July 10, 2024

By Anne Levin

At a meeting Monday evening, July 8, Princeton Council introduced an ordinance to adopt the redevelopment plan for properties at Princeton Theological Seminary. A public hearing on the plan, which calls for construction of 238 apartments, 20 percent of which would be designated affordable, is scheduled for the next meeting of Council on July 22.

As outlined in the 41-page proposal prepared by Kyle McManus Associates of Hopewell, the plan’s aims include utilizing smart growth principles “to achieve better planning outcomes for the community,” providing “higher density, compact development in close proximity to downtown and transit to reduce auto dependence and support greenhouse gas reductions consistent with the Princeton Climate Action Plan,” establishing a multi-family development within walking distance of downtown, providing better on-site stormwater management, and improved safety for drivers, among additional goals.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Registration is open for the YWCA After-School Program (ASP) for the 2024-2025 school year at Community Park, Johnson Park, Littlebrook, and Riverside elementary schools, and also for students who attend Pre-K at Y locations.

The program is available for students from Pre-K through grade 5, with teachers from the Y providing services on school days from 3 to 6 p.m.

To secure a space in the program, parents are encouraged to register before mid-August. Applications are approved on a first-come, first-served basis with some schools filling up faster than others.

The ASP includes 30 minutes of outdoor play, weather permitting, and indoor activities such as gym time, crafting, storytelling, games, and dancing. Students will also be provided with homework help and a nutritious afternoon snack. more

By Donald Gilpin

Reflections on Paul Robeson, the Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) neighborhood, and the future of Princeton, along with community gatherings and sports, will highlight this year’s Joint Effort Safe Streets Summer Program, starting on August 2 and continuing through August 11.

“It’s always important for the community to come together,” said Joint Effort (JE) founder and organizer John Bailey. “And it’s even more important now because we have lost our way. On the national level and on the local level we have lost our way.”

The annual program will include social, athletic, and cultural events; the presentation of numerous awards; and three discussions with community leaders on hot topics facing Princeton.  more

REVIVING A NEIGHBORHOOD: Led by Kean University, the Coalport Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Project will work to revive the Coalport section of Trenton. (Photo courtesy of Kean University)

By Anne Levin

A new project to revitalize a once-thriving section of Trenton has been launched by Kean University. The Coalport Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Project, focused on an area in the capital city’s North Ward, is funded by a two-year $750,000 federal grant, and is led by the university’s John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research and Michael Graves College School of Public Architecture.

As the project develops, teams from the two entities will engage with local residents of the neighborhood to gather input and guide the plan. Coalport “became distressed after factors such as redlining drove investment away from the area, leaving behind abandoned buildings and an underserved community,” reads a release from Kean University. “Along with addressing housing and economic opportunities for residents, the Coalport project aims to increase access to improved public spaces and build connections to adjacent communities for additional opportunities.” more

By Anne Levin

Richard Veit

As the home of Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte, the Point Breeze estate in Bordentown has been a local point of interest since Bonaparte, the exiled King of Spain, lived there from 1816 to 1839. The 60-acre property, which once included some 2,200 acres, was preserved by D&R Greenway Land Trust, the State of New Jersey, and the City of Bordentown in 2020.

Relics found at the site during multiple architectural digs are the subject of a presentation in celebration of Bastille Day on Sunday, July 14 at 2 p.m. Richard Veit, professor of anthropology at Monmouth University, will talk about the history of the site and the artifacts he has unearthed. Some of them come from the days of Lenape hunters; others are more recent, from the last century.

Veit is a member of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey. At the Bastille Day event, he will weave together the stories of two digs that connect Point Breeze to France, through the Bonaparte family. In partnership with Divine Word Missionaries — which owned the property from 1941 to 2020 — and D&R Greenway, Veit led excavations around the site of Bonaparte’s first mansion and behind the gardener’s house. Some of the artifacts he has exhumed are on display at the Discovery Center, located in the former gardener’s house.

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By Donald Gilpin

Steve Kornacki, NBC News and MSNBC national political correspondent, will be part of a conversation at the Princeton Public Library (PPL) on Thursday, July 11, at 7 p.m. A celebrity on election nights with his magic board, a large interactive screen that presents election data at his command, Kornacki is a timely visitor to Princeton at this particularly volatile juncture in U.S. politics.

Kornacki will be talking with John Mooney, founding editor of NJ Spotlight, in the hour-long event hosted by Ingrid Reed, policy analyst and former director of the New Jersey Project at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics, who worked with and mentored Kornacki when he spent three years in New Jersey reporting on state politics for a website and co-hosting a weekly show on News 12 New Jersey.

