April 26, 2023

By Anne Levin

On Saturday, May, 6 at 10 a.m., the municipality will hold its second Community Roundtable devoted to the future development of the Tennent-Roberts-Whiteley sites at Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS). The gathering will be at Witherspoon Hall and run through 12 p.m.

Municipal staff held its first Community Roundtable on the subject March 18. Residents of the neighborhood surrounding the campus were able to ask questions and offer feedback about the site, which was designated an area in need of redevelopment (ANR) four years ago. The contract purchaser is local developer Jamie Herring.

“This will be a continuation of that conversation,” Princeton’s Planning Director Justin Lesko said of the upcoming meeting. “We’ll take what we heard at the first roundtable and begin to formulate whatever sort of redevelopment plan might emerge. We can now say, okay, we heard you want stormwater management and no below-ground parking. Now, let’s dig into that. I anticipate at least another meeting, or multiple ones, before a plan comes out.” more

TELLING TIME: More than 50 tall case clocks, some with intricate designs, are on display at Morven through February. All were made by New Jersey craftspeople between 1730 and 1830.

By Anne Levin

For the more than 140 people who attended the opening of “Striking Beauty: New Jersey Tall Case Clocks, 1730-1830” at Morven Museum and Garden last Thursday, it was the height of the 52 clocks displayed on platforms in the second-floor gallery that made the biggest impression.

“They’re so tall! That’s what everybody kept saying,” said curator Elizabeth Allan, who has assembled the collection of works by highly skilled New Jersey clockmakers, running through February 18, 2024. “And it’s true. When you see them in person, you really can’t believe how tall they are.” more

GOOD FOOD AND WELL-BEING: Cooks and gardens team members in the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) teaching kitchens, from left: Chef Elisabeth Quatrano, Faculty Advisor Janet Gaudino, Chef Marilyn Besner, and PPS Food Systems Literacy Coordinator Tomia MacQueen. Not pictured: Faculty Advisor Betsey Valenza and Master Gardner Debbie Gries. The Princeton Public Schools (PPS) are looking forward to good food and an enriched curriculum, as PPS collaborates with Princeton School Gardens in a year-long pilot program coordinated by MacQueen. (Photo courtesy ofPrinceton School Gardens)

By Donald Gilpin

Coordinated by educator and master gardener Tomia MacQueen, Princeton Public Schools (PPS) and Princeton School Garden Cooperative (PSGC) last week kicked off a collaborative one-year pilot program “to optimize untapped campus resources for illustrating and amplifying curriculum,” according to a PSGC press release.

“We need to educate our students and give them a well-rounded way of thinking in terms of their food and their lifestyle in stewarding the planet,” said MacQueen, who specializes in edible gardens and is the founder of Gardening for Life (Love, Inspiration, Faith, and Empowerment) and Wildflower Farm in Pennington. more

By Anne Levin

At its meeting on Monday evening, Princeton Council approved the 2023 municipal budget, which will lead to an increase for the average Princeton taxpayer of $279 for the year.

The budget calls for $72.47 million in spending, about $1.27 million more over the previous year. The increase comes from higher costs for things like health care and waste management, among other issues.

A work session on the Princeton Farmers Market revealed that, subject to Council approval, the market will return to Hinds Plaza in June. The weekly gathering of fresh food vendors, farmers, and customers, founded in 2009, was moved to such spots as Franklin Avenue and the Dinky train station lot during the pandemic.  more

New Schoolyard Habitat Recognized at Princeton Montessori

Princeton Montessori School’s (PMonts) Schoolyard Habitat has been officially certified by the National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization.

PMonts, with its Garden for Wildlife program, has joined more than 5,000 schools nationwide that have created thriving habitats in their schoolyards, providing essential elements for wildlife: natural food sources, clean water, cover, and places to raise young.

“We are pleased that our beautiful campus is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat,” said Head of School Michelle Morrison, as quoted in an April 18 PMonts press release. “Spending time in nature is a core tenet of the Montessori philosophy, as Dr. Montessori believed that exposure to nature promotes physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development in children.”

The habitat also provides an outdoor education site for students to engage in cross-curricular learning, and certification makes their Certified Wildlife Habitat part of the Million Pollinator Garden challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.

The PMonts campus includes several flower gardens, a new wildflower garden, and an expanded vegetable garden. The school’s 20 acres of woodland include species like oak, sweet gum, black tulip, American elm, common persimmon, and may other native plants.

PMonts students spend a lot of time outdoors, the press release notes, particularly during their weekly ecology class in grades 1-8.

“My aim for the ecology students is to not just be comfortable in nature, but to truly appreciate it and grow up wanting to protect it,” said PMonts ecology teacher Gery Juleff. “Rain or shine, we try to go outside and use our outdoor classroom in the heart of our woods. The students love it there.”


