August 8, 2018

By Anne Levin

A new stage is in place at Community Park North Amphitheater in Pettoranello Gardens.

After two decades of wear and tear by musicians, dancers, and Shakespearean actors, the platform in the park off of Mountain Avenue was showing its age.

“It was time,” said Ben Stentz, executive director of Princeton’s Department of Recreation. “The stage that had been there was constructed by the recreation department’s maintenance staff more than 20 years ago. It was obvious to us that it was getting to the end of it’s life. And a bigger, better stage would open up the doors to other types of events there.” more

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: These triplets found each other by accident when they were 19. Their story, at first joyful and ultimately sad and disturbing, is the topic of “Three Identical Strangers,” a film currently showing at the Princeton Garden Theatre, the Montgomery Cinemas, and the Hopewell Theater. A special discussion led by Hopewell psychotherapist Joni Mantell will follow a screening at the Hopewell venue on Sunday, August 12.

By Anne Levin

Through a series of coincidences 28 years ago, two 19-year-old boys discovered that they were identical twins. Incredibly, a third 19-year-old who saw a story about the twins in the New York Post realized immediately that he was their third brother — they were triplets. more

Terhune Orchards hosted its annual Just Peachy Farm Festival last weekend in Princeton. The event featured live music, pony rides, wagon rides, children’s games, a scavenger hunt, special presentations, farm fresh foods, and plenty of peachy treats. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

“FAR-REACHING CONJECTURES”: Akshay Venkatesh, recent appointee to the Institute for Advanced Study faculty and Princeton University alumnus, has been awarded the 2018 Fields Medal, widely considered as the Nobel Prize for mathematicians. (Photo by Dan Komoda, Institute for Advanced Study)

By Donald Gilpin

Akshay Venkatesh, recently appointed to the permanent faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), has been awarded the Fields Medal, widely considered as comparable to the Nobel Prize for mathematicians.

The 36-year-old Venkatesh, who earned his PhD in mathematics at Princeton University in 2002, has worked as a math professor at Stanford University since 2008 and served as a distinguished visiting professor at IAS’s School of Mathematics during the past year. more

By Anne Levin

A petition to alert people beyond the Westminster Choir College of Rider University community about the proposed sale of the music school to a Chinese company — a sale that many believe will result in the eventual ruin of the music school — is currently being circulated by Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Art Taylor, a Rider professor of information systems and a member of the AAUP chapter, said Monday that the petition has received about 950 responses. “I thought it would take a month to get to that point, but it has only been a week,” he said. “That’s indicative of how disappointed the greater community is.” more

Mayor Liz Lempert, left, recently presented a proclamation in honor of the Princeton-Blairstown Center’s 110th Anniversary to the organization’s president and CEO, Pam Gregory. What began in 1908 as a summer camp run by Princeton University students and faculty has evolved into a wide variety of year-round programs serving over 8,000 young people from the Mid-Atlantic states.

Princeton Community Village (PCV), an affiliate of Princeton Community Housing (PCH), recently celebrated eight PCV residents who won scholarships from the New Jersey Affordable Housing Management Association (JAHMA) and the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA). Pictured from left are Juliet Malkowski, Daniel Hanna, JAHMA and NAHMA Scholarship Foundation Administrator Bruce Johnson, PCH Executive Director Edward Truscelli, Mary Ebong, Alana Chmiel, and Heidy Guzman. Scholarship winners Noah Daniecki and Molly Rodas are not pictured. (Photo Courtesy of Edith Juarez, PCV)

“HOMEFRONT ON THE WINGS”: This painting by Stacy D. is featured in “Healing in Nature,” on view through August 31 at the D&R Greenway Johnson Education Center in Princeton. The exhibit showcases artwork created by people who have benefited from HomeFront’s ArtSpace program.

D&R Greenway Land Trust has partnered with HomeFront’s ArtSpace program for the first time to present “Healing in Nature,” on view through August 31 in D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. 

This partnership showcases artwork created by homeless people who have benefited from the HomeFront Family Campus in Ewing, where calming influences and a healing garden enable a much-needed break.  more

“CIRKUS DIURNUS”: An exhibit of journals and sketchbooks by cultural anthropologist and trend-spotter Mikel Cirkus will be at the West Windsor Arts Center August 20 through September 7. An opening reception is Saturday, August 25 from 4 to 8 p.m. (Image courtesy of WWAC)

The West Windsor Arts Center presents “Cirkus Diurnus: Sketchbooks of a Traveling Artist,” a playful and profound exhibit of journals and sketchbooks running August 20 through September 7. An opening reception is on Saturday, August 25 from 4 to 8 p.m. 

The Center invites the public to explore the creative process of cultural anthropologist and trend-spotter Mikel Cirkus. From cities around the world, in 63 journals spanning nearly 40 years, Mikel set out to capture moments between the thought, the pen, and the paper — magic that is slipping away from our increasingly digital worlds.  more

How fearful/And dizzy ‘tis, to cast one’s eyes so low!