“Steve has visited the Princeton Public Library for the past few years and has drawn a large crowd each time,” Reed wrote in an email. “I expect him to do that again because he is an insightful person whose career began in New Jersey, and he can provide unique perspectives on our state in relation to national issues.”

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By Stuart Mitchner

I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up.

—Henry David Thoreau, from Walden

Late the other night, I saw an insect moving with difficulty across the damp white surface of the kitchen sink. A closer look revealed that it was a firefly, laboring, going nowhere, disoriented, too weak to blink its light, so I offered it a ride on a brand-new green scouring pad, opened the door to the deck, and watched it blink its light and take flight. Only when it met an answering light and the two were in orbit did I read the news of the day into the moment. And since this rendezvous occurred on the night of July 4, a week after the debacle of the debate and the subsequent media feeding frenzy, a pair of innocent fireflies became Biden and Harris.

What can I say? Such things happen when nature intrudes on an Independence Day column about two heroes of the holiday, Henry David Thoreau, who began his two-year-long stay at Walden Pond on July 4, 1845, and Walt Whitman, who published Leaves of Grass on July 4, 1855. more

By Nancy Plum

Audiences usually identify the saxophone with such jazz and blues superstars as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, but New Century Saxophone Quartet has shattered that image. For more than 30 years, this ensemble has shown that four saxophones can well match the pitch and dynamic range of a string quartet, amassing an impressive repertory for this combination of instruments along the way. The four members of New Century Saxophone Quartet brought their combination of “skillful artistry and down-home fun” to Richardson Auditorium last Tuesday night as part of the 57th season of the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts series. Performing music spanning more than 270 years, the Quartet well demonstrated the saxophone’s abilities to emerge from smoky jazz clubs to the forefront of the classical concert stage.  more

FROM THE IVORY COAST: Grammy award-winner Dobet Gnahoré performs on July 13 at 8 p.m. at the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center in the first of two Blue Curtain concerts this summer. (Photo by Lumar Studio 3)

Blue Curtain, a Princeton summer tradition, returns to Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheater with two free concerts in July. The first concert has been moved from Pettoranello Gardens to the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center at Franklin Avenue and Walnut Lane in anticipation of extreme heat.

Grammy Award-winner Dobet Gnahoré appears on Saturday, July 13 at 8 p.m. Hailing from Coté d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gnahoré is known for her vocal and dance talents as well as her color style sense. She appeals to fans of Angelique Kidjo, Rokia Traoré, Fatoumata Diawara, Oumou Sangaré and other divas of African music. She is currently on tour with concert stops in New York City, Berkeley, Ca.; Vancouver, Canada; and Princeton to support her newest album Zouzou.   more

Princeton Summer Theater’s season continues this summer with Jason Robert Brown’s musical The Last Five Years. The show runs through July 21 at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater.

The musical tells the story of a five-year relationship between Jamie, a rising novelist, and Cathy, a struggling actress. With a storytelling twist — his tale moves forward, hers backward — the show explores love and ambition. The actors Julien Alam and Kate Short are both graduates of Princeton’s Class of 2023. Alam, an actor based in New York, has worked on both stage and screen, including everything from Shakespeare to sitcoms. He earned a B.A. at Princeton, where he studied English, theater, classics, and humanistic studies, and is currently pursuing an MFA at NYU. He recently appeared at the Brooklyn Comedy Collective, Under St. Marks, and will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this summer.  more

STRING SESSION: Members of the Balourdet Quartet will perform a free concert at Richardson Auditorium on July 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The Balourdet Quartet will be the final concert of Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts’ 57th Season in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus on Monday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. They will offer works by Mozart, Al-Zand, and Beethoven. Princeton University’s own Ruth Ochs will once again provide commentary.

The Balourdet Quartet earned the 2024 Avery Fisher Career Grant, as well as Chamber Music America’s 2024 Cleveland Quartet Award. With more than 70 concerts per season, they are currently the Graduate Quartet in Residence at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and are recent graduates of the New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Program. more

“NJ FRESH”: The Arts Council of Princeton recently unveiled a new Spring Street mural by Sofia Schreiber in collaboration with LiLLiPiES Bakery. It is the Arts Council’s 13th mural at that location. (Photo Courtesy of Arts Council of Princeton)

Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) recently unveiled a new community mural in downtown Princeton titled NJ Fresh. Designed and painted by artist Sofia Schreiber, the illustration-style public art piece can be found on Spring Street on the side of Village Silver.

