August 3, 2022

By Wendy Greenberg

The racial justice group Not In Our Town Princeton (NIOT) has recognized nine middle school and high school students with Unity Awards for their anti-racism work that ranged from hosting a “Day of Dialogue,” to creating a series of podcasts featuring interviews with African American staff at Princeton High School (PHS).

In its 25th year, the Unity Awards honored six juniors and one senior from PHS and one eighth-grader each from Princeton Middle School (PMS) and Princeton Charter School, in June at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton. Also recognized were PHS teachers Joy Barnes-Johnson and Patricia Manhart for creating the Racial Literacy and Justice course at PHS.

The group also honored Shirley Satterfield, a former guidance counselor at PHS, who has a long history with the awards. A Princeton historian, Satterfield recalled that the awards were begun at three area churches, and she got involved because of her work with Pride, Unity, Leadership, Sisterhood and Esteem (PULSE) at PHS, which involved young women in academic enrichment programs.

Satterfield selected the first recipient, Alison Welski, in 1998, who now is a public health professional, and she was happily surprised by Welski’s appearance at the recent awards ceremony. 

The awards have evolved and expanded over the years, she said. A selection committee carefully goes over applications and recommendations.

NIOT is a multi-racial, multi-faith group of individuals “who stand together for racial justice and inclusive communities, focused on promoting the equitable treatment of all, and uncovering and confronting white supremacy — the system that facilitates the preference, privilege, and power of white people at the expense of non-white people and pits racial and ethnic groups against each other by upholding hierarchies based on proximity to whiteness,” according to the organization.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

…nothing will cut New York but a diamond. It should be crystal in quality, sharp as the skyline and relentlessly true.

—Dawn Powell (1896-1965), from The Diaries

When Dawn Powell invited me to lunch, I had no idea that she was the author of a dozen novels. All I knew was that she’d just reviewed my first book in the New York Post under the head “Young But Not Beat.” I was 20. She was around 60. It wasn’t until the 1990s that her work would be revived by Tim Page, a heroic, obsessively devoted enthusiast, with help from Gore Vidal, Edmund Wilson, and, eventually, The Library of America.

At lunch that day, the real novelist at the table never said a word about herself or her work. She was wise, witty, and fun. We were dining in what was to me an intimidatingly classy French restaurant in midtown called L’Aiglon. I’d already been interviewed at the Algonquin and the Russian Tea Room, but this wasn’t an interview, this was a lunch date, and my experience with dates at French restaurants had not been happy. On both occasions, one in Paris the previous summer, I’d taken girls who knew more about wine and French cuisine than I did. There were embarrassing moments. 

In Tim Page’s edition of The Diaries of Dawn Powell 1931-1965 (Steerforth Press 1995), where our luncheon is briefly noted, I’m “a bright, alert lad” who “knew Classic Comics by heart at age of 10.” Such was my contribution to the conversation. Nothing of my excitement about the novel I was writing in a top-floor room at the Players Club or about my Midwesterner’s love for New York, which, as it turns out, I shared with her. I could have talked about how, despite my heavy-handed trashing of the Beats, I loved On the Road, but I was tongue-tied. She’d actually liked my travesties of Ginsberg, my “excellent beat poems are fresh and vivid.” I already knew paragraphs of her review by heart, like the one about how the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, wild orgies on beer, and romantic dreams “would be almost too juvenile” except for the way I grew up with my novel “until at the end you see a young, rich talent come into bloom.” I was “a young man of feeling with an eagerness for experience” — and the best I could do was talk about knowing Classic Comics by heart when I was 10? more

SING OUT: David McConnell will conduct Voices Chorale’s “New Jersey Summer Open Sing” on August 22 at Music Together in Hopewell.

On Monday, August 22 at 7:30 p.m., Voices Chorale New Jersey (VCNJ) invites all singers to join an open summer sing at Music Together Worldwide Headquarters at 225 Pennington-Hopewell Road, Hopewell.

Featured will be excerpts from Folk Songs of the Four Seasons by Ralph Vaughan Williams in an arrangement by the contemporary English composer John Whittaker. David McConnell, artistic director of VCNJ, will conduct. Sheet music and refreshments will be provided.

The work brings together two vital elements of Vaughan Williams’ musical character: his lifelong love for English folksongs and folk carols and his strong support for amateur music-making. The cantata features 16 varied folk song settings, bound together in seasonal groupings that take the listener on a journey through the four seasons.

