerings means the seating configurations have to be frequently changed. Opera needs one setup, chamber music needs another. The PSO, cabaret, and jazz nights require still other settings.

“It’s a lot, but we have a terrific team of ushers and crew,” said Uys. “We have hired them for the season, from all over. A number of them are members of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey (YOCJ), and they will be on stage for the final concert.” more

By Donald Gilpin

In a climate of increasing gun violence and school shootings throughout the country, Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Carol Kelley sent an email message to PPS families earlier this month, reporting on enhanced safety measures and plans for strengthening security at the district’s six schools.

The plans, which are already in the works, include training programs for students, teachers, staff, and administration; closer ties with the Princeton Police Department (PPD); expanded roles for building monitors and safety teams at each school; as well as more stringent access control and visitor policies. 

Top priorities seem to be enhanced communication at all levels throughout the schools and an increased emphasis on addressing problems before they expand.

“The best way to approach school safety is to resolve issues before they become a crisis,” Kelley wrote.  “Being alert for potential problems, knowing students personally, and providing a scaffolding of mental health supports is part of the safety process.”

Kelley noted that some schools, including Princeton High School, were planning to expand safety teams to include more school counselors.

“At the school level, we are planning a regular cadence of meetings for our School Safety Teams in each school,” she added. She pointed out that PPS Coordinator of Student Health and Safety Corey Laramore has been reviewing safety procedures and collaborating with the PPD.

Among the enhanced security measures she cited were an improved system provided by Raptor Technologies for identifying visitors and controlling access to the buildings; ongoing review of safety evacuation plans and procedures on 911 emergency calls; a PPD officer in attendance at District Safety Team meetings; and additional  safety training for building monitors and district representatives with the PPD and with the New Jersey Department of Education. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Will you still be sending me a valentine?
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?”

—from The Lyrics

Paul McCartney, who wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four” when he was “twenty-four-ish,” will be 80, that’s e-i-g-h-t-y, this Saturday, June 18, 2022.

Recalling one of his best-known songs in The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Liveright 2021), which includes 154 first-person commentaries that poet Paul Muldoon compiled and edited from 50 hours of conversation, McCartney says he’d already worked out the melody by the time he “was about sixteen; it was one of my little party pieces, and when we were on the lookout for songs for The Beatles, I thought it would be quite good to put words to it. The melody itself has something of a music hall feel.”

With Muldoon on board, you’ve got the makings of a music hall act of sorts (McCartney & Muldoon), with Muldoon, a songwriter himself, making sure the commentary brings in the lady who played piano at old people’s homes and hoped Mr. McCartney didn’t mind that she’d updated the song to “When I’m Eighty-Four …. Sometimes even “When I’m Ninety-Four.”  more

“THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS”: Princeton Festival has opened its 2022 season with Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Above: Soloist Storm Large, left, and vocal quartet Hudson Shad were accompanied by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, which also performed Rodion Shchedrin’s “Carmen Suite.” Rossen Milanov, right, conducted the concert. (Photo by Carolo Pascale)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Princeton Festival has opened its 2022 season with The Seven Deadly Sins. The June 10 concert featured acclaimed singer and actor Storm Large, and vocal quartet Hudson Shad. The vocalists were accompanied by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, which completed the program with Carmen Suite. The performance took place in a large tent on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden.

The entire program was conducted by the orchestra’s Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov. This concert marks the first collaboration between Princeton Festival and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra since the two organizations merged last year.

The Seven Deadly Sins (1933) is a ballet chanté (“sung ballet”) composed by Kurt Weill (1900-1950), The work marks Weill’s final collaboration with playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), whose German libretto has been translated into English by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman.

Edward James, a wealthy British poet, commissioned the work. James stipulated that it must include his wife, dancer Tilly Losch, whom he thought to resemble singer Lotte Lenya (Weill’s wife), for whom the composer was writing the piece.

This resulted in the core concept of a split-personality plot, in which Anna I (the singer) obeys the demands of her family (an all-male vocal quartet). Anna II (the dancer) initially is resistant, though she reluctantly defers to Anna I.