—Shakespeare, from King Lear

By Stuart Mitchner

It’s primal stuff, the fear of falling, the horror of being suspended in space, left hanging, the vicarious sensation of feeling the fall the way the Duke of Gloucester does as he falls without falling from the “dread summit … the crown ‘o the cliff” in Act 4, scene 6 of King Lear.

Edgar simulates the experience for his blind father, combining force of will with Shakespeare’s language the way a film director manipulates a submissive viewer, taking advantage of that age-old perceptual Open Sesame “the willing suspension of disbelief.”

Flash forward four and a half centuries and vast audiences are willingly giving themselves up to the cliffhanger dynamic of series television bequeathed by Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), who crafted classic manifestations of that primal fear, most famously in Vertigo (1958), which opens with Princeton alum Jimmy Stewart ‘32 hanging from a San Francisco rooftop and ends as the mystery woman played by Kim Novak falls to her death from the San Juan Bautista bell tower.  more

On Sunday, August 12, at 12:30 p.m., the Princeton Garden Theatre is screening “I, Claude Monet,” a fresh new look at impressionist master Claude Monet through his own words. Using letters and other private writings, the film reveals new insights into the man who not only painted the pictures that gave birth to impressionism, but who was also perhaps the most influential and successful painter of his time. Shot on location in Paris, London, Normandy, and Venice, this is a cinematic immersion into some of the most loved and iconic scenes in Western art. Tickets cost $14 for general admission, and $12 for members.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Tom Schreiber handling the ball for Team USA last month at the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) World Championships in Netanya, Israel. Star midfielder Schreiber, a 2014 Princeton alum who scored 200 points in his Tiger career, scored a goal with one second to play to give the United States a 9-8 win over Canada in the gold medal game at the competition. Finishing the seven-game tournament with 13 goals and eight assists, Schreiber was named to the All-World Team and as the Outstanding Midfielder of the tourney.(Photo by Adam Scott/US Lacrosse)

By Bill Alden

It appeared that Tom Schreiber squandered a golden opportunity to be the hero as the U.S. men’s national team battled Canada in the final at the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) World Lacrosse Championship last month.

With the rivals locked in an 8-8 deadlock and five seconds remaining in regulation of the July 21 contest in Netanya, Israel, former Princeton University star midfielder Schreiber misfired on a good look in the crease, missing a point blank shot. more

ON THE STICK: Princeton University field hockey star Elise Wong guards the back line in a game last season. Rising senior defender Wong spent much of her summer training with the U.S. national program and was recently chosen to play on the U.S. U-21 team for another year. Wong and the Tigers will start preseason practice next week and open 2018 regular season play with a game against North Carolina on August 31 in Philadelphia, Pa. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last several years, Elise Wong hasn’t had much time to relax over the summer months.

Since emerging as a field hockey star at Lake Forest High (Ill.), Wong, who is headed into her senior season at Princeton University, has been involved with various U.S. teams, training over the summer with the national program as she has moved up the ranks.

Defensive star Wong played for the U-17 junior national team from 2012-15, for the U-19 national team in 2015-16 and is now a member of the U-21 squad. more

SKY HIGH: Princeton University field hockey player Maddie Bacskai advances the ball in a game last fall. Rising junior defender Bacskai emerged as one of the top performers in the nation in 2017, getting named as the Ivy Defensive Player of the Year and earning first-team All-American recognition. She was recently named to the U.S. U-21 team for another year, having first joined that squad in 2016. Next week, Bacskai and her Princeton teammates start preseason practices for the upcoming season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Maddie Bacskai made a big jump forward last fall in her sophomore season for the Princeton University field hockey team.

After a solid debut in 2016 which saw the star defender earn All-Ivy League honors, Bacskai emerged as one of the top performers in the nation, getting named as the Ivy Defensive Player of the Year and earning first-team All-American recognition.

“From my freshman year to my sophomore year, I made a lot of development, not only on the field, but mentally and as a leader on the team,” said Bacskai, a 5’5 native of Berwyn, Pa. more

SHARP PERFORMANCE: Community Park Bluefish swimmer Serena Sharpless displays her breaststroke form in a race this summer. Sharpless starred for the 18-and-under girls as the Bluefish took first in Division 1 at the Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet at the John Witherspoon Middle School pool on  July 23-24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Community Park Bluefish swim team rolled to another undefeated dual meet season in Division 1 PASDA action this summer, the squad outdid itself at the league’s championship meet.

The Bluefish, who have been undefeated in dual meets since 2015, rolled up 3,934.50 points in winning the Division 1 competition, nearly doubling the 2,030 scored by the runner-up Lawrenceville Swim Association. more

IN CONTROL: Daniel Baytin churns through the water in a meet last year for the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings. In late July, Baytin helped the Lemmings take fourth in Division 2 at Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet, starring in the 12-and-under boys’ group. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Cranbury Swim Club closed in 2014, Will Kinney had to find another outlet for his summer swimming.