Those interested in joining Voices Chorale NJ may audition that evening by contacting Paula Mirabile at All voice parts are welcome to audition, but tenors and bass/baritones are especially encouraged. Visit for more information.

TAKING IT OUTSIDE: A recent performer at the Story & Verse outdoor summer series, sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton and African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County at Pettoranello Gardens. The next and final event in the series is Friday, August 19.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) and African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County (AACCMC) will present their monthly Story & Verse on Friday, August 19 at Pettoranello Gardens starting at 6 p.m.

This free poetic and storytelling outdoor open-mic is the last outdoor event this summer before the event moves back indoors to the ACP’s Solley Theater. Story & Verse was established in February 2020, and has continued monthly since then. The series welcomes local and regional talent to perform original works inspired by a monthly theme, providing attendees with free, community-created entertainment. This August, performers are invited to present original work inspired by this month’s theme, “Circle of Life.”

Interested performers should arrive by 5:45 p.m. Pettoranello Gardens is at 20 Mountain Avenue. Visit

ART OF SERIES: Horticulture is just one of the interests celebrated in the Arts Council’s ART OF series. Led by local leaders in art, wine, and more, ART OF events are designed to push attendees’ perceptions of creativity.

The Arts Council of Princeton introduces ART OF, a series of free and ticketed events curated to introduce attendees to the endless creativity and innovation in the Princeton community. From collecting art to tasting wine, ART OF events partner with local leaders in their respective fields, making for a social outing that will leave participants inspired.

Every dollar raised from ticketed ART OF events will benefit the Arts Council’s longstanding community outreach programs, public art initiatives, and year-long community events and projects. Tickets are available now at

While new events will be added regularly, the current ART OF lineup is as follows:

ART OF Horticulture: Exploring the Landscape at Grounds For Sculpture — Sunday, September 18, 3 to 4:30 p.m.: Join Grounds For Sculpture Horticulturist Janis Napoli on a tour of the grounds and learn about the wide variety of native and exotic trees and plants that grace the 42-acre sculpture park and museum. Tickets are $45.  more

“SCOUTSHIP”: West Windsor Arts, in collaboration with the Historical Society of West Windsor, is hosting a sculpture design contest to commemorate the 85th anniversary of “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. This piece is by Eric Schultz.

It was nearly 85 years ago when Orson Welles’ infamous “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast declared that aliens from Mars had landed in West Windsor, which caused a national stir. To celebrate this upcoming anniversary, West Windsor Arts, in collaboration with the Historical Society of West Windsor, is hosting “The mARTian Project,” a sculpture design contest. 

People of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to imagine what these interstellar beings would look like as they transition to their new home in West Windsor. Entries are encouraged to take inspiration from the audio description given by Orson Welles, but also give an original and friendly spin to how these Martians are depicted. 

Designs will be collected until September 9, and then a public vote will be held to determine which design will be sculpted as the official mascot across town. The winning design will be used to create blank, fiberglass sculptures, which will be given to local artists to decorate as part of a separate design contest that will be released in the spring of 2023.

The winning sculpture designer will receive a cash prize of $500. Details and full parameters of the contest can be found at more

“AFRICAN SKY”: This oil painting by James Wilson Edwards will be included in “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists,” on view at the Arts Council of Princeton October 14 through December 3.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will present “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists” this October. The exhibition reveals how Black artist/teachers were integral and influential members in a predominantly white regional community in the last quarter of the 20th century. While there have been significant exhibitions of a few contemporary Black artists during recent efforts by museums and galleries to become more diverse, this is one of the first exhibitions to explore the historical context from which these artists emerged.

This exhibition focuses on five late 20th-century master artists who lived and worked within 25 miles of each other in the geographic region from Princeton to New Hope, Pa.: James Wilson Edwards, Rex Goreleigh, Hughie Lee-Smith, Selma Hortense Burke, and Wendell T. Brooks. These Black artists represent a diverse and vibrant regional arts community largely unknown in contemporary American art history.