The title ironically refers to the fact that the wholesome, idealistic Anna II is perceived as committing the “sins,” and is redirected by the worldly Anna I. The piece, which premiered in Paris the year that the Nazis rose to power, can be viewed as a meditation on authoritarian indoctrination.

Since 2013, Large has been one of the composition’s foremost interpreters, having sung it at Carnegie Hall in the first of several performances with the Detroit Symphony. In performing the work, Large has been collaborating with Hudson Shad since the 2014 Ojai Music Festival. more

By Nancy Plum

Talk about the rooms where things happen. Princeton Festival presented two one-act operas this past weekend, each taking place in a single room, but the amount of action in that one space captivated the audience in the Festival’s new home at Morven Museum & Gardens.

Princeton Festival has always included opera as part of its month-long season of activities, and this year, there are two presentations — a double bill of two shorter operas and a full-length work by English composer Benjamin Britten. What has changed is the venue for these events; rather than being inside a large hall, the Festival constructed a 500-seat state-of-the-art performance tent at Morven Museum & Garden to create a “performing arts extravaganza.” With the singers, orchestra pit, and audience all under one tent, this is a new experience for Princeton Festival attendees.

The Festival’s opera series opened this past Saturday night with a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Impresario and Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg, and although these two comedic operas may seem to be unrelated, they were tied together by plotlines involving very strong and influential personalities, both fictional and real. Mozart’s 1786 Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario) has been described as a parody on the vanity of singers who argue over just about everything, but mainly money. This comic singspiel, with as much spoken dialog as sung music, may have only contained four arias, but the musical material was as technically complex as Mozart’s more monumental works.

Featuring only five characters (one of which was a speaking role), The Impresario took place in a fictional theatrical office in Vienna, where a hapless opera producer struggled with a conniving stage manager, underhanded banker, diva well past her prime and scheming up-and-coming singer over the potential success of a new opera. Princeton Festival’s production, which opened last Friday night (with additional performances the following Sunday and this coming week), was presented in English, accompanied by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra led by Music Director Rossen Milanov. more

MUSIC IN THE COURTYARD: Fusing folk, rock, and funk, John Gilbride & Friends are newcomers to the Summer Nights Series of outdoor concerts at the Princeton Shopping Center. The band performs August 4.

Princeton Public Library has teamed up once again with the Princeton Shopping Center to bring a series of free concerts to the community this summer. Held in the courtyard of the shopping center, the Summer Nights series of concerts will take place on Thursday evenings in July and August, from 6-8 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket.

“Thursday nights at the Princeton Shopping Center are going to be filled with the sounds of summer and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Janie Hermann, manager of adult programs at the library. “Audiences will be delighted by the lineup of familiar favorites along with some wonderful new acts to discover. We hope everyone will mark their calendars and come out to gather with their families and neighbors and enjoy the Summer Nights series.”

The series kicks off July 7 when the Grace Little Band, an area favorite, presents classic hits. Rock ‘n’ roll cover band Kindred Spirit will appear on July 14. July 21 features the American blues duo essie + nap, and the horn-based Diablo Sandwich Band performs familiar dance and party songs on July 28.  more

The cast of “Albert Herring,” Benjamin Britten’s comic opera about a reluctant king and his pushy mother, is shown in rehearsal for the Princeton Festival’s production to be held under a tent at Morven Museum June 17 and 19, with Princeton Symphony Orchestra conductor Rossen Milanov on the podium. Cast members include local talent from Westminster Choir College and Westrick Music Academy, along with professionals from the U.S. and Europe. For tickets, visit princetonsymphony.org/festival.

PAYING TRIBUTE: Legendary entertainer Paul Anka comes to the State Theatre New Jersey on June 22 with “Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way,” in honor of his longtime friend Frank Sinatra.

The newly renovated State Theatre New Jersey presents Paul Anka in Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way on Wednesday, June 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$95.

This tour will feature Anka paying tribute to his friend, one of the greatest entertainers ever to take the stage: Frank Sinatra. “The Anka Sings Sinatra tour will honor a great artist who has influenced me more than anyone else throughout my career, Frank Sinatra,” said Anka. “This show will also feature the hits that have spanned my career on this 65th anniversary year. It will be a night filled with his songs, my songs, my way!”

