December 15, 2021

HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS: HomeFront case managers Elijah Hockett and Victoria Irizarry hang a wreath on the front door of one of HomeFront’s 16 new permanent rental homes for low-income families on Lynwood Avenue in Hamilton. (Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

By Donald Gilpin

Homelessness in Mercer County and throughout the nation is expected to rise sharply when the federal eviction moratorium for low-income families ends on January 1, 2022, but HomeFront is stepping up to help take care of local families in need.

HomeFront has recently selected 16 local families by lottery from 230 who applied to move into newly-built rental homes on Lynwood Avenue in Hamilton. HomeFront now manages 125 affordable, permanent, service-enriched units throughout the county, where local low- and middle-income families pay one-third of their incomes in rent.

The 16 new apartments were built by HomeFront’s sister agency Homes by TLC, in partnership with public and private grants.

In a December holiday appeal, HomeFront CEO Connie Mercer warned of difficult days ahead for Mercer County’s low-income residents, with the cost of living rising and the federal eviction moratorium ending on January 1. “We are bracing for a true crisis. Four thousand renter households in our community are facing eviction,” she wrote. “We have already seen a significant increase in the need for food, essentials, and other critical support. This comes on the heels of already almost two years of expanding our services to meet the unprecedented need caused by the pandemic.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

I was fortunate enough to meet him and chat about songwriting.”

— Paul McCartney

They changed my life.” That was my response to an email from a friend asking: “So the Beatles trump Sondheim?” She was referring to my reviews of Get Back, the book and the film, written at a time when the cultural media was dominated by tributes and remembrances in the aftermath of the composer’s death. I explained that Sondheim’s work was virtually unknown to me, while I’d been living in the music of the Beatles since the mid-1960s. But “changed my life” was too easy to say, too facile, and my friend was uneasy using “trump” (“can we still use that word?”), a verb I’ve been avoiding for the past five years.

Word choice is on my mind at the moment because I’m reading Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions (Scarecrow Press 2005), a series of his conversations with Library of Congress music specialist Mark Eden Horowitz. And now that I think of it, the theatre, which had also been “virtually unknown” to me when Sondheim was making his name there, had as much to do with changing my life as the Fab Four. It happened during Ray Bolger’s captivating song and dance sing-along show-stopper, “Once in Love With Amy,” at the St. James Theatre. The show was Where’s Charlie?, and I’d just turned 10. A few years later, I saw Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner in The King and I and had the good fortune to be in the house when Shirley MacLaine made her the-star-broke-a-leg debut at a matinee of The Pajama Game.

More to the point, after seeing the original Broadway production of West Side Story, I lived in the cast album, singing along with and without it for years. I had no idea at the time that the lyrics playing on the soundtrack of my life — “Somewhere,” “Maria,” “Tonight,” “America,” and the others — had been written by someone named Stephen Sondheim. Yet it seems that the lines I knew by heart are the ones he said he’s “embarrassed by” in a February 2020 interview on 60 Minutes. As an example, he cites the duet “Tonight.” When Tony sings, “Today the world was just an address, a place for me to live in,” Sondheim thinks it sounds like this “street kid” has been “reading too much.” He then goes on to admit “that’s not true for a lot of people who find it a very good line and enjoy it.” But “if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t write that line …. I know better now.”

Although the musicological terminology in Sondheim’s conversations with Horowitz can be hard to follow, it’s offset by the composer’s personable, down to earth way of expressing himself: “When I feel I’m getting stale,” he says, “I go into sharp keys because they’re so foreign and scary.” Asked about the small red arrows on a manuscript, he explains that it signifies “what I like … after I’ve written down as many ideas as I can, and I feel as though I’m ready to give birth, I’ll go back over it and decide what it is I really want to remember and try to preserve.” more

“WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME”: The North American tour of “What the Constitution Means to Me” has played at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre (December 7-12). Directed by Oliver Butler, the play depicts a debate between Jocelyn Shek (left) and playwright Heidi Schreck (Cassie Beck, right) about the merits — and deserved fate — of the Constitution. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The North American tour of What the Constitution Means to Me has played at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre December 7-12. Heidi Schreck’s play, which depicts a debate over the merits — and deserved fate — of the founding document, pulled the enthusiastic opening-night audience into the argument.