Goreleigh, Lee-Smith, and Burke began their careers working for the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project (FAP) created during the Great Depression of the 1930s to provide employment for artists. Remarkably for the time, the FAP included both Black and women artists. Its heady mix of art and politics gave Black artists a sense of racial pride, confidence that they could become successful as artists, and a belief that they, too, could help create a better society. The careers of these three artists reflect the principles learned in their early years. They, like other Black artists who came out of the FAP era, communicated these principles to others, thus shaping the careers of younger artists including Edwards and Brooks. They were successful in their artistic work and used the arts to create educational institutions where whites and Blacks mingled on equal terms — usually, the only such places in those communities. Their impact on their communities has not been generally acknowledged until this exhibition.  more

DISTINCTIVE DINING: “Our focus is pasture-to-table, rustic cooking with European influences, and we offer an exceptional location,” explain Maria and Otto Zizak, operation directors at Brick Farm Tavern in Hopewell. They are enjoying the restaurant’s patio, very popular for outdoor dining.

By Jean Stratton

Diners who come to Brick Farm Tavern not only have the chance to enjoy special pasture-to-table cuisine, but also the choice of several different dining settings, both indoors and outdoors.

These separate enclaves offer an inviting ambiance, whether one opts for the Library, the Living Room, the Wine Cellar, or the Tavern indoors, or the charming outdoor patio. The informal Dog Run Bar, with a series of picnic tables and umbrellas, and where well-behaved dogs are welcome, is still another option. A large tented area is also available for private events.

There certainly is something for everyone’s taste at this historic, meticulously restored 1820s farmhouse with its spacious grounds, including nearby working barns and fields. Truly farm-to-table!

Located at 130 Hopewell Rocky Hill Road (Route 518), it was opened in 2015 by Robin and Jon McConaughy, who also own Double Brook Farm and are founders and partners of the Brick Farm Market in Hopewell. The Tavern is now under the guidance of operation directors Otto and Maria Zizak. more

SIX SHOOTER: Zach Currier heads upfield against Yale in 2017 during his senior season for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team. Star midfielder Currier helped Canada take gold last month at the World Lacrosse Sixes tournament at The World Games in Birmingham, Ala. Currier tallied five goals in the gold medal final as Canada defeated the U.S. 23-9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Zach Currier has been adding lacrosse titles each year since graduating from Princeton University in 2017.

Indoor. Outdoor. Major League Lacrosse. National Lacrosse League. And the Mann Cup for senior men’s box lacrosse in Canada.

Last month, the former All-America midfielder for the Tiger men’s lacrosse program added another championship in the newest version of the sport. Currier scored five goals to pace Canada to a 23-9 win over the United States, which included former Princeton star Tom Schreiber ’14, in the gold medal game of the inaugural World Lacrosse Sixes at The World Games in Birmingham, Ala., on July 12.

“I was pretty happy with the win,” said Currier, a native of Peterborough, Ontario. “I know it’s been perceived as a bit of a funky format for most native lacrosse fans, but I also think at the same time it’s the way that the Olympic committee thought we had to go to make the game more acceptable to the countries that it might not be more common on.”

The Sixes discipline was created to interest Olympic organizers by modifying the traditional game of lacrosse. Sixes is played on a smaller field, six-on-six, with a shorter shot clock and modification designed to speed up the pace of play. World Lacrosse would like to see the Sixes version in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“It was cool to be in the first event and be a part of Team Canada,” said Currier. “Hopefully in 50 years when this is in the Olympics, people can look back and see my name on that roster and that would be a pretty cool thing.”

Currier’s name on a championship roster is nothing new. His name has become a significant force in the sport that he is deeply entrenched in from a variety of angles. He is working on a new collective bargaining agreement as president of the NLL Players Association, a position he has held since 2020. When he isn’t playing, that job takes up a lot of his time and energy. He also still works in product design for Warrior Lacrosse. And he works at building his skills and developing his game with no plans of exiting the game any time soon. more

SO READY: Sophia Lis, right, controls the ball in action last fall during her senior season for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team. This week, Lis will be starting preseason practice for the Lehigh University women’s soccer team as she gets ready to make her college debut. Over the summer, Lis played for Real Central New Jersey of the Women’s Premier Soccer League and helped the club advance to the league’s Eastern Conference semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophia Lis reached new heights last fall in her senior season for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, scoring a program-record 38 goals as the Tigers went 21-3 and advanced to the state Group 3 final for the first time.

In reflecting on her dream season, Lis credited her teammates with helping to inspire her heroics.