In 2021, Anka released a new album called Making Memories, a new collection of reimagined classics and new recordings. Making Memories features a duet with Olivia Newton-John, and also a newly reimagined version of his 1957 hit, “You Are My Destiny,” which Anka performs with the multi-national classical crossover vocal group Il Divo.  more

MCCARTER HONORS MORRISON: A special tribute to Toni Morrison is among the cultural events planned for McCarter Theatre’s upcoming season.

McCarter Theatre has announced its 2022-23 season featuring a lineup of theater, music, dance, comedy, spoken word, and family programming, plus a special Toni Morrison project in partnership with Princeton University.

In September the season kicks off with The Wolves, a play by Sarah DeLappe, directed by McCarter’s Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen, about a young women’s competitive high school soccer team. More theater includes Between Two Knees, a comedy and first play by The 1491s, best known for the hit FX’s series Reservation Dogs.

McCarter’s holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, will return December 7-24. Tickets are now on sale. more

“TURNED AWAY”: This oil on canvas painting by Alan Goldstein is part of “(re)Frame: Community Perspectives on the Michener Art Collection,” on view June 18 through March 5, 2023, at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.

The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., presents “(re)Frame: Community Perspectives on the Michener Art Collection,” on view June 18 through March 5, 2023.

The exhibition is a museum-wide initiative inviting multiple viewpoints based on culturally specific interpretations. Applying new lenses to Michener’s collection, guest curators and visitors will explore artworks’ social and environmental contexts beyond academic Euro-American art history.

“Each person’s personal experience, cultural background, and professional and scholarly interests influence how they understand a work of art and we want to embrace these varied interpretations,” said Laura Turner Igoe, Michener’s chief curator. “There are many ways to look at an artwork.”

Eight guest curators — Joe Baker, Reg Hoyt, TK Smith, and youth members of Doylestown’s Rainbow Room — have selected works from the Michener’s permanent collection to reveal new stories about identity and the environment in the Delaware Valley region. Historical and contemporary art selected by the curators include works by Diane Burko, Daniel Garber, Elaine Galen, Alan Goldstein, Richard Kemble, Harry Leith-Ross, Joan W. Lindley, Jan Lipes, Tim Portlock, Herbert Pullinger, Edward W. Redfield, William A. Smith, Robert Spencer, Dox Thrash, and William Earle Williams, some of which have never been on view.  more

“WORDLESS AURORA”: This photograph from David Ackerman’s “Sky Light” series is featured in “A Different Look,” on view June 18 through July 17 at Gallery 14 Fine Art Photography Gallery in Hopewell.

Gallery 14 Fine Art Photography Gallery in Hopewell presents “A Different Look,” an exhibit featuring the works of gallery members David Ackerman of Hopewell; Mary Leck of Monroe; Bennett Povlow of Elkins Park, Pa.; Barbara Warren of Yardley, Pa.; and special guest Daniel Goldberg of Quechee, Vt.; on view June 18 through July 17. Each artist has a different way of exploring and recording their photographic journeys. An artists’ reception will be held on July 9 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Ackerman points his camera skyward for his series “Sky Light.” He explores the shapes and colors of light from the sky using astrophotography and other techniques to capture the beauty of the heavens. A grand beauty that invites us to consider objects at the edge of and beyond our daily world.

Trees have fascinated Leck since, as a child, she climbed the apple tree in her yard. Perhaps it was the skinned knees that made her want to explore the textures in the series “Tree Bark Discovered.” These shots capture a special beauty of the smooth and rough tree coverings, often accentuated by light and color. more

MAKING A STATEMENT: “We have many choices at our shop, a little bit of everything, including clothes, accessories, and gifts. From candles and jewelry to smudging kits, clothing, and handbags, we make gifting easy. You can do more than one thing here — buy something special for yourself or a welcome gift for someone else.” Brooke Ciali, owner of Statements Boutique, is shown enjoying the shop’s opening day, surrounded by an eclectic, engaging array of products.

By Jean Stratton

Charm, vitality, and freshness highlight Statements Boutique, the special women’s shop at 195 Nassau Street.