By Stuart Mitchner

I sat me down to write a simple story which maybe in the end became a song

—Keith Reid (1946-2023), from “Pilgrim’s Progress”

The first “simple story” Keith Reid gave to the world took some strange and wonderful turns. According to Beyond the Pale, Procol Harum’s rich, many-leveled website, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has inspired as many as a thousand known cover versions while becoming, says the BBC, “the most played song in the last 75 years in public places in the UK.”

And it all began when Keith Reid mailed the lyrics to singer/pianist Gary Brooker in an envelope addressed simply “Gary, 15 Fairfield Road, Eastwood, Essex” and postmarked South Lambeth. You can see the very envelope on the website, along with a photo of the Burmese Brown cat for whom the group was named.

Introduced by Scorsese

The song that has fascinated generations since it was released in the UK as a single on May 12, 1967 is not by any means Reid’s most impressive accomplishment. In his foreword to Henry Scott-Irvine’s group biography Procol Harum: The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade of Pale (Omnibus Press 2012), Martin Scorsese points out that the band “drew from so many deep wells – classical music, 19th Century literature, Rhythm and Blues, seaman’s logs, concertist poetry,” each tune becoming “a cross-cultural whirligig, a road trip through the pop subconscious.”  more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra fused Mozart, Bruckner and the 21st century in a series of concerts this past weekend, including the premiere of a new work by Princeton University composer Steven Mackey. Led by Music Director Xian Zhang, the Orchestra combined Mackey’s large-scale symphonic work with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s spirited Symphony No. 25 and Anton Bruckner’s devout Te Deum. Joining the Orchestra in Friday night’s performance at Richardson Auditorium were a number of exceptional vocal soloists and the Princeton University Glee Club. more

FROM THE FILM TO THE STAGE: “Madagascar the Musical” brings familiar characters to the State Theatre New Jersey on Saturday, May 6.

State Theatre New Jersey presents Madagascar the Musical on Saturday, May 6 at 2 and 7 p.m. Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip-hop Hippo, and the plotting penguins as they bound out of the zoo and onto the stage in this live musical adventure. The family-friendly musical features new original music and a colorful cast of larger-than-life characters from the iconic film. Tickets range from $19-$79.   more

On Wednesday, May 3, Israeli singer, songwriter, and guitarist David Broza will perform a community-wide concert at The Jewish Center of Princeton in honor of the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

Broza appeals to music lovers of all ages. His signature sound brings together the influence of Spanish flamenco, American folk, rock and roll, and poetry. Social justice and peace advocacy are embedded in Broza’s work. His 1977 hit song“Yihye Tov” remains an Israeli peace anthem.  more

JAZZING IT UP: Danny Tobias, trumpeter, leads his quartet as part of the upcoming Jazz Appreciation Festival in Plainsboro. (Photo by Redmile)

Three noted jazz musicians – James Popik, Danny Tobias, and Tom Tallisch – will take part in Plainsboro Township’s Jazz Appreciation Festival, which opens April 28. They will present a series of three concerts on Friday evenings at 7 p.m.

Guitarist and Grammy-nominated feature artist James Popik will kick off the series with an opening concert on on April 28, at Market Square Plaza in front of the Plainsboro Library, 9 Van Doren Street. His group, the JP4, includes John Henry Goldman on trumpet, Lawrence Haber on Bass, and Karttikeya Arul on drums, halo drums and percussion. They will play classic and modern jazz. more

A MUSICAL CLASSIC: Denise Carey of Newtown, Pa. plays Dolly Levi in the Yardley Players’ production of “Hello Dolly!” at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre April 28-May 7. (Photo courtesy of Yardley Players)

Yardley Players celebrates the golden age of the American musical at Kelsey Theatre with Hello, Dolly! The show runs weekends from Friday, April 28 through Sunday, May 7 with matinee and evening performances. Kelsey Theatre is located at 1200 Old Trenton Road on the Mercer County Community College campus in West Windsor.  more

The cast of What We’ve Lost and What We’ve Learned perform during a dress rehearsal at the Wallace Theater on April 28, 2022. Photo by Larry Levanti

COME TO THE CABARET: Princeton University senior Cassandra James is among those performing in her “Mostly Sort of Happily Ever After” at Princeton University’s Lewis Arts complex April 30. (Photo by Larry Levanti)

Mostly Sort of Happily Ever After, a cabaret performance featuring and directed by Princeton University senior Cassandra James along with other student performers, will be presented April 30 at 2 and 8 p.m. in the Wallace Theater in the Lewis Arts complex on the campus. Admission is free. more