Schreck drew inspiration from a series of debates in which she participated as a teenager, giving speeches on what the Constitution meant to her. Money awarded at these contests helped pay Schreck’s college tuition. The play is set at one of the American Legion’s oratorical contests (in Wenatchee, Wash., where the playwright was raised).

A finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, What the Constitution Means to Me was commissioned by True Love Productions; the 2017 debut at the Wild Project in New York was followed by a West Coast premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. An off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop was followed by the 2019 Broadway production.

For much of the play the debate about the Constitution appears to be internal. Initially Schreck re-enacts her debate performance from the point of view of her 15-year-old self; although aware of injustice, she believes in the Constitution. (“I loved it. I was a zealot,” she recalls.) Later, as she learns more about the history of the country — and the women in her family — the adult Schreck angrily disowns her youthful idealism, rejecting long-ingrained beliefs.  more

CLASS AND CONVERSATION: Students at Princeton Ballet School’s upcoming Winter Intensive will not only take class with past and present ballet stars; they will hear them interviewed and have a chance to ask them questions.

By Anne Levin

A focused series of classes in ballet and musical theater will bring a roster of well-known artists to the studios of Princeton Ballet School next month. From January 3-6, experienced dance students ages 12-22 can study technique with such notables as Stella Abrera, Gillian Murphy, Ethan Stiefel, Aydmara Cabrera, Da’ Von Doane, and Michael Mindlin.

Each session will end with an interview and discussion period, where students are encouraged to ask questions about the high points and hurdles involved in a professional dance career. Called “Dance Anew in 2022,” the series was organized by Murphy, who balances her work as a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) with artistic associate at American Repertory Ballet (ARB), the company with which Princeton Ballet School is affiliated. She and her husband, ARB artistic director Stiefel, are the parents of a toddler son.

“I reached out to some friends and professional peers of mine who I knew would inspire the dancers,” Murphy said. “Stella (Abrera) was one of the first people I contacted. She’s not only my best friend, but she was a gorgeous artist with ABT. She is very versatile. I knew that in addition to teaching wonderful classes, she’d also be chatting with the students, sharing her insights about how to show up and make the most of every opportunity.”

Murphy has been a member of ABT since 1996, and became a principal dancer in 2002. Abrera joined the company the same year as Murphy, and was the company’s first Filipina principal dancer. She retired in 2020 and is now the artistic director of Kaatsbaan, the cultural park in upstate New York. more

JAZZ PIANIST: Princeton resident Larry Fuller brings his trio to the Morris Museum in Morristown next month. For tickets, visit morrismuseum.org.

The Larry Fuller Trio performs at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 16 at The Bickford Theatre, Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown. Fuller will present a variety of material, including from his recording Overjoyed, out on Capri Records. more

“LOVE”: Arts Council of Princeton artists have completed work on their second mural at the Princeton Shopping Center. The public art piece can be found on the parking lot-facing façade between Bella Boutique and Shanghai Park. (Photo by Cyndi Shattuck Photography)

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) and Princeton Shopping Center have announced that work is complete on a new mural at 301 North Harrison Street. Titled and inspired by the universal language of LOVE, the new work is located on the parking lot-facing façade of the Shopping Center between Bella Boutique and Shanghai Park. more

“DIVINE WORD”: Submissions are due by April 22 for “Voices for the March,” the 10th juried photography exhibit presented by the Friends for Abbott Marshlands. The exhibit will be on view June 5 through September 18, 2022 at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton.

The nonprofit Friends for Abbott Marshlands has announced a call for art for “Voices for the Marsh,” its 2022 biennial, 10th juried photography exhibit. It is juried by Al Horner of New Jersey Pinelands photographic fame, and Pat Coleman, naturalist and president of the Friends.