Filled with options and opportunities, it offers choices to dress for success, dress to impress, and certainly to make a statement — always with comfort the key, and with the customer’s individuality and style the main priority.

“We are set apart by our look,” explains owner Brooke Ciali. “It’s sort of a trending vibe. Something new and different. We have all independent designers from the U.S., and we emphasize eco-friendly items and sustainability. We always take into consideration the customer’s unique style and find what is best for her.

“Our styles are informal to dressy, with dresses, tops, blouses, T-shirts, sweaters, and also jeans and tights. We have shoes, including sneakers and flip-flops, and a full range of accessories: belts, hats, scarves, and lots and lots of jewelry.” more

SUDDEN SAM: Princeton University men’s track star Sam Ellis working on his form last week at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Senior Ellis ended his Princeton career on a high note, taking third in the 1,500 meters. In the team standings, the Tigers placed seventh, the best finish at the meet in program history and the highest for an Ivy League team since Yale took third in 1950. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Sam Ellis was looking to make up for lost opportunities this year.

After the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and taking a gap year because of the uncertainties of the 2021 spring season, the Princeton University senior did so last week in his first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Ellis came on strong in the home stretch to finish third in the men’s 1,500 meters in 3:45.82 Friday at the University of Oregon.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Ellis, who earned All-America honors. “I think if you had told me I was going to get third the day before or any day in the last year leading up to this meet, I would have been pretty thrilled and satisfied with that. But I think just the nature of track and field, and how our sport works, as soon as you cross the finish line, you’re thinking about all the little things and the minutiae of the race and how you could have been just a little bit better.”

Ellis scored big points for the Tigers as the highest finisher on the track, with senior Ed Trippas (fifth in steeplechase) and freshman Sam Rodman (seventh in 800 meters) also scoring. In the field events, junior Sondre Guttormsen won the men’s pole vault, just as he had won the indoor NCAA title this year. Guttormsen soared over 5.75 meters to win. His brother, junior Simen Guttormsen, took fourth in the pole vault when he tied his personal record of 5.65 meters. The 27 points scored landed Princeton in seventh place, the best finish in program history and the highest for an Ivy League team since Yale took third in 1950.

“Without a doubt, we’re the best Ivy team in history,” said Ellis, a native of Decatur, Ga. “It’s not close. Just the fact that track is pretty much at its pinnacle, it’s so competitive now. There are kids from all over the world in NCAA. Four of the favorites in the 1,500 were a Belgium guy, a Spanish guy, a Kenyan guy and a Moroccan guy. I would call it almost on par with the U.S. national championships. I think my rank in the U.S. in terms of time, was higher than it was in the NCAA. There’s always going to be some top guys in the U.S. that are going to vie for that Olympic spot, but I think the NCAA is just as deep as any country is to make the Olympic team.” more

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Grace Rebak, left, runs past two foes in action this spring. Senior star Rebak’s all-around play was a spark for PHS as it went 12-6. Rebak led the Tigers in assists (38), ground balls (63), and draw controls (69). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team ended the spring on a down note with an 11-4 loss to Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the first round of the North Jersey Group 3 sectional, there were plenty of highlights along the way as the program produced another superb campaign.

Katie Federico, who guided the team in 2022 with head coach Meg Dunleavy out on maternity leave, credited her players with battling to the end.

“I told the girls, success is what you make of it,” said Federico, a veteran assistant coach for the program who led the Tigers to a 12-6 record and the Mercer County Tournament semifinals.

“To me, success is not the wins or losses, it is did you play your best, did you give 110 percent on the field and they did. To me, it was a successful season.”

In Federico’s view, one of the squad’s most intense efforts came in a 10-9 loss to powerhouse Lawrenceville on April 6.

“The fire that they had in them for Lawrenceville was like nothing I had ever seen before,” said Federico.

“The pride that the girls felt when they came off the field that day only losing by one was amazing.”

Sparked by that competitive fire, PHS posted a number of impressive wins. more

BIG FINISH: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Kaitlyn Magnani sprints upfield in a game this spring. Senior star Magnani ended her Stuart career with a bang, tallying six goals and an assist as Stuart defeated Hamilton West 16-10 in its season finale on May 12. The win gave Stuart a 6-8 final record as it caught fire down the stretch after a 1-5 start. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team got off to a 1-5 start this spring, it would have been understandable if the players had gotten discouraged.