For her mural, Schreiber was inspired by the vibrancy and variety of fresh fruit abundant in New Jersey in the summertime. She said she was also thinking about Wayne Thiebaud’s delicious looking paintings and Eric Carle’s equally scrumptious illustrations in one of her favorite children’s books, The Very Hungry Caterpillarmore

“INNER CITY”: This work by Emery Williams is part of “Philotechnic Transformation,” on view in the Education Gallery at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton through August 25. An opening reception is on Friday, July 12 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Now through August 25, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) is featuring an indoor art exhibition curated by the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and the Trenton Community A-Team (TCAT).

Entitled “Philotechnic Transformation,” the exhibition at GFS spotlights the positive effect that creating art can have on people’s lives. Each piece represents a broad palette of concepts, emotions and inspirations and offers the viewer a glimpse into the individual artist’s life and creative process.  more

“HARMONIES”: Paintings by Aida Birritteri are on view at David Scott Gallery, in the offices of Berkshire Hathaway at 253 Nassau Street, through August 18. An artist reception is on Thursday, July 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

David Scott Gallery, in the offices of Berkshire Hathaway at 253 Nassau Street, presents “Harmonies,” a solo exhibition of paintings by Aida Birritteri, through August 18. An artist reception will be held on Thursday, July 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“This exhibition showcases Birritteri’s exquisite use of color, as well as her ability to move seamlessly between representation and abstraction in a variety of mediums, said curator David Scott. “Her skilled hand is evident in the gesture of her brushstrokes, boldly and intuitively marking her textured surfaces.” more

GOOD KALL: Emily Kallfelz competes in the U.S. women’s 4 in action this spring. Kallfelz, a 2019 Princeton grad, will be making her debut in the Olympics later this month when she rows in the 2024 Paris Games. (Photo by Row2k, provided courtesy of USA Rowing)

By Justin Feil

Emily Kallfelz had a great excuse to miss Princeton University Reunions in this May.

The 2019 Princeton graduate was in Lucerne, Switzerland, securing a spot in the U.S. women’s 4 boat to row in the Paris 2024 Olympics, no small achievement given her ups and downs over the last five years.  more

NET GAIN: Jonathan Gu prepares to hit a backhand in action this spring during his freshman season for the Carnegie Mellon University men’s tennis team. Former Princeton High star Gu posted a 9-7 overall record in singles and 1-3 in doubles during his debut campaign for the Tartans. (Photo provided courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University Athletics)

By Bill Alden

While Jonathan Gu struggled a bit individually as he started his college career with Carnegie Mellon University men’s tennis squad, he was buoyed by support from his teammates.

“I wasn’t playing too well in the fall, it was a new feeling playing college tennis and just being on a team environment,” said Gu, a former Princeton High standout who won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state singles title in 2022 and came in second a year later as a senior. “It is really different from high school where everybody is on a team but at the same time we all have our own responsibilities. In college, everybody is cheering as much as they can, everybody is really energized. In high school, it is more individual.” more

FORCE FIELD: Members of the Wilberforce School girls’ track team 4×800 relay quartet are all smiles after they took 10th overall at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet last month at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Pictured from left, are Laura Sallade, Maria Madigan, Gwen Mersereau, and Eve Szeliga. (Photo provided by Lois Szeliga)

By Bill Alden

Although the Wilberforce School girls’ track team only had six runners this spring, that didn’t keep them from accomplishing a lot.

The Wilberforce girls took seventh out of 18 schools at the Mercer County Championships and then took third at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B championship meet. more

July 3, 2024

A youngster recently enjoyed the water slide at Community Park Pool. The pool is now open daily through September 2. (Photo by Sarah Teo)

By Donald Gilpin

Addressing the need for accessible and affordable vision and dental care in the low to moderate-income (LMI) local population, Princeton Council has approved resolutions to renew federal programs that are fully funded by a HUD Community Development Block Grant.

“I’m thrilled that we’re continuing this,” said Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, as the Council at their June 24 meeting unanimously supported the resolution for the third year of the programs. “These are truly life-changing services that we’re providing.”

“Offering free dental and vision care to our LMI residents is an essential and impactful measure to guarantee fair access to vital health services,” Fraga added in a July 1 email. “For many, this is their first chance to receive such care, which is critical for their overall health.” more

By Anne Levin

Subtle changes are underway at Princeton Battlefield State Park. Those familiar with the site along Mercer Road may have noticed that some trees have been removed, especially around the Thomas Clarke House.

This is just the beginning of a multi-year project to make the site of Gen. George Washington’s January 1777 “Ten Crucial Days” victory against the British more historically accurate. By the time celebrations of the nation’s 250th anniversary begin in 2026, the park should more closely resemble that wartime landscape.