Submissions are due by Earth Day, April 22, with the exhibition running June 5 through September 18, 2022. The venue is Tulpehaking Nature Center’s galleries at 157 Westcott Avenue, Hamilton. The show provides an opportunity for both fine art photographers and local hobbyists to capture the cultural and ecological richness of the marshlands and participate in the Friends’ efforts to build awareness and support for the protection and stewardship of the marshlands. The prospectus is available at https://abbottmarshlands.orgmore

“ICE IS NICE”: This photograph by David O. Anderson is featured in “Emergence,” on view through February 3 in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery at D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place. The exhibition features a collection of fine art photographs of nature as seen from the viewpoint of children.

D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to experience nature with new eyes, inspired by its newly opened art exhibition, “Emergence.”  David O. Anderson, former president of Princeton Photography Club and longtime member of the land trust’s Photographers of Preservation, is exhibiting a new collection of fine art photographs of nature seen from the viewpoint of children.

The Olivia Rainbow Gallery, named in memory of 5-year-old Olivia Kuenne, has been transformed into a wonder-filled experience, with exploratory words and images that evoke emergence, which is defined as “the process of coming into view after long absence.” Through Anderson’s lens, visitors of all ages will experience “attention with wonder” brought by children to the natural world. The land trust joins Anderson in hoping, in his own words, that time in this unique exhibit brings everyone to “emergence from adulthood to childhood.” more

“NIGHT FORMS”: Sculptures are transformed at night through a new multi-sensory outdoor experience combining video projection, light, and sound at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton. Timed tickets are required for the exhibit, which runs through February 27.

“Night Forms: dreamloop by Klip Collective” is an after-hours multi-sensory experience created between art and nature; an ambient phenomenon to delight the senses, turn strangers into playful cohorts, and provide a unique, unforgettable experience. more

FINE FURNITURE: “We carry high quality top brands at discounted prices. The lines we choose provide real value and long-lasting products for the customers, and we offer lifetime warranties. Our clients know they can count on us.” The Thompson family is proud of Rider Furniture’s longevity and fine reputation. Shown, from left, are owners Bill and Sue Thompson and their son, Bill Jr., who has joined the family business.

By Jean Stratton

The handsome wooden sign on the wall says:

“Built To Order, Designed to Last, Extraordinary Results.”

This sentiment describes the large selection of custom furniture available at Rider Furniture, located at 4621 Route 27 in Kingston. Its long history of quality — quality products and quality service — has led to its ongoing success story.

This year marks the 30th anniversary in its current location and its 44th under the ownership of Bill Thompson. In a time when many businesses are here today and gone tomorrow, this is a proud accomplishment indeed. more

BOOK OF ELIJAH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Elijah Barnes defends Keondre Kennedy of UMBC last Monday night at Jadwin Gym. Senior forward Barnes tallied nine points in 13 minutes off the bench against the Retrievers, going 4 of 4 from the floor, to help Princeton pull away to an 89-77 victory. The Tigers, now 9-3, will be on a hiatus for exams and will return to action when they host Kean University on December 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s basketball team deadlocked at 71-71 against UMBC last Monday evening at Jadwin Gym, an unlikely one-two tandem turned the tide in favor of the Tigers.

Little-used senior reserve Elijah Barnes scored seven points on a jumper, a dunk, and a three-pointer while senior star guard Jaelin Llewellyn hit a three-pointer and a layup to spark a 12-0 run as the Tigers pulled away to an 89-77 victory, posting their fourth straight win in improving to 9-3.

For Barnes, who had just played 33 minutes this season in six appearances off the bench entering Monday, coming up big was a matter of staying in the moment.

“I come to work every day in practice and try to be there for my teammates and support them,” said the 6’7, 215-pound Barnes, who ended up with nine points in 13 minutes on 4 of 4 shooting with two rebounds and a blocked shot.

“Whether it is helping somebody else get extra work in everyday or talking to Tosan [Evbuomwan], Zach [Martini], or Mason [Hooks] and making sure they know what they have to do. It prepares me. I watch to see that they are doing and what they need to do. As a senior, being here for a fifth year is big time. I have been around the program for a long time and I have waited my turn. I got an opportunity and I made the most of it so that is all anybody has to do.” more

GOING TO THE GLASS: Princeton University women’s basketball player Ellie Mitchell heads in for a layup in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore forward Mitchell pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds in a losing cause as Princeton fell 70-60 to Seton Hall. The defeat snapped a 21-game home winning streak for the Tigers, the third longest in the nation heading into the day. Princeton, which fell to 6-3 with the setback, hosts Texas on December 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team hosting a tall and skilled Seton Hall squad last Saturday afternoon, Ellie Mitchell knew she had to hit the boards for the Tigers.