Instead, Stuart saved its best for last, winning five of its last eight games to end the season with a 6-8 record.

Stuart head coach Mark Maser was proud of how his team stuck with things down the stretch.

“You change one loss to a win and we would have had a .500 season,” said Maser whose team topped Burlington City 16-6 on May 10 and then ended the season on a high note with a 16-10 win over Hamilton West two days later. “Our expectations are tempered. We look for the little victories in everything, that is the way we play the game.”

In reflecting on the late surge, Maser attributed continuity and good goalie play as key factors.

“The biggest progress was that we got to play lacrosse without COVID interrupting,” said Maser. “One kid would get sick last year and then you would quarantine three others. It was that type of thing. We had two dedicated goalies in Lauren Gracias and Alex Mandzij and that helped us.”

The production of sensational freshman Allison Lee proved to be a big help for the Tartans, tallying 84 points on 66 goals and 18 assists. more

GOING FOUR IT: Zahrion Blue heads to the hoop last year for Loyaltees in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Former Princeton High standout and current Lincoln University star Blue led the way as Loyaltees won its third straight summer hoops title last year, getting named as both the playoff and regular season MVP. Blue and Loyaltees will be going for a fourth straight crown this summer. The league is tipping off its 33rd year of action with a triple-header at Community Park on June 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

A throng of hundreds jammed the Community Park courts last July as Loyaltees edged Majeski Foundation to win the championship of the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League, capping a triumphant return for the league after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Building on the momentum from the rebound campaign, the league is primed for another big summer as it tips off its 33rd year of action with a triple-header at Community Park on June 15.

The league has grown to 10 teams from eight last year and the action figures to be heated with an intriguing mix of stalwarts and newcomers vying for the crown.

“We have a great reputation, the word is out that if you want to play some good basketball in the summer, Community Park and the Princeton Summer League is the place to be,” said Evan Moorhead, executive director of the Rec Department and longtime summer hoops commissioner.

“It is the first time since 2015 that we have had 10 teams. On paper, this should be a very competitive season. I don’t see any weak links. From what everybody has told me, they have been out there recruiting and trying to stack their roster with some talent. I think it will be reflective of that when we get to the season.”

Led by team manager and former Princeton High standout Davon Black, Loyaltees is fired up to go for a title four-peat.

“Davon has told me that he has the same crew, he has added one or two,” said Moorhead. “He picked up David Rodriguez, who graduated from The College of New Jersey this past year. They have got Zahrion Blue (a former PHS star) who is the reigning regular season and playoff MVP.  He is clearly the best returning player in the league and it is probably not close after the way he was playing at the end of last year. He had a great college season at Lincoln University in which he earned (Division II HBCU) All-American recognition. I am expecting him to have a big season. It is his home court, he has been playing there since he was kid.” more

HEADS OF STATE: Members of Princeton FC’s Barcelona 2006 team celebrate after they won the New Jersey Youth Soccer President’s Cup last month. PFC defeated the Clifton Stallion Turf Boys 3-1 in the final at Marlboro. The squad will now compete in the U.S. Youth Soccer (USYS) Regionals in Barboursville, W.Va., starting on June 17. The team includes Jacob Battoglia, Azariah Breitman, Zach Brunell, Brian Donis, Paras Goswami, Connor Hewitt, Izayah Huynh, Kyle Ingersoll, Zeb Jerdonek, Matthew Kim, Chris Lee, Ashwin Lobo, Felipe Matar Grandi, Nick Matese, Francis Savard, Archie Smith, Brandon Urias, Calvin Hopkins, and Liam Kennedy. (Photo provided courtesy of PFC)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton FC’s Barcelona 2006 team was thrilled to win the U.S. Club State Cup last year, it turned its eyes to another prize this season.

The squad was determined to raise its level of play to win the New Jersey Youth Soccer President’s Cup.

“It was nice to win the state cup but they knew that this is a little bit higher competition and they can progress,” said PFC Barcelona head coach Milen Nikolov.