“FEMALE CARDINAL ON DOGWOOD”: The work of Karen Caldwell of Sunflower Glass Studio in Stockton is featured along the Covered Bridge Artisans Spring Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Covered Bridge Artisans are hosting their Spring Studio Tour on April 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour is a self-guided tour located in the Delaware River Valley of lower Hunterdon and Bucks counties. The studio tour takes place in eight professional artists’ studios in the Lambertville, Stockton, Sergeantsville, and New Hope, Pa., areas with 14 additional artists at the Sergeantsville Firehouse Events Center. All studios are located within 5 miles of Stockton. more

“ICELANDIC HORSE”: This photo by Mathew Renk is part of an exhibit by the Cranbury digital Camera Club (CdCC), on view April 28 through May 31 at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury. An opening reception is on Sunday, April 30 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Gourgaud Gallery is hosting a photography exhibit by the Cranbury digital Camera Club (CdCC) April 28 through May 31. An opening reception is on Sunday, April 30 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The exhibit features original, framed photographs of various subjects and sizes taken by club members. Most photographs will be for sale at prices ranging from $99 to $450, with 20 percent of all sales benefiting the Cranbury Arts Council.  more

Ficus, 235 Nassau Street, presents “In Reflection: SiriOm Singh & C.a. Shofed” this spring in the upstairs dining gallery through June 4. An opening reception is on Sunday, April 30 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

SiriOm Singh

Colorful images seen in large bodies of water, man-made structures, and nature’s puddles illuminate in both artists’ work. Singh’s Impressionist Abstract-style paintings take viewers through a window and into his texture-rich and colorful scenes. Shofed’s modern photographs, printed on metal, have been described as “industrial meets nature.” His images capture moments in time and grasp our hearts.

Singh is a self-taught artist living and creating in Trenton. He is the co-owner of Cross Pollination art gallery in Lambertville, which shows his work and the work of his wife, fiber artist Ayala Shimelman. more

“LIFERS”: This painting by Beatrice Bork is featured in “Water Works,” her dual exhibit with Joe Kazimierczyk, on view May 4 through June 4 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville. An opening reception is on May 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville will present “Water Works,” a transformative journey through the element of water, May 4 through June 4. The exhibit features the watercolors of animal artist Beatrice Bork and the landscapes of award-winning oil painter Joe Kazimierczyk.

All are invited to meet the artists at the opening reception on May 6 from 5 to 8 p.m., and gain a deeper understanding of their creative processes, inspirations, and techniques.  more

ALL DAY DINING: The Nassau Diner is open, and customers are enjoying the opportunity to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this new establishment on Nassau Street.

By Jean Stratton

The coffee is hot, and the only thing kept in the freezer is our ice cream….Our curated classics are made from scratch, and elevated with fresh, quality ingredients.”

This is the report from The Nassau Diner, which opened last October at 82 Nassau Street. It is the one of the newest establishments owned by Genesis Hospitality Group. Headquartered in Hamilton, the company owns nine restaurants, bars, bakeries, inns, and boutique hotels in the area. In Princeton, the number includes The Peacock Inn, Chez Alice, Bread Boutique, Proof Pizza, and now The Nassau Diner.

“People love diners,” says Genesis director of hospitality Eben Copple, adding that diners bring back memories of fun times, and it is always good to have another informal eatery when you’re in the mood for something casual. more

KEEPING THE FAITH: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Christian Ronda heads to goal in recent action. Last Saturday, Ronda enjoyed a memorable Senior Day, tallying four goals and two assists to help Princeton defeat Harvard 17-11. The No. 25 Tigers, now 6-5 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, play at No. 6 Cornell (10-2 overall, 4-1 Ivy) on April 29 with the victor earning the league’s regular season title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In one sense, it would appear that Christian Ronda’s first two years on the Princeton University men’s lacrosse were futile.

In 2020, Princeton’s season was halted after five games due to the global pandemic with Ronda making one appearance as a freshman and not getting off a shot.

A year later, the Ivy League canceled its spring campaign due to ongoing COVID concerns.

But Ronda soaked in some important lessons during that truncated 2020 campaign. more

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Princeton University softball star pitcher Alexis Laudenslager fires a pitch in a 2022 game. Last Friday, senior Laudenslager pitched a one-hitter to help Princeton defeat Harvard 4-0 in the opener of a three-game set between the Ivy League frontrunners. A day later, Laudenslager got the win as the Tigers topped the Crimson 8-5 in the first game of a doubleheader. Princeton fell 6-5 in the nightcap as it moved to 21-16 overall and 14-4 Ivy, one game ahead of Harvard in the league standings. The Tigers play a doubleheader at Villanova on April 25 and then conclude Ivy regular season play with a three-game set at Dartmouth with a doubleheader on April 29 and a single game on April 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Alexis Laudenslager planned to keep it simple as she took the pitching circle for the Princeton University softball team against Harvard last Friday afternoon in the opener of a pivotal Ivy League three-game set.