It is all part of a plan called “Washington’s Legacy,” and it includes the installation of a walking path, replanting of an orchard near where the Clarke House once stood, the restoration of historic tree lines, and the recreation of the Sawmill Trace Road, which Washington and his troops traveled as they came to the battlefield. The project is a collaboration of the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS), the American Battlefield Trust (ABT), and the State of New Jersey.  more

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Scholars in the Homeworks Trenton program, which will soon have a permanent headquarters designed by JZA+D near the city’s Cadwalader Park. Homeworks houses girls who attend Trenton public schools during the week, providing support and structure to help them thrive.

By Anne Levin

Among the three honorees at the Women of Achievement breakfast held by the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce on June 26 was Natalie Tung, the co-founder and executive director of Homeworks Trenton, an after-school boarding program for marginalized girls who attend the city’s public schools. Tung, a native of Hong Kong and a graduate of the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, was nominated for the distinction by Princeton-based architect Joshua Zinder.

The two had met at a networking event during which Tung spoke of her goals for the program — to provide the students with an environment of stability, structure, and support. Fast-forward five years, and Zinder has helped Tung find a permanent home for the program in Trenton. His firm, JZA+D, has designed the repurposing of the building, which will increase its usable square footage by some two thirds, provide dormitories, a full kitchen, areas for work and study, staff apartments, and more. more

EINSTEIN IN DOHM ALLEY: Town officials joined Princeton Einstein Museum creators for a ribbon-cutting event with magnets at the opening of “Einstein’s Attraction to Magnetism,” a pop-up exhibition in Dohm Alley at 102 Nassau Street through September 15. From left are Einstein Museum Board Treasurer Riten Patel, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Staff Research Physicist Frances Kraus, Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, Princeton Municipal Administrator Bernie Hvozdovic Jr., Princeton Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros, property owner Stanley Dohm, and exhibit designer Jonn McCollum. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Einstein Museum)

By Donald Gilpin

“Einstein’s Attraction to Magnetism,” a summer pop-up exhibition, opened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on June 27 at Dohm Alley on Nassau Street, and it will remain open through September 15.

Created by the Princeton Einstein Museum, which is under development for a future opening, the exhibit includes four 9×4-foot banners with information about magnetism and how it is used, Princeton-area research using magnets, a life-sized Einstein selfie, and a hands-on ferrofluid playground. more

By Anne Levin

The Jasna Polana Golf Club is under a purchase/sale agreement with Concert Golf Partners to sell the club and its amenities. The transaction is expected to close on July 9. Concert Golf Partners is a property investment company in Heathrow, Fla., with more than 30 private clubs in its collection.

The 222-acre property and 18-hole golf course, bordered by Route 206 and Province Line Road, has been on the market since last September. It will remain in full use as a golf club and will not be developed, according to administration of the club.

“One hundred percent, they will keep it as is,” said Peter Angerame, Jasna Polana’s director of sales and marketing. “They didn’t buy this to develop it.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The theme is understanding the past and shaping the future, and Morven on Stockton Street in Princeton, embodying a rich history that dates from the American Revolution to the roaring ’20s to the societal upheavals of the 1960s, provides an ideal setting to explore that theme.

Morven Museum & Garden, supported by a variety of community partners, is taking on the challenge of connecting history and civic engagement with a July schedule of educational programs and entertaining events that includes a festive Fourth of July Jubilee; a community reading of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”; a Summer Reading Soirée with two authors of historical fiction discussing their recent novels; summer cream tea service in Morven’s historic Garden Room; and an exploration of the “hidden histories” of women’s education in early America.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

The Culture page of the Bloomsday edition of the New York Times features a photoshopped image of the insect hero of Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” complete with feelers and a smartphone shell. The June 16 dateline of the article by Amanda Hess (“The Very Online Afterlife of Franz Kafka”) inadvertently suggests a comradely connection between Leopold Bloom and Gregor Samsa, whose creator actually happened to be in Trieste in September 1913 when Joyce was working on the “Proteus,” “Lotus Eaters,” and “Hades” chapters of Ulysses.

In Kafka: The Decisive Years (Princeton University Press paperback 2013), Reiner Stach supposes that “if Kafka had met Joyce, there is no telling what direction world literature might have taken.” You never know. As Charlie Chan says in the epigraph heading Chapter 14, (“The Lives of Metaphors: “The Metamorphosis”) — “Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occuring.”

The only other strange event occurring on this Kafkacentric Culture page is the cluster of movie listings in the bottom righthand corner, with titles that ring all the appropriate bells: Film Forum showing Robot Dreams and Evil Does Not Exist, the IFC Center, Ghostlight and Handling the Undead, Film at Lincoln Center Kidnapped: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara. And at the Paris Theatre, it’s “Bleak Week New York: Cinema of Despair.”

And Bleak Week was well before the debacle of the debate and the existential panic that followed, even before the Supremes sang “Where Did Our Law Go?” more