“It is all about the positive team environment around you, just knowing that everyone on the team was doing the best they can, preventing goals,” said Lis, whose goal output marked the second highest single-season total in CVC history behind the 65 scored by Steinert’s Lisa Gmitter in 1982.

“Watching our defenders work so hard, it motivated me to try and take leadership, knowing that all we needed to win the game could be one goal. I tried to have that in mind, that all it takes is one goal and have the confidence that it can be the game changer, I knew I had a good support system behind me.”

The week, Lis will be taking her game to higher level as she starts preseason practice for the Lehigh University women’s soccer team.

“I hope I can fit in and play a good amount and just have fun with the team,” said Lis, who will be hitting the field for the Mountain Hawks on August 6. “A lot of my club team friends are committed to go to other Patriot League teams and I am excited to play against them and the whole environment. I am getting more excited as I get close to the season. I was nervous when I first received the 60-page fitness packet from the coaches. I was like, these girls are going to be so much stronger than me and so much faster. I have been practicing what I am supposed to know.”

Over the summer, Lis joined the Real Central New Jersey team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League to help her get up to speed for the challenges of college soccer. more

HIGH CAL: Cal Caputo, right, heads to goal this spring for the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. Former Princeton Day School star attacker Caputo tallied 40 points on 36 goals and four assists in his debut campaign for the Ephs. (Photo provided courtesy of Williams College Athletics)

By Bill Alden

For Cal Caputo, making his debut for the Williams College men’s lacrosse team in early March proved to be worth the wait.

After his senior season for the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team in 2020 was canceled due the pandemic and he was at home for his freshman spring semester at Williams studying remotely, Caputo didn’t wait to make an impact as he hit the field against Trinity College on March 5 for his first taste of college game action.

The 5’8, 150-pound sophomore attacker tallied two goals in the first half and ended up with a hat trick as Williams prevailed 9-5.

“It was awesome, I was really nervous,” said Caputo. “It had been two years since I had played a game, it really meant something for me. I was shaking. I think I had to get hit once and settle in and see one go in. I got a few that game which was good. At the end of the day, you can never really complain about a hat trick, but it is one of those games where I could have had another two or three goals.”

Caputo’s performance in the opener proved to be a harbinger of things to come this spring as he ended up tallying 40 points on a team-high 36 goals and four assists.

“I think the speed and physicality stand out to anyone, but I also think the level of how players are scouted and how teams prepare,” said Caputo, reflecting on the transition to college lacrosse.

“In high school, I feel like I could score a million goals with Coby (former PDS teammate and current Christopher Newport star Coby Auslander) dodging and someone sliding off and there being no two slides. But college teams figure out pretty quickly what you are good at on offense. They spend all week preparing on how to shut you down and how to take away your strengths. After that first game, it was pretty obvious that I was a catch and shoot guy in the crease and you have to have a two slide ready to go. There aren’t any easy goals at the college level.” more

JUSTIN TIME: Justin Kovacevich of Athlete Engineering Institute goes up for a shot last week in playoff action in the Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday, Kovacevich tallied a game-high 20 points to help third-seeded AEI defeat ninth-seeded Majeski Foundation 50-41 in the first game of the league’s best-of-three championship series. Game two is scheduled for August 3 at the Community Park courts with game three, if necessary, slated for August 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Athletic Engineering Institute advanced to the best-of-three championship series in the Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League this year, Jalen Parham has sparked the squad.

Former Hillsborough High and Montclair State standout Parham led the league in scoring at 20.6 points per game and was named as the regular season MVP.

But when third-seeded AEI hit the Community Park courts last Monday night to face ninth-seeded Majeski Foundation in game one of the title series, Parham was missing, away on vacation.

While AEI’s Justin Kovacevich acknowledged that not having Parham on court was a challenge, he and his teammates were unfazed.

“He has definitely been carrying the scoring load for us throughout the season, but we knew we could step up and move the ball around,” said Kovacevich of Parham. “Everybody played their part tonight.” more

July 27, 2022

The hot weather didn’t deter dancers on Friday evening at a free outdoor dance at Hinds Plaza sponsored by the Princeton Public Library in collaboration with the Central Jersey Dance Society. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

PROPOSED DESIGN: This rendering from Dowling Studios shows the vision of restaurateurs Carlo and Raoul Momo for 70-74 Witherspoon Street, where two 19th century buildings currently house Terra Momo Bread Company and A Taste of Cuba.