“In our last loss (76-67 to Fordham on December 5) we got out-toughed so that is one of the things we can control, work hard and hit a body and go chase the ball,” said 6’0 sophomore forward Mitchell, a native of Chevy Chase, Md.

“I think that all comes back to being a team effort, everyone boxes out. That is a big thing, whether or not shots are falling, rebounding what I need to do.”

Mitchell displayed her toughness against the Pirates, pulling down a career-high 19 rebounds, the most in a game for Princeton since Bella Alarie had 19 against Quinnipiac on December 8, 2018.

But Mitchell’s hard work on the glass wasn’t enough as Seton Hall defeated Princeton 70-60, snapping its 21-game home winning streak, the third longest in the nation heading into the day as the Tigers fell in Jadwin Gym for the first time since losing 86-76 to Yale on February 8, 2019.

“They had some great offensive players, they had two girls averaging high teens and a really big post player and we were ready for that,” said Mitchell, reflecting on the setback which dropped Princeton to 6-3. more

LOCKED IN: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ethan Garlock controls the puck in recent action. Last Friday, junior defenseman Garlock tallied a goal and an assist to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 5-0. The Tigers, who defeated Nottingham 10-4 last Monday to improve to 4-1-1, play at Tenafly on December 17 to wrap up the 2021 portion of their schedule. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is a good thing for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team when there is a Garlock wearing No. 4 and playing at defenseman for the squad.

From 2014-18, Max Garlock starred along the blue line for PHS with the No. 4 on his sweater, helping the Tigers make runs to the state tournament semis in his junior and senior seasons.

Inspired by his older brother, junior Ethan Garlock is following the family tradition, emerging as a standout defensemen for PHS.

“I definitely got into hockey because of him,” said Garlock of his older brother.

“He taught me a lot through the years, especially in my driveway helping me out and doing stuff with him. I am really grateful.”

Last Friday against Hopewell Valley, Garlock showed how well he learned those lessons, tallying an assist and a goal as PHS jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back on the way to a 5-0 victory.

Just under four minutes into the contest, Garlock’s assist came on a feed to senior star Cooper Zullo, who ended up scoring three goals in the victory.

“I had the puck down low and I saw Cooper wide open on that so that was a given,” said Garlock. more

MAKING STRIDES: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Molly Brown dribbles upcourt in a game last season. PHS will be depending on senior forward and team captain Brown to provide all-around play and leadership this winter. The Tigers open their 2021-22 season by hosting Hightstown on December 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ basketball team only played 10 games last winter in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns, the squad made progress as it went 7-3.

With PHS opening its 2021-22 season by hosting Hightstown on December 17, PHS head coach Dave Kosa is looking for his program to keep showing improvement.

“We just have to keep on taking the next step and working hard in practice,” said Kosa, whose team tips off its 2021-22 campaign by hosting Hightstown on December 17.

“The freshmen last year are now sophomores. The seniors were the sophomores two years ago when we were 5-20. We are taking our strides and we are just hoping to take the next one this year.”

The squad’s quintet of seniors, Molly Brown, Nora Devine, Sofia Aguayo, Moji Ayodele, and Katie Chao are setting a positive tone. more

TOP GUN: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Connor Topping fires a shot in a game last winter. PDS is looking for senior star Topping to have a big final campaign. The Panthers tip off their 2021-22 campaign by playing at George School (Pa.) on December 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Eugene Burroughs enters his second year at the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball program, he is facing a coaching challenge.

Losing some key players from last year’s squad to graduation and having a rising star, Hampton Sanders, transfer to Lawrenceville, Burroughs will need to mix and match the remaining pieces at his disposal.

“Right now, I am putting together a puzzle, we don’t have true positions,” said Burroughs, who guided PDS to a 7-3 record last winter in a season shortened by COVID-19 concerns.

