May 10, 2023

By Anne Levin

At a Community Roundtable held by the municipality to discuss the redevelopment of a tract that formerly included Princeton Theological Seminary housing and administrative offices, it became clear that the future of the five-acre site is of concern not only to residents of the surrounding neighborhood, but to those living in other areas of Princeton as well.

Some 80 people attended the gathering about the former Tennent-Roberts-Whiteley campus at Witherspoon Hall on Saturday morning, May 6. Several spoke in favor of affordable housing on the site, with many who live near the property requesting that the architecture of the neighborhood, which includes many historic buildings, be respected in the process.

Referred to as the “contract purchaser,” Princeton-based developer Jamie Herring was present at the meeting, but did not speak. more


SO MANY VARIETIES: Marquand Park is home to more than 140 specimens of trees, the focus of an upcoming walking tour presented by the Historical Society of Princeton and the Marquand Park Foundation.

By Anne Levin

When 19th century architect John Notman designed the Italianate villa and grounds at a corner of Princeton in what is now known as Marquand Park, he planted trees such as beech, oak, cedar of Lebanon, and Norway spruce. Many of those original plantings still thrive today, sharing space with more than 140 different tree specimens on the lush property.

The trees are the stars of “The Magic and History of Marquand Park,” a walking tour taking place Saturday, May 20 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., starting at the Lover’s Lane parking lot. The Historical Society of Princeton is presenting the event, which will be led by members of the Marquand Park Foundation. The property’s history will also be explored on the tour.

“Everybody knows the sandbox in Marquand Park, but many people don’t know that there are so many unique trees here,” said Evie Timberlake, co-chair of the Foundation since longtime president Annette Merle-Smith died last month. Merle-Smith had recently donated a new information sign, for which a ribbon-cutting will be held before the tour begins. more

By Anne Levin

Following a work session on a proposed food waste recycling drop-off program, Princeton Council gave the go-ahead at its meeting on Monday evening, May 8, to further explore options related to an initiative that would start in September. It would allow participating households — 200 to start — to deposit scraps in one of two designated collection sites.

The program would cost the town $5,000 for materials and supplies and operate at about $3,600 a month. The two drop-off locations would be at Witherspoon Hall and Monument Hall. Open to all interested residents, the program is proposed to be first-come, first-served, with a waiting list. Some members of Council suggested that a lottery might be a preferable way to proceed.

“I feel that’s [first-come, first-served] not the most equitable way to do that, because some of our community members are less in touch with what’s going on,” said Councilwoman Eve Niedergang. “It’s going to be people who are foaming at the mouth, ready to get this. I’d love to see a lottery instead, where you pick 100 names out of a hat. That way, someone who finds out about it three weeks later still has a shot.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Business innovator, education leader, and former professional basketball player Brian Taylor will be featured at the next Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association (WJNA) meeting on May 20.

Taylor, a Princeton University basketball legend and 1984 graduate now based in Los Angeles, will be introducing and recruiting for his Summer of a Lifetime Program (SOAL U), which will be held this August on the Princeton University campus.

”I’m thrilled to officially launch SOAL U this summer,” he said. “We are dedicated to helping a diverse group of students develop leadership skills with the assistance of the community of Princeton, as well as Princeton University professors who helped develop the program.”

Starting with 50 students in a smaller daytime pilot program last summer, SOAL U is on a growth trajectory with spots for 100 high school students this summer: 50 ninth graders coming for four days and three nights in early August and another 50 10th, 11th, and 12th graders coming for a two-week session later in the month.

The students will be staying at the Princeton Theological Seminary and taking a range of courses taught by Princeton professors and others and focusing on science, math, writing, entrepreneurship, and more.


By Stuart Mitchner

Musically, it was like the notes had always been part of my nature, the composer’s expressions mirroring the ebb and flow of my own emotions.