By Anne Levin

At an upcoming meeting of Princeton’s Planning Board, the future of a corner of Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place will be considered. The property, at 70-74 Witherspoon, was the subject of a “courtesy review” held by the town’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) on July 18.

The owners, restaurateurs Raoul and Carlo Momo (CRX Associates), plan to tear down two 19th century buildings at the site, home for the past few decades to Terra Momo Bread Company and A Taste of Cuba cigar parlor. They propose to replace them with a three-story, mixed use project containing a restaurant/wine bar, bakery, and gourmet market on the first floor, and apartments on the two upper levels. The architect is Leslie Dowling, wife of Carlo Momo.

The corner has a distinctive history, but is not officially designated historic. From 1931 to 1976, it was home to a beauty salon run by Virginia Mills, whose husband was the first Black postman in Princeton. Toto’s Market, which closed in 1987 after 75 years, was also located there.

Before offering their own comments, members of the HPC heard from the Momos’ attorney Tom Letizia, and Carlo Momo. Letizia asserted that the buildings are going to be demolished no matter what, and there was no legal basis for the review because the buildings are not mentioned in the town’s master plan.

“However, we are here in good faith, and hoping that with some discussion, perhaps we can incorporate something into the plan that will commemorate the history [of the site],” he said. “I think there are ways we can show evidence of that history, and tell the public who will be customers of this new restaurant — and even the apartment tenants above — about the history that occurred on this property.”

Carlo Momo said that since CRX Associates bought the buildings nearly 25 years ago, neighboring Princeton Public Library and the Arts Council of Princeton were reconstructed, the Residences at Palmer Square was built, and the site housing the restaurants Elements and Mistral underwent a substantial reconstruction. The presence of dumpsters, closings of Witherspoon Street, and other factors related to these projects caused major disruptions and financial strain for the two businesses. more

By Donald Gilpin

Three incumbents and two new candidates will be competing for three positions on the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) in the upcoming November 8 election.

At the 4 p.m. Monday, July 25 deadline, new candidates Lishian “Lisa” Wu and Margarita Rafalovsky, along with incumbents Debbie Bronfeld, Susan Kanter, and Dafna Kendal, had filed with the Mercer County Clerk to run for three-year terms on the Princeton BOE. Bronfeld and Kendal, who is currently BOE president, will be running for their third terms, and Kanter will be seeking her second term in office.

Wu and Rafalovsky have not yet responded to email and phone requests for commentary on their campaigns. The three incumbents provided statements and background information for an article in the July 13 Town Topics, and all the candidates will be discussed more fully and provided a forum for their opinions in a fall issue of Town Topics.

Though a new candidate for BOE, Wu is a familiar figure on the local political scene. She ran for Princeton Council in 2018 on the Republican ticket, losing out to Democrats Dwaine Williamson and Eve Niedergang. In 2019 she ran for Mercer County Executive and lost to incumbent Democrat Brian Hughes.

A resident of Elm Court on Elm Road, Wu was born in Taiwan and came to the United States to study at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1974. She raised three children as a single mother.  more

By Anne Levin

Starting on Monday, September 12, Princeton Council will be back to the pre-pandemic practice of meeting in person. The governing body adopted a resolution at its Monday, July 25 meeting, making it official.

While attending via Zoom will still be an option, Council made it clear that because internet connections sometimes fail, the only way to guarantee participation in a meeting is to show up at Witherspoon Hall. A bit later in the meeting, as if on cue, the connection went down for a few minutes.

Meetings will be noticed for gathering in person, but the technology to meet virtually will be available. Should there be a rise in COVID-19 cases, the meetings would switch back to being held virtually. “It has been part of the process of thinking that through,” said Mayor Mark Freda. “We had a trial run-through, and everything looked and sounded good. So we hope to be able to accommodate those who wish to be in person, or those who want to watch from home.”

Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance appropriating $388,000 to pay for replacement of the cooling tower and circulator motors at Princeton Public Library. The specific wording appropriates that amount and authorizes the issuance “of $368,600 in bonds or notes of Princeton to finance part of the cost thereof.” 