“My goal was to throw a lot of strikes,” said Princeton senior right-hander Laudenslager.

“I have played them many times in my career and I have struggled to throw strikes and I knew they would be patient.” more

FOND FAREWELL: Princeton High boys’ soccer head coach Wayne Sutcliffe surveys the action in a game last fall. Sutcliffe recently announced that he is stepping down from guiding the Tigers after 26 seasons at the helm of the program. During his storied tenure, the Tigers won a slew of championships including 19 Colonial Valley Conference division titles, seven Mercer County Tournaments, seven New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey sectional crowns, two NJSIAA state finals (2014, 2017), and two NJSIAA state championships (2009, 2012). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Wayne Sutcliffe faced some tough competition in 1997 when he put his hat in the ring in a bid to take the helm of the Princeton High boys’ soccer program.

“I was hired to replace Ron [Celestin],” said Sutcliffe, referring to the beloved and legendary Celestin, who had guided the program to a state title before leaving to become an assistant coach for the Princeton University women’s soccer team. “There were 50 applicants for the job and I got it.”

Sutcliffe, who previously coached at Moorestown Friends and served as the technical director for Moorestown soccer club, quickly realized he had landed in a hot seat. more

HAPPY RETURN: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Sarah Henderson celebrates after a goal in recent action. Junior attacker Henderson, who has returned to action this spring after being sidelined by a knee injury last season, has emerged as a key offensive weapon for the Tigers. Last Wednesday, Henderson tallied two goals and three assists to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 18-14. The Tigers, who lost 13-4 to Notre Dame last Thursday to move to 4-2, hosts Lawrence High on April 26, play at Lawrenceville School on April 28, and then host WW/P-North on May 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Sarah Henderson, getting on the field this year for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team required some grit and persistence.

Injuring her right knee in August, 2021, Henderson was sidelined last spring as she underwent a grueling and painstaking rehab process.

Returning to action for the 2023 campaign, junior attacker Henderson has quickly established herself as a key offensive weapon for the Tigers. more

First PHS finisher

FINISHING KICK: Princeton High boys’ distance running star Andrew Kenny, right, edges Shaurya Srivastava of WW/P-South at the Mercer County cross country championship meet in 2021. Last Saturday, senior star Kenny helped the PHS distance medley relay quartet place first at the Mercer County Relays. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Andrew Kenny helped the Princeton High boys’ distance medley relay win at the Mercer Count Relays last Saturday, thrilled to finally be contributing again to the Tiger squad.

It’s something that the PHS senior has been missing the most while sidelined for the cross country and indoor track and field seasons due to a hip injury. more

ON THE BALL: Princeton Day School baseball shortstop Ryan Vandal scoops up a grounder in recent action. Senior star Vandal has been a bright spot for PDS this spring. The Panthers, who fell 18-0 to Princeton High last Monday to move to 0-11, host the Blair Academy on April 26 before playing at the Pennington School on April 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ryan Vandal got things started on the right note for the Princeton Day School baseball team as it hosted South Hunterdon last Thursday.

Leadoff hitter Vandal drew a walk in the bottom of the first inning, stole a base and came around to score as PDS as jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

“We have been starting to play some better baseball,” said senior shortstop Vandal. “We had a lead against Peddie, that was a shootout (an 18-15 loss on April 14), it was a football score. We are getting some leads. We are starting to play a lot better than at the start of the year.” more

April 19, 2023

Visitors enjoy the garden at Prospect House, which formerly served as the residence for the president of Princeton University. Built in 1851, it was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1985. People share their favorite things about springtime in Princeton in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

“BRING BACK CHMIEL!”: More than 100 demonstrators gathered in Hinds Plaza on Sunday afternoon to protest last month’s ouster of Princeton High School Principal Frank Chmiel and to support what is likely to be an appeal hearing with Chmiel and his lawyers making their case before the Princeton Public Schools’ superintendent and Board of Education. (Photo by Mimi Omiecinski)

By Donald Gilpin

More than a month since his sudden dismissal as Princeton High School (PHS) principal on March 17, Frank Chmiel and his lawyers are awaiting the delivery from Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Superintendent Carol Kelley of a statement of reasons for the decision to place Chmiel on administrative leave.

New Interim Principal Kathie Foster has been installed at PHS since March 30, but neither Chmiel nor his supporters — more than 100 turned out for an April 16 rally in Hinds Plaza to “Save Princeton High School! Reinstate Principal Chmiel!” — are ready to move on.

On receiving the reasons for dismissal from the superintendent, Chmiel, according to his lawyers who expect the statement to arrive on Thursday, April 20, will most likely request a hearing, which he may or may not choose to make public, in which he and his lawyers will appeal the decision. The PPS Board of Education (BOE), in accordance with state law, will not release information from Chmiel’s personnel file unless he waives his right to privacy. more