—Hélène Grimaud on Brahms

Sunday, May 7, 2023, began online as Google marked Johannes Brahms’s 190th birthday with a series of “doodles” depicting young handsome Brahms and old bearded Brahms at the keyboard. The smooth male voice delivering the minute and a half commentary sounded almost human until the robot referred to Brahms’s Piano Concerto “No” One in D Minor and Symphony “No” One in C Minor. All it took was the pothole of a period after “No” to make the number a negative, and if Harry Nilsson’s right that “one is the loneliest number you’ll ever do,” we’ve got the makings of an A.I. haiku.

Unlovely Angel

Brahms and His World (Princeton University Press 2009) includes a sketch of the “beautiful youth” who dazzled Robert and Clara Schumann with his pianistic and compositional genius one autumn morning in 1853. As drawn by J.B. Laurens, the angelic profile is hard to match with a friend’s word-picture of the young composer’s “unlovely appearance” at the keyboard: his “short, square figure, the almost straw blond hair, the jutting lower lip that lent the beardless youth a slightly sarcastic expression.” His “entire aspect,” however, was “permeated by strength: the broad lionlike chest, the Herculean shoulders, the mighty head at times tossed back energetically while playing.” more

By Nancy Plum

The most recognized orchestral ensemble on Princeton University’s campus might be the University Orchestra, but Princeton University Sinfonia has had just as much impact providing students and audiences with opportunities to hear both symphonic masterpieces and lesser-known works. Conducted by Ruth Ochs, Princeton Sinfonia performed its final concert of the season last Friday night at Richardson Auditorium, presenting a world premiere amid musical reflections of Irish culture and a nod to the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

The world premiere was of a piece by University sophomore Toussaint Santicola Jones. Inspired by the Leonora Carrington painting Red Horses of the Sidhe in the Princeton University Art Museum, Jones created a two-movement work musically depicting Carrington’s landscape and incorporating ancient Irish mythology. The resulting Naked, Upon the Road to Tara was an appealing orchestral work making full use of the large Sinfonia ensemble. more

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU: The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra plays live as the iconic film “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” is screened at the State Theatre on May 21.

State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick presents “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert” with the New Jersey Symphony on Sunday, May 21 at 3 p.m. The program features a screening of the complete film with composer John Williams’ musical score performed live to the film. The concert will be led by conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos. Tickets range from $59-$129. 

Since the release of the first Star Wars movie over 40 years ago, the Star Wars saga has inspired audiences around the world with its mythic storytelling, groundbreaking special effects, and iconic musical scores composed by Williams.  more

FEMALE ROCKERS: Backed by local musicians, this group of women will trace the paths of rock pioneers from the 1950s to the present at a free concert in Hinds Plaza on June 9.

Five diverse female vocalists, backed by Princeton-area musicians, celebrate and trace female rock pioneers across time in a special after-hours show, presented by Princeton Public Library, in Hinds Plaza on June 9 at 7 p.m.

Women have been performing rock music for nearly 80 years, and are often under-appreciated and under-valued in the genre of rock ’n’ roll. This event celebrates these pioneers who changed the world with their voices and messages. The performance features music by female rockers from the 1950s to the present, backed by rock musicians currently performing in Princeton area bands. 

In the event of rain, the performance will be held in the Community Room. more

DUO PIANISTS: Westminster Conservatory faculty members Ena Bronstein Barton, left, and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer will perform at a concert by the Westminster Community Orchestra.

The Westminster Community Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will present a concert celebrating piano duo Ena Bronstein Barton and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer on Sunday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in Hillman Auditorium at the Marian Buckelew Cullen Center on the Westminster Campus of Rider University, Walnut Lane. A suggested donation of $10 will be accepted at the door.

Barton and Lehrer, who perform on two pianos, have previously performed as soloists and duo with the Westminster Community Orchestra. They will perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in Eb, No. 10 (K. 365). The program will also include Beethoven’s Namensfeier (Name-day) Overture, Op. 115; and selections from Fauré’s Pelléas et Melisande Suite. more

“BARCELONA SUBWAY PERFORMER”: This silkscreen print by Trenton artist Chee Bravo is among the more than 40 pieces on display in “Fast Forward to 40,” on view through June 11 in the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park.