“I don’t have a true, true point guard so I have to figure out how to put guys in different spots. I have to look at the matchups and we have to play to see who can do what.”

Having gotten used to the approach of Burroughs, who has coached at the college and pro levels, the returning players are on the same page with him.

“I am impressed with some of our kids and the carryover from last year, which is a sign of growth from year one to year two,” said Burroughs, whose team tips off its 2021-22 campaign by playing at George School (Pa.) on December 17. more

By Bill Alden

Logan Harrison starred at center midfield this fall for the Princeton Day School field hockey team, helping the Panthers reach the Mercer County Tournament final.

This winter, sophomore Harrison is utilizing some of what she gained from the fall to have a similar impact on the ice for the PDS girls’ hockey team.

“It is easy because the stick handling just very similar,” said Harrison, reflecting on juggling the two sports.

“It also gives me another opportunity to get my fitness up, it conditions me for hockey season.”

Last Wednesday, Harrison displayed her stick handling skills on the ice, assisting on two goals as PDS defeated Westfield 5-0.

Harrison stumbled into her first helper of the contest as she set up a goal by freshman Eibhleann Knox that gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead late in the first period.

“I think the girl tripped me and then I fell,” recalled Harrison with a chuckle.

“Eibhleann got the puck and scored that and it was a really cool goal.”

Her second assist proved to be a cool moment as Harrison fed the puck to fellow sophomore and club teammate Emily McCann.

“We have been friends for a while, we played on the same team three years ago when I first started playing girls’ hockey,” said Harrison, who plays club hockey with the Princeton Tiger Lilies. more

By Bill Alden

It was Ewanchyna day for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team as it hosted St. Augustine last Wednesday.

With 8:19 left in the first period, PDS freshman forward Wyatt Ewanchyna scored to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

St. Augustine tallied two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second period and minutes into the frame, PDS junior forward Ace Ewanchyna, Wyatt’s older brother, found the back of the net.

That turned out to be the final score of the contest as the foes skated to a 2-2 tie.

“It is pretty cool seeing my little brother go out there and score points here in high school,” said Ace Ewanchyna. “I guess it shows I am a good influence.”

Ewanchyna is enjoying getting the chance to team up with his younger brother for the Panthers.

“It has been a ton of fun, I have done it a couple of times in the past,” said Ewanchyna.

“The last time we played together a ton was squirts. It has been cool to see him out there. Hopefully, he is learning a little from me.”

On his second period goal, Ewanchyna was in the right place at the right time.

“It was a good pass from my teammates, I didn’t do too much,” said Ewanchyna.

“I was really looking for a rebound, I was more confident in my teammate Ollie [Hall] scoring than I was myself. It is mostly my teammates, I can’t really give myself credit.” more

SHARPSHOOTER: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey goes up for the shot in recent action. Last weekend, senior guard Vessey starred as Hun took fifth place at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT). On Saturday, he scored 19 points to help the Raiders defeat Lawrenceville 72-59 in a consolation round contest. A day later, he again scored 19 points as Hun defeated Peddie 76-68 in the PSIT fifth place game. The Raiders, now 4-4, host Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 16 and then play Hudson Catholic on December 18 in the Hoop Group Tournament at Elizabeth. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After falling 64-58 to the Phelps School (Pa.) in the opening round of the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT) last Friday, Dan Vessey and his teammates on the Hun School boys’ basketball team were determined to bounce back when they faced Lawrenceville in the consolation round.

“It is important after a tough loss to come back and get a win, especially this early in the season,” said Hun senior guard Vessey.

With Vessey tallying 19 points, Hun pulled away to a 72-59 win over the Big Red last Saturday.

“Beating Lawrenceville is a good win, we love it,” said Vessey.