Councilman David Cohen praised the library’s engineer for providing a thorough study of operational and maintenance costs. Councilman Leighton Newlin agreed. “The cost is necessary and the all the homework has been done to assure we have made the right decision in a meaningful way,” he said. more

COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE: Members of the Trenton Climate Corps are working full-time this summer to help mitigate the effects of climate change in Trenton, while learning marketable skills for future employment. Urban agriculture, revitalizing local gardens, is one of the major components of the program sponsored by Isles, Inc. with the support of community partners. (Photo courtesy of Isles)

By Donald Gilpin

Six members of the Trenton Climate Corps (TCC) team were at work in Cadwalader Park last Friday morning taking an inventory of existing trees — their location, condition, diameter, crown health — in preparation for a major planting initiative in the fall.

“Before this program I knew a little bit about trees, but I didn’t know anything about planting or how to compost or anything like that,” said local resident Malachi Brown, who has been on the job for about six weeks so far in this 12-week pilot program. “This program is about education. You really learn how to self-preserve as far as getting your own fruits and vegetables from the garden is concerned.”

TCC worker Raymond Brooks added, “It’s interesting and it’s fun. And we might be saving the future of the planet.”

Isles Inc., a community development and environmental organization, recently launched the TCC in seeking to support the local community in mitigating the effects of climate change and teaching corps members marketable skills in environmental industries to help them gain future employment.

The TCC is part of a regional and national effort. There are about 10 organizations with climate corps programs in the Delaware Valley with support from The William Penn Foundation and The Corps Network.

In addition to tree inventory and planting, the TCC crew is pursuing climate change mitigation efforts in urban agriculture, stormwater mitigation, and neighborhood cleanups, working to improve both short- and long-term viability and safety of city living.

Their work will help to combat the heat island effect that causes cities to be several degrees warmer than the suburbs, as well as improving stormwater runoff systems to help reduce the effects of flooding in the aftermath of increasingly volatile storms.

Isles Deputy Director of Community Planning and Development Jim Simon, who oversees the TCC, commented on their efforts in Cadwalader Park. He noted that the tree inventory will be part of a grant application to the state, in conjunction with other community partners, for future tree planting in the park. “The last inventory was done about 20 years ago,” he said. “There are a lot of dead trees in the park, and we’re adding new trees as well, trying to do a comprehensive inventory.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Nancy Whalen

Two educators have recently stepped into key leadership roles in the Princeton Public Schools (PPS). Nancy Whalen, a former principal and guidance counselor in Hamilton Township, will be the interim principal at Riverside Elementary School for the 2022-23 school year, and Joy Barnes-Johnson, Princeton High School science teacher and racial literacy educator, will be the supervisor of science for grades 6 to 12.

Whalen succeeds Ebony Lattimer, who moved to a position as assistant principal at the Princeton Middle School, and Barnes-Johnson — subject to anticipated Board of Education approval at last night’s July 26 meeting, which took place after press time — takes over the science supervisor job from Mridula Bajaj, who moved to a similar position in another district.

In announcing Whalen’s appointment, PPS Superintendent Carol Kelley praised her extensive elementary school leadership experience, her background in counseling, and “a passion for elementary education.”

“My main objective in the beginning of the year here is really to build community,” said Whalen, who has already been meeting with Riverside teachers and administrators. She has additional meetings planned with Riverside Parent Teacher Organization members in August, and in the fall is looking forward to visiting every classroom to read with the students.

“I plan to meet all the students and get to know their names, so they see me and become familiar with who I am,” she added. “That’s important.”

In addition to “opening lines of communication, reaching out, and getting to know everybody,” close collaboration with the faculty is a priority for Whalen. “There’s always room for everybody to grow, so I’m going to try and build on that,” she said. “It’s going to be a collaborative effort with teachers, families, and myself to see where we need to grow.” more

By Anne Levin

There is still time to weigh in on Princeton’s future. The “Tell Us What You Want” survey, seeking thoughts on everything from parking to the town’s historic character, will remain open through August 8 at least, according to Acting Planning Director Justin Lesko.

“We are getting out a Spanish version as well,” Lesko said on Tuesday, “and we’re hoping to have it ready by tomorrow.”

The survey (, launched July 1, takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

It is the first step in the Princeton Planning Board’s process of rewriting the town’s master plan, which is almost 25 years old. Yellow signs have been posted all over town and on social media this month urging residents, employees of local businesses, visitors, and anyone else who knows Princeton to comment on what they like and don’t like about it, and what they would like to see in the future.