The squad, which is comprised of players from Princeton High and Montgomery High with some of them having been playing together since the U8 level, showed its competitive fire as it produced a stirring run to earn the President’s Cup.

PFC Barcelona started the competition by falling behind Escuela FC 2006 B 1-0 but rallied to a 3-1 win with goals by Kyle Ingersoll, Archie Smith, and Azariah Breitman. In its second round contest, PFC visited Cherry Hill FC Premier Barca and yielded a goal early in the second half to go down 1-0. Once again, PFC Barcelona battled back as Brandon Urias, Felipe Matar Grandi, and Nick Matese found the back of the net to prevail 3-1. In the third round, PFC Barcelona topped the NJ Santos Rush 2006 B Black squad 2-0 as Urias tallied both goals in the victory.

“Those come from behind wins really helped the boys build their confidence especially the second one, the Cherry Hill game,” said Nikolov. “That was exciting.”

Before it headed into the semifinals of that competition, PFC suffered a rare setback as it lost to Ironbound 2-0 in 2OTs in the State Cup, a loss which only increased its hunger for victory when it hit the pitch to go for the President’s Cup. more

June 8, 2022

The Princeton Community Pride Picnic on Friday evening celebrated Princeton’s LGBTQIA+ community with music, games, art, yoga, giveaways, and more in the courtyard at the Princeton Shopping Center. Participants share what brought them to the event in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With a focus on mourning the lives lost in recent mass shootings and advocating to halt the surging epidemic of gun violence, Princeton will be hosting a rally at Hinds Plaza next to the Princeton Public Library on Saturday, June 11 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), the rally is part of a Day of Action taking place in about 500 locations around the country and coordinated by March for Our Lives, the student-led gun violence prevention group formed following the 2018 Parkland, Fla., mass shooting.

“Our nation has been traumatized by the brutal, senseless killing of so many innocents in mass shootings in recent weeks,” said CFPA Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore. “We invite everyone to come together to mourn, but even more important, be empowered to unite to stop and reverse the surging epidemic of gun violence across our nation.”

In addition to Moore, speakers and performers at the rally will include Teska Frisbee, Mercer County gun violence prevention lead for Moms Demand Action; Rabbi Arnold Gluck from Temple Beth-El of Hillsborough; musician Sharleen Leahy; Dolores Phillips, legislative director of CFPA’s Ceasefire NJ Project; gun violence survivor Sue Repko; Laura Zurfluh, coordinator of Indivisible Cranbury; and New Jersey State Sen. Andrew Zwicker.

In a phone conversation on Monday, Moore discussed ongoing efforts to curb gun violence in the wake of a surge of mass shootings averaging nearly two per day and a total of 45,000 gun deaths in the past year.

Moore pointed out that Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed a package of eight new gun. safety laws, including bills to strengthen firearm storage laws, to reform the gun permitting system, to promote micro stamping technology, and to hold irresponsible gun industry members accountable. more

DEDICATED TO DEMOCRACY: Laura Wooten strolled on the Princeton campus in 2018 with two of her grandsons who work at the University: Isaac Love III, left, a custodian in building services, and Caasi Love, right, assistant director of finance and planning in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The University has announced that a campus building will be named Laura Wooten Hall effective July 1. (Photo by Mark Czajkowski)

By Donald Gilpin

A Princeton University building will be renamed in honor of former Princeton and Lawrence Township resident Laura Wooten, who has been recognized as the longest serving election poll worker in the country.

Intended to honor Wooten’s  contributions and to emphasize the importance of civic engagement at all levels, the naming of Laura Wooten Hall was approved by Princeton’s Board of Trustees and announced, appropriately, on Monday, just one day before yesterday’s New Jersey Primary Election Day. The naming was recommended to the trustees by the Council of the Princeton University Community Committee on Naming, which is made up of faculty, staff, student, and alumni representatives.

“I am grateful to the naming committee for this inspiring recommendation, and I am delighted that Princeton will honor Laura Wooten for her extraordinary contributions to our nation and the democratic process,” said Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “The addition of Laura Wooten’s name to the tapestry of our campus will recognize Princeton’s history, the breadth of our community, and the positive impact that one remarkable person can have through lifelong dedication to public service and civic values.”