Joining the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings as a swimmer and assistant coach, Princeton High standout Kinney quickly found a home.

“The team is a lot of fun, it is positive and it is such a great experience for everyone,” said Kinney, who is heading into his sophomore year at William and Mary. “I don’t think it could have worked out any better. I have met so many people; it has been really nice to grow with this team.” more

August 1, 2018

Christine Shao from Green Brook, N.J., hits a drive Monday at the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Championship at the Springdale Golf Club. The three-round event, which included a field of more than 70 of the top junior golfers in the country, was slated to run from July 30-August 1.(Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

As it prepares to launch its ten-day summer program on Thursday, 2018 Joint Effort Safe Streets (JE) has announced the names of honorees who will be recognized during this year’s celebration, “The Black Community in Princeton: Our Stories Lived But Seldom Heard.”

During the August 2-12 festivities, the JE program will present the Jim Floyd Memorial Lifetime Achievement Awards to Jimmy and Audrey Mack and Johnnie and Micheal Hill. The Princeton Public Library (PPL), the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), and Moriah Akrong will also be honored, receiving Mildred Trotman Community Service Awards. more

By Anne Levin

Earlier this summer, Princeton University informed members of the local community who have been using the school’s Dillon Gymnasium and Stephens Fitness Center that they would no longer be able to buy memberships for use of the pool, squash courts, and other facilities. That did not go over well.

But despite an outcry among this group and appeals to the University to reconsider, the decision is firm. As of January 1, 2019, the gym memberships will no longer be offered to the general public, some of whom have been using the pool for decades. more

By Donald Gilpin

Two Princeton residents have initiated a lawsuit against the Princeton Board of Education (BOE), charging a violation of the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), known as the “Sunshine Law.”

Filed by Corrine O’Hara and Joel Schwartz in Mercer County Superior Court on July 27, the complaint concerns the manner in which the BOE voted to renew a sending-receiving agreement (SRA) with the Cranbury Board of Education by which Cranbury students attend Princeton High School. As a result of the computer voting method used by the BOE, the public cannot witness who votes yes, who votes no, and who abstains, according to the complaint. more


About 100 hot air balloons took to the sky last weekend at the 36th Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning at Solberg Airport in Readington Township. The festival also featured a live concert series and other activities. (Photos by Erica M. Cardenas)

TAKE YOUR PICK: This house on Princeton’s Library Place is one of several in the exclusive Western Section that is currently for sale. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

There appears to be a glut of seven-figure mansions available in Princeton’s Western Section. No less than five are advertised for sale on Library Place. Four more of these palatial homes, a favorite of gawkers on tours of the town, are up for grabs on Hodge Road, around the corner. A few more have “For Sale” signs on Morven Place and Cleveland Lane.

While changes in the new tax laws, property taxes that can reach more than $60,000, the pending School Board referendum, and changing demographics add in to the equation, local real estate agents say no crisis is at hand. “It’s a convergence of a few things,” said Judson R. Henderson, whose Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty is handling a majority of the listings in the neighborhood. “I’m having this conversation a lot, but we are close to deals on a number of them and we recently put one under contract.” more

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, along with the members of the Mercer County SWAT Team, and detectives from the Princeton, Hamilton, and Trenton police departments, concluded a four-week narcotics investigation with the execution of search warrants. The undercover operation was initiated in response to a report that marijuana and acid were being sold by a resident of Red Oak Row in Princeton. After several undercover purchases conducted by detectives, the resident and his two brothers were arrested. The resident was charged with numerous first, second, and third degree drug offenses and was lodged at the Mercer County Correction Center. His brothers were charged with numerous third degree drug offenses and were released on a summons. The total amount of marijuana purchased and seized was approximately 50 grams with a street value of $500, and the total amount of acid purchased and seized was approximately 19 tabs with a street value of $380. more

Princeton area teenagers recently raised money for a school playground in Haiti, and then traveled there to help install it. The project is the latest in a series of improvements that KONEKTE Princeton Haiti has facilitated at the College Mixte Marius Carnold, east of Port Au Prince. The teens set up a stand outside McCaffrey’s Food Market, helped with garage sales, and set up GoFundMe fundraisers to help with the project.

By Anne Levin

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora prefers the title “collaborator in chief” to “mayor.” Since his inauguration July 1, the former New Jersey assemblyman has been putting his energies into creating partnerships with various public, private, and educational organizations to rejuvenate the capital city, he told members of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning.

It was standing room only at the Trenton County Club, where members and guests gathered to hear Gusciora talk about his plans. He focused on four challenges: water, public safety, education, and economic development. Gusciora also detailed a program in which Trenton would collaborate with area institutions of higher learning, giving them a greater presence in the city. more