“Fast Forward to 40,” the Trenton City Museum’s latest exhibition, celebrates the art and artists of the Ellarslie Open over the show’s 40 years. On view through June 11, it is a special lead-up to the “Ellarslie Open 40,” opening June 24. more

“DANCE OF THE THREE GRACES: MARCH”: A number of original artworks created by Charles David Viera will be featured in a one-night exhibition and reception on May 20 to benefit the nonprofit Evolve Pink.

Evolve Pink has teamed with artist Charles David Viera to offer a number of original artworks created by Viera exclusively for Evolve Pink with proceeds going to that nonprofit. This one-night exhibition and reception will be free and open to the public and take will take place on Saturday, May 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Evolve Pink was initially founded by Jennifer Montes M.D. as a support system for women who have survived or are battling cancer and has evolved as a support resource for all women. The Evolve Pink space at 124 Main Street in Flemington, which will host the event, offers support groups, book clubs, and variety of programs and events where women can connect with other women in a positive and supportive environment. more

“AIRY IMAGININGS, GROUNDED MUSINGS”: Mare McClellan’s “Spaces Between No. 8,” left, and James Jansma’s “Tempered Bloom” are featured in this month’s exhibition at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell. A reception is on May 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Morpeth Contemporary now presents recent work by two gallery artists: Bucks County artist Mare McClellan and Hopewell artist James Jansma. The origin of their work — both figuratively and literally — is of the earth. Entitled, “Airy Imaginings, Grounded Musings,” this exhibit speaks to their creative processes from conception to realization.

A reception is on Saturday, May 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. more

“PALMER SQUARE”: This Minwax stain on wood work by Sean Carney is featured in “Form and Foundation,” his joint exhibition with Henrieta Maneva, on view May 13 through June 10 in the Arts Council of Princeton’s Taplin Gallery. An opening reception is on Saturday, May 13 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton will show “Form and Foundation,” a dual exhibition of paintings from New Jersey artists Sean Carney and Henrieta Maneva, May 13 through June 10 in the Taplin Gallery.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, May 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. more

SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Jake Stevens heads upfield in a 2022 game. Last Sunday, senior midfielder Stevens scored six goals on six shots as Princeton routed Yale 19-10 in the Ivy League postseason tournament final. The Tigers, now 8-6, will play at fifth-seeded Penn State (9-4) in an NCAA first round contest on May 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The mission was clear for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team as it headed to New York City last weekend to compete in the Ivy League postseason tournament.

Coming into the event with a pedestrian 6-6 record, Princeton needed to win the four-team tourney at Columbia’s Wien Stadium to book a trip to the NCAA tournament or it was going home for the season. more

POWER SURGE: Princeton University baseball player Kyle Vinci waits for a pitch in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Vinci hit a homer in a 6-5 win over Brown. It was Vinci’s 20th home run of the spring, a new Ivy League single-season record. Vinci was later named the Ivy Player of the Week, going 6 for 15 with three homers, four runs, and eight RBIs as Princeton fell 8-7 to Rutgers last Wednesday and then went 1-2 in the weekend series against Brown. The Tigers, now 22-21 overall and 13-8 Ivy, are next in action when they compete in the league postseason tournament from May 19-22. (Photo by Shelley Szwast, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Princeton University baseball head coach Scott Bradley had a vision for Kyle Vinci four years ago.

Vinci then was a high school player putting up strong power numbers for nearby powerhouse Delbarton School.