“Lawrenceville is a good team, they always have been. Doug Davis (former Hun and Princeton University star) is their coach and that Lawrenceville team is much better than the Lawrenceville team we played two years ago. They have made a lot of steps in the right direction, we will play them again.” more

December 8, 2021

The Annual Menorah Lighting, hosted by The Jewish Center, was held on Sunday afternoon at the Nassau Inn patio on Palmer Square. Participants share what they got for Hanukkah this year in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

VACCINATING THE SCHOOLS: Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser, left, and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Director of Special Services Micki Crisafulli were among the organizers of a November 30 free vaccination clinic sponsored by the Princeton Health Department and PPS. The next PPS clinic will be held on Tuesday, December 21 from 4-8 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department reported on Monday a total of 24 new COVID-19 cases in the previous seven days and 59 in the previous 14 days, with 82 percent of Princeton residents age 12 and over fully vaccinated.

Princeton Public Schools recorded a total of eight new cases, including five students and three staff members, for the week ending December 3. Princeton University has announced its campus risk status as “moderate to high” with 71 new cases reported between November 27 and December 3 for a 0.34 percent positivity rate.

Meanwhile the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) on Monday announced increases in new cases and hospitalizations and a rise in the transmission rate to 1.26, with any rate over 1 indicating an expansion of the pandemic.

“The local numbers are not dropping off, but not really increasing,” said Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser. Noting rising rates throughout the region, he pointed out that many of the new infections in Princeton and elsewhere are occurring in unvaccinated individuals as well as many breakthroughs, mainly among those vaccinated more than six months ago who have not gotten booster shots.

“The booster is definitely necessary,” he said, and added that, among those who have been vaccinated, reported cases are almost always mild.

Grosser pointed out that the numbers of new cases are about even across the spectrum of ages, but that the highest totals come from the 18- to 29-year-old population, which, at 68 percent, make up the group least fully vaccinated. Grosser applauded the 5- to 11-year-olds (and their parents), citing a 54 percent vaccination rate as of November 30. Grosser added that Princeton 12- to 17-year-olds have a 98 percent vaccination rate.  more

By Anne Levin

Having encountered strong resistance from some corners of the community to its initial ideas for solving the town’s parking issues, the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force (PPTF) has been working to revise its recommendations. The task force intends to present the revamped proposals to the governing body “in the coming year,” according to a press release.

Electronic license plate readers, labeled an invasion of privacy by some residents, are not part of the new proposal. Houses with no driveways in the Tree Street and Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhoods would be eligible for one free permit for on-street parking. A second permit could be purchased for $240 a year by these residents, or those with driveways accommodating a single car.

Bank Street, where there has been three-hour free parking, would allow resident permit parking only. Bank Street residents without driveways would get one free permit per household.

“The concept of community outreach and participatory government is to hear and process the feedback from the community, while striving to strike a balance between all parties’ goals and desires,” said Councilperson Michelle Pirone Lambros, in the release. “We are working with the PPTF and with community leaders in all neighborhoods and throughout the business district, to listen and work toward solutions that consider all parties’ interests.”

Additional Councilmembers on the task force are Councilmember David Cohen and Council President Leticia Fraga. Residents of different neighborhoods, the police, and local merchants are among others serving on the committee. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Cannabis Task Force (CTF) is moving ahead in preparing to recommend an ordinance to Princeton Council to allow up to three retail cannabis dispensaries in town, despite concerns and objections expressed by a number of residents.

The 23-member task force is scheduled to meet on December 16, when it will review its preliminary recommendations, which were presented and faced significant public resistance at a special Princeton Council meeting on November 30.

The CTF will be considering recent community input and discussing whether to amend or revise its recommendations before submitting them for further study to the municipality’s legal team, the Princeton Police Department, and zoning and planning boards, before presenting an ordinance proposal to Princeton Council in January or February.

Among the issues likely to be considered at the December 16 meeting are the question of the number of dispensaries allowed in town, with the suggestion that starting with just one might be wise; and the question of the required distance permitted between schools and cannabis retail establishments.

CTF Chair Eve Niedergang, who is also a member of Princeton Council, was not surprised that the majority of speakers — about 17 out of 23 — from the community  at the November 30 Zoom meeting were opposed to allowing cannabis dispensaries in town. 

“I think that people who are opposed to something are more likely to show up because there is change that they perceive as negative,” she said. “But there were a number of people who spoke up in support, and generally the feeling I’ve gotten as I’ve gone around town and most of the people who have contacted me are in favor.”