Wooten, who worked in campus dining at Princeton University for more than 27 years and also worked as a nurse’s aide at Princeton Medical Center and as a teaching assistant at Community Park School, volunteered at local, primary, and general election polls in New Jersey for 79 years, up until her death in 2019 at the age of 98.  more

PRIDE ON PARADE: The Princeton Pride Parade is back this year, on June 18 at 11 a.m., for the first time in person since this 2019 inaugural event that drew 3,000 people into the streets of Princeton. (Photo courtesy of Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Pride Parade is back in person this year, on Saturday, June 18, starting from the Municipal Building at 400 Witherspoon Street at 11 a.m. and proceeding to the YMCA field on Paul Robeson Place for an afterparty.

Organized by the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ), this year’s Pride Parade will be in person for the first time since 2019, when Princeton’s first-ever Pride Parade drew more than 3,000 people. Virtual pride parade events in the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years attracted more than 25,000 online viewers, according to BRCSJ Chief Activist Robt Martin Seda-Schreiber.

“We invite all to join us as our LGBTQIA community and their friends, allies, and families (chosen or otherwise) march, dance, roll, stroll, and sashay through the historic Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood to end up at a fabulous afterparty at the Princeton Y,” Seda-Schreiber wrote in an email. “What better way to walk the walk (both literally and figuratively) of inclusivity and intersectionality than to bring together all of our beautifully diverse folk in Princeton and the greater community!”

Leading the festivities as grand marshal of the Princeton Pride Parade will be Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka, television and Broadway actor and director and the proprietor of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street. Muraoka recently won the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Children’s Programming” for Sesame Street’s Family Day episode, which introduced the first family on the show to include two gay fathers. more

GARDEN VARIETY: Between the hidden garden tours hosted by Trenton’s Old Mill Hill Society and Lambertville’s Kalmia Club, both on Saturday, June 11, a total of 30 gardens will be on view. Shown is a lush backyard retreat from last year’s Mill Hill tour. (Photo by Jeffrey Tryon)

By Wendy Greenberg

Views of backyard retreats with lush landscapes and creative uses of outdoor spaces will be plentiful on Saturday, June 11 when the Old Mill Hill Society in Trenton and Kalmia Club in Lambertville both reveal selected “hidden gardens” tucked behind historic and contemporary homes as part of their annual tours.

The Kalmia Club’s 24th Annual Hidden Gardens of Lambertville Tour is a self-guided tour running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, starting at the historic pink Kalmia Clubhouse at 39 York Street in Lambertville.

The Old Mill Hill Society (OMHS) is again offering its annual Hidden Gardens tour from 12 to 5 p.m., also rain or shine. Both events showcase a variety of home architectural styles, spaces, and ages of homes and gardens.

“It’s a mixture of well-established and newer gardens,” said OMHS President Tom Griffith, who noted the tour is his personal favorite Mill Hill event. “There are a couple of hidden, older, very beautifully-maintained gardens that have been growing for 20 to 30 years, and there is also a work in progress — new residents who have started a garden on what was once an overgrown lot.” more

By Anne Levin

At its June 2 meeting, Princeton’s Planning Board voted in favor of a request by the Hun School to rezone two properties from R-2 (residential) to E-4 (educational). The matter will next be taken up by Princeton Council.

The two properties are the Mall, an open green space to be kept undeveloped in perpetuity; and the Mason House lot, which was formerly the headmaster’s home. It is no longer needed as a residence because the headmaster now lives in a house that was donated to the school by the late Betty Wold Johnson.

The school used the Mason House recently for academic support, in order to increase space for the campus infirmary during the COVID-19 pandemic. The zoning change would allow academic support uses, including a visual arts center and a new home for the Office of Institutional Advancement. The rezoning would allow for a greater floor area ratio (FAR), which would give the school more space to meet local regulations for additions, or improvements to existing facilities.

The request was originally endorsed by the Planning Board and referred to Council last year. But when the governing body voted on whether to adopt it, no final decision was reached because the vote was a tie, and the procedure to follow was unclear. After researching proper procedure, municipal attorney Trishka Cecil concluded the following day that the ordinance had been defeated. more