“He told me he wanted me to be a middle of the lineup guy putting balls into the trees in center field,” said Vinci. “I definitely knew this is what I was capable of, and it’s just great to see it.” more

MAKING HISTORY: Members of the Princeton High girls’ golf team are all smiles after they placed first in the Mercer County Tournament last Wednesday at the Mercer Oaks East course. Pictured, from left, are head coach Jess Monzo, Jacqueline Zang, Rachel McInerney, Tia Sindu, Raima Srivastava, and Madeleine Zang. The Tigers, who are in their first year as an official program, had a team score of 327 to defeat runner-up WW/P-South by 10 strokes. PHS went on to take second in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Sectional Tournament at Stanton Ridge Golf Club in Whitehouse Station last Monday. The Tigers are next in action when they compete in the State Championships on May 16 at the Raritan Valley Country Club in Bridgewater.

By Bill Alden

When Madeleine Zang came to Princeton High in 2019, she wasn’t sure if there was an avenue at the school for her to pursue a passion for golf.

“I was hoping there was some sort of golf team or something, hopefully a girls team,” said Zang, who started playing competitively as an 8-year-old in New York and moved to the Princeton area before starting high school. “There was no girls’ team; when I started out freshman year, there was just a coed team.”

Zang played with the boys, emerging as a key performer for the squad. more

ATTACK MENTALITY: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Patrick Kenah cradles the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, junior attacker Kenah tallied eight goals and one assist, including the game-tying and game-winning goals, to help PHS rally for a thrilling 13-12 overtime triumph against the Ravens. The Tigers, who improved to 7-5 with the win, were slated to host Lawrence High on May 9 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into the spring, Patrick Kenah got a tutorial on the keys to taking the reins of the attack for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team.

Junior star Kenah consulted Will Doran, the leading scorer in the state last spring in his senior season for PHS, to get some tips.

“Will was a great leader of mine; I talked to him before the season about what I should be doing,” said Kenah of Doran, who is currently playing for the Williams College men’s lax program. “He gave me all of the good stuff to know.” more

MIGHTY QUINN: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Quinn Gallagher sprints upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, freshman Gallagher tallied two goals as PHS lost 14-2 at Peddie. The Tigers, who fell 17-3 to Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Monday to drop to 6-6, host Monroe on May 12 before playing at Northern Burlington on May 13 and at the Hun School on May 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Quinn Gallagher picked up lacrosse as a little girl by tagging along with her oldest sister Reece.

“I started playing with Reece when I was really young,” said Gallagher. “We got into it together.”

This spring, freshman Quinn has joined senior Reece and their other sister, junior Avery, on the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team.

“I am excited to play with all three of us together,” said Gallagher, whose father, Charlie, is the head coach of the PHS football team. “They push me to be my best.” more

GOAL-ORIENTED: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Sophie Jaffe heads to goal in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior attacker Jaffe tallied four goals, including the game-winner, as PDS edged Notre Dame 12-11. Two days later, she scored three goals, including the 100th of her career, as the Panthers fell 16-6 to the Lawrenceville School. PDS defeated Peddie 20-10 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Monday to improve to 8-4 as Jaffe tallied five more goals. The third-seeded Panthers will now face second-seeded Allentown in the MCT semis on May 11. In addition, PDS was slated to host Pennington in the Prep B state semis on May 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophie Jaffe had the game on her stick for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team as it played at Notre Dame High last Wednesday afternoon.

With the foes locked in an 11-11 tie and 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Jaffe had a free position opportunity in front of the Notre Dame goal.

Senior attacker Jaffe felt the pressure of the moment as she waited for the whistle.

“It was just to get that first step off the 8-meter, I wanted make sure that I was bouncing off that line, beating the defenders, and tucking my stick, making sure I was protecting the ball,” said Jaffe. “I was a little nervous, I didn’t know if it was going to go in or not.” more

May 3, 2023

Rain didn’t deter the festivities on Saturday as 18 locations around town hosted 90 performers, including Dan Kassel, shown here on a porch on Jefferson Road, for the second annual music festival. Attendees discuss their favorite Porchfest performers in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Frank Chmiel, Princeton High School (PHS) principal who on March 17 was removed from his position, has formally requested a hearing with the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE), and he has requested that the hearing be public.

Described by a New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) document on  nonrenewals and RIFS as “an informal appearance before the board” (known as a “Donaldson hearing”), the session is expected to be scheduled by the BOE for a date in the next three weeks.