In the November 2020 state referendum on legalization of recreational cannabis, about 67 percent of New Jersey residents voted in favor, 71 percent in Mercer County and 78 percent in Princeton. “Cannabis is legal in New Jersey,” Niedergang noted. “That’s not in question, not up for debate.” But concerns about underage use and the question of a dispensary in Princeton continue to be matters of controversy. more

PHOTO-FOCUSED GALLERY: “Orlando,” an exhibit guest-curated by actor Tilda Swinton, pictured here, is the inaugural show at Art on Hulfish, a new exhibition space from the Princeton University Art Museum. (Photo by Sally Potter)

By Anne Levin

As construction continues on the new building for the Princeton University Art Museum designed by architect David Adjaye, representation in town is keeping the museum — anticipated to reopen in late 2024 — on people’s minds.

Art on Hulfish, a new gallery focused on contemporary photography, opened last weekend at 11 Hulfish Street. The new space joins Art@Bainbridge at 158 Nassau Street, and The Museum Store at 56 Nassau Street, both operated by the museum. The inaugural exhibit, “Orlando,” was guest-curated by actor Tilda Swinton, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, Orlando: A Biography; and Sally Potter’s 1992 film Orlando, in which Swinton starred. The museum held a screening of the film at the Princeton Garden Theatre last month.

“This happens to be the 50th anniversary of photography at the museum,” said James Steward, the museum’s director. “Our photography holdings are among the best in any museum in North America. So [the gallery] made sense for that reason.”

Steward and colleagues exhausted the possibilities of opening a gallery on campus before landing on the idea of a former storefront in town. Photography, which doesn’t require the kind of climate control used in displaying unique objects in a museum, made sense. Other media will also be included.  more

LAKE CAMPUS: Princeton University held a ceremonial groundbreaking for its Lake Campus development on Tuesday, December 7. Located in West Windsor off Washington Road between Lake Carnegie and Route 1, the complex in its initial phase will include graduate student housing (shown here in a design rendering), parking, athletic facilities, and sustainable infrastructure. (Rendering courtesy of Princeton University)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University officially broke ground yesterday, December 7, for the creation of its Lake Campus, the first major development on the University’s property in West Windsor.

Located along Washington Road between Lake Carnegie and Route 1, the initial phase of development will include 379 units of graduate student housing, a five-tier parking garage, athletic facilities, and sustainable infrastructure.

Also included will be the basic infrastructure of roadways, underground utilities, and a central utilities building, along with construction of housing and amenities for post-doc researchers and graduate students, a racket center with a fitness space, a softball stadium, flexible rugby and recreation fields, a new cross-country course, and parking garage.

“A vision for activating our lands south of Lake Carnegie is one of the most intriguing ideas to emerge from our new campus plan and the strategic framework underpinning it,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in 2018 as architects and planners were chosen and planning for the Lake Campus progressed. “The Lake Campus will enable Princeton to foster a vibrant community of graduate housing, enhance the quality of athletic facilities, strengthen the region’s innovation ecosystem, and create opportunities for partnerships with the nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors.” more

By Anne Levin

Last year at this time, the local retail scene was worrisome. The pandemic had done its damage to downtown Princeton’s stores and restaurants, threatening what is traditionally the busiest and most lucrative shopping and dining season of the year.

Despite new concerns about the latest variant, the numbers are up this year. That, coupled with the impending conversion of 20 Nassau Street to the Graduate Hotel, has resulted in changes to the town’s retail landscape.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Princeton Councilmember Michelle Pirone Lambros, who is liaison to the Princeton Merchants Association and serves on the Economic Development Committee. “The vacancies are filling up. People are out, and the streets are full on weekends. Garages are full.“

Among the newest eateries in town are Ellinikon Agora and Coffee Delicatessen at 200 Nassau Street, Positive Vybz Island Grill at 182 Nassau Street, Dvaraka Indian at 36 Witherspoon Street, Plated Plant at 15 Spring Street, and The Pastry Room at 6 Spring Street. Lala Lobster is planned for Palmer Square at a date to be determined. Nassau Diner is in the works for at 82 Nassau Street. more