Most of the 42 questions are related to dining, shopping, and other aspects of life in the central business district, Princeton Shopping Center, and Palmer Square. The survey asks participants to estimate a percentage of how much they spend a month for eating at local restaurants, ordering takeout, and non-food expenses; what specific stores and restaurants should come to town; the cleanliness and overall appearance of the community; and if there should be an increased focus on tourism. Mobility for pedestrians and motorists is also a focus.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

—The Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun”

And here comes the air-conditioning. I’ve already got the ceiling fan going. We’ve had central air for 30 years now and we never take it for granted. I spent nine summers in New York without it. In the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City,” the back of your neck gets “dirty and gritty,” and “people looking half dead” are walking on a sidewalk “hotter than a match head.” The song says it’s a pity that city days can’t be like city nights, dancing away the heat. I say day or night, New York was never more grittily, intimately, crazily itself than in the hot, humid core of an un-airconditioned summer of reading and sweating, breathing it all in because it was part of being one with the city. And in your teens and early twenties New York summer nights were fine for walking down Greenwich Avenue for a midnight hamburger at the White Tower or all the way up Seventh or Sixth Avenue to wander around Times Square feeling the flash and crackle of the big signs, the back of your neck not hot and gritty but cool and sweaty damp, standing outside the Metropole watching Cozy Cole and his band blowing the blues away on the stand behind the bar.

Reading City Heat

Summer afternoons reading Wolfe, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Salinger, pairing heat and fiction, I merged my sweet, sweltering city with the mid-1920s New York summer of The Great Gatsby, which I first read in a muggy second-floor room with windows open on Waverly Place. Jay Gatsby comes across cool and freshly conceived in contrast to the “deep summer” of the central chapter, where after referring to how in “this heat every extra gesture was an affront to the common store of life,” Fitzgerald offers a “room, shadowed well with awnings, … dark and cool,” where “Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans.”

Years later in the front room of a second-floor brownstone oven on West 87th, when I wasn’t watching kids on the street below at play in the gush of the open fire hydrant, I was living in the post-war Manhattan summer of J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters, where “the heat of the afternoon was, to say the least, oppressive,” as the cab carrying the missing groom’s brother Buddy Glass and the chain-smoking Matron of Honor (“I’m so hot I could die!”) moved west, “directly, as it were, into the open furnace of the late-afternoon sky.”  more

“DETROIT ’67”: Performances are underway for “Detroit ’67.” Directed by Anike Sonuga, the play runs through July 31 at the Hamilton Murray Theater at Princeton University. Above, from left, are Sheleah Harris (Bunny) and Gabriel Generally (Lank). (Photo by Ethan Curtis Boll)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The Detroit Riot of 1967, also known as the Detroit Rebellion or the 12th Street Riot, is the setting of Detroit ’67. Dominique Morisseau’s 2013 drama depicts an African American woman’s determination to provide security for her family; and her younger brother’s wish to start a new life, and blur racial boundaries. All of these goals are tested by the arrival of a mysterious white woman — and the riot.

Chelle, one of the protagonists, hosts underground parties to pay for her (unseen) son Julius’ college education. Lank, her younger brother, wants to open his own bar. This ties into the event that incited the Detroit Riot: a police raid of an unlicensed bar, in which all of the patrons were arrested.

Detroit ’67 is an installment of Morisseau’s three-play cycle The Detroit Project. Morriseau is a 2018 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow whose other credits include the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.

The music of Motown, notably the Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” pervades Detroit ’67. Music is a “resource and clue to my work, and music plays a unifier among cultural barriers.” Morisseau tells

Princeton Summer Theater (PST) is concluding its 2022 season with Detroit ’67. Directed by Anike Sonuga, the production successfully conveys the colliding character arcs and rising tensions, which are exacerbated by historical events. more

By Nancy Plum

When one thinks of classical music “trios,” what might come to mind is an ensemble of strings and piano, with plenty of works to perform from throughout music history. The chamber ensemble Zodiac Trio, formed in 2006 by musicians from the Manhattan School of Music, has broken this mold by dedicating a career to repertoire for clarinet, violin, and piano. Taking an unconventional route to success, clarinetist Kliment Krylovskiy, violinist Vanessa Mollard, and pianist Riko Higuma polished their ensemble sound with extensive study in Paris. Zodiac Trio brought an impressive and entertaining concert to Richardson Auditorium last Thursday night to close the 55th season of the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts series. 