Chmiel has received from the BOE a statement of reasons for nonrenewal, but he and his lawyers have not stated when and if they will reveal those reasons before the hearing takes place.

The hearing, according to the NJSBA document, provides the employee with an opportunity “to convince the board members that they have made an incorrect determination by not offering reemployment.” It continues, “The employee will probably try to refute the board’s reasons and possibly present an assessment of his/her value to the school system.” more

LABOR ACTION: Union workers, with sign boards and giant inflatables, are continuing their demonstrations into the third week in front of the Graduate Hotel construction site on Nassau Street. The IBEW Local Union 269 electricians claim that Graduate Hotels has hired non-local workers in order to pay lower wages and benefits. (Photo by Jeffrey Tryon)

By Donald Gilpin

An inflatable giant rat, a pig, and a cat, along with a skinny Uncle Sam and an inflated image of a construction worker have towered over pedestrians and cars outside the Graduate Hotel under construction at the corner of Chambers and Nassau Streets.

A cluster of construction workers, members of the IBEW Local Union 269, has been standing on the edge of the street for several hours every day for more than two weeks, carrying signs and protesting the Graduate Hotels’ hiring of non-local workers.

“The contractor on site, Academy Electric, is not from this area and doesn’t pay the wages and maintain the standards that we fight for in Mercer County,” said Robert Beerhalter, one of the demonstrators and a representative of the union. “They’re from South Jersey — Hammonton. They’re cheating us and Mercer County.” more

By Anne Levin

When Leighton Newlin was elected to Princeton Council in 2021, he promised voters that he would represent them and listen to them — not just during his campaign, but throughout his time in office. The Princeton native has been making an effort to fulfill that promise with “Leighton Listens,” a series of informal one-on-one chats with members of the public at such area locales as Sakrid Coffee Roasters, LiLLiPiES, and Arlee’s Raw Blends.

The gatherings have gone so well that Newlin has scheduled another round. On Wednesdays this month, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., he plans to visit Earth’s End (May 3), Delizioso Bakery + Kitchen (May 10), Café Maman (May 17), Tipple & Rose (May 24), and Bagel Nook (May 31). The idea is twofold: to hear people’s comments and concerns, and give exposure to local establishments.

“It seems to me that if you’re really doing this job right, you don’t stop campaigning,” Newlin said this week. “You listen to people. And you keep it up. more

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CYCLING: During last year’s Random Acts of Community initiative, a future cyclist and her dad were rewarded with a packet of gift cards from local businesses for using a bike instead of a car to get around town.

By Anne Levin

When the Whole Earth Center first began handing out $25 gift cards to randomly reward cyclists for riding their bikes instead of driving their cars, it was the sole Princeton business involved.

Fast forward 18 years, and 26 local stores, restaurants, and organizations have joined the effort. The 2023 Random Acts of Community program, an annual event that takes place in May to coincide with National Bike Month, is handing out a total of $2,250 in gift cards, in packets that now range from $55 to $65, to 30 cyclists. more

By Donald Gilpin

Stuart Rabner

Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), best known for its extensive international scope, with scholars and programs “shaping public policy around the world,” according to its website, is ramping up its focus on issues closer to home.

About 200 students, professors, officials from state and local New Jersey government, and others from across the Garden State, gathered in SPIA’s Arthur Lewis Auditorium in Robertson Hall last Friday morning, April 28 to help launch the SPIA in New Jersey initiative. 

A longtime advocate for increasing SPIA’s footprint in New Jersey, SPIA Dean Amaney Jamal, who is also a professor of politics at the University, welcomed the participants to the three-and-a-half-hour event. 

“This morning you will hear from a distinguished group of New Jerseyans from across the political spectrum who have made meaningful contributions to cities and communities in our state,” she said. “Their presence here today reflects our commitment to take the research-driven nonpartisan approach to promote policies that foster racial, economic, and social justice statewide.”  more