The Trio opened the program conventionally, albeit with lesser-known works. Composer Paul Schoenfeld has infused his music with a scholarly command of mathematics and Hebrew studies, and his one-movement Freylakh also showed the influence of the Eastern European klezmer tradition. Zodiac Trio began Freylakh with a fiery start, immediately displaying a fierce piano part played by Higuma and the recognizable klezmer scales in Krylovskiy’s clarinet lines. The Trio consistently demonstrated exact rhythms, settling in well to the unusual sonorities of clarinet, violin, and piano together, and well representing the “merry” atmosphere indicated by the work’s title.

Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla was especially known for his use of Argentine dance forms, and this musical flavor was evident in the two short Piazzolla pieces arranged for the Trio by pianist Higuma. Chau Paris evoked a sultry Parisian night, with an understandably dramatic and demanding piano part. In this piece, Krylovskiy provided a lyrical clarinet line, joined by violinist Mollard for a swirling finish. Fugata introduced technically challenging melodic material one instrument at a time, with Higuma playing clean unisons between the two hands of the piano accompaniment. 

The principal work on the first half of the program was a concert suite of five movements from Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (A Soldier’s Tale), originally scored for seven instruments but also arranged by the composer for clarinet, violin, and piano. Zodiac Trio began the work with solid unisons and a percussive piano part, with Krylovskiy playing high in the register of the clarinet. Violinist Mollard commanded the second movement storyline of the fiddle which the devil is trying to buy from the soldier, demonstrating numerous double stops and a nonstop jagged melodic line. The fourth movement series of dances was seamless, with the three instruments creating a well-blended sonority. The closing “Dance of the Devil” was as demonic as one would expect from a movement with this title, with all instruments well up to Stravinsky’s technical demands.  more

“BAIRN”: The animated sci-fi film by Mason Gross School of the Arts Conservatory student Kaushik Tare is part of the 2022 Princeton Student Film Festival.

The 2022 Princeton Student Film Festival will be held Wednesday, August 3, at Princeton Public Library. Screenings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s Community Room. Many of the filmmakers will be in attendance to talk about and answer questions about their films.

The festival, in its 19th year, features 10 short works by high school and college students from the Princeton area and throughout the United States. Genres include animation, comedy, dramatic feature, documentary, experimental, personal narrative, and thrillers.

“The student film festival is a great chance for student filmmakers to show their work to a live audience, and to share their insight and get feedback,” said Youth Services Department Head Susan Conlon, who coordinates the event. “The films are inspired and imaginative and reflect the filmmakers’ commitment to developing their visual and technical craft and the art of good storytelling.” more

PLAYERS SOUGHT: The Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra’s intermediate Concert Orchestra is shown in a performance that took place on June 12. (Photo by Angela Branchek)

The Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra (GPYO) is seeking instrumentalists entering grades 4-12 who play wind, brass, percussion, and lower string instruments. The deadline to sign up is August 15; the deadline to submit videos is August 22. The audition fee is $25.

Members improve their musicianship, play under major conductors, learn challenging repertoire, participate in sectionals and master classes with professional musicians, perform in venues like the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall, and make lifelong friends. Ensembles include the Symphonic Orchestra, the Concert Orchestra, the Preparatory String Ensemble, and the Chamber Wind Ensemble

The GPYO was founded in 1960 as the Mercer County Symphonic Orchestra and recently joined forces with the Westminster Conservatory of Music. The mission is to provide excellent training and performance opportunities for students seeking a challenging musical ensemble experience, and to cultivate a lifelong appreciation of the arts. more

CHRISTMAS IN JULY: American Repertory Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” is among the holiday offerings coming to the State Theatre New Jersey in December. (Photo by Leighton Chen)

State Theatre New Jersey is offering a special Christmas in July sale through Sunday, July 31. Tickets for just added holiday shows are 20 percent off with the promo code JOLLY20.

New to the lineup and part of the Christmas in July Sale are The Irish Tenors in the “We Three Kings” Christmas Concert on December 8; The Nutcracker with American Repertory Ballet on December 16-18; The Queen’s Cartoonists Holiday Hurrah – Yule Love It! on December 23; and a New Year’s Eve tradition at State Theatre, Salute to Vienna on December 31.  

The sale will expire July 31 at 11:59 p.m. Visit for more information.