Mira Nakashima Creates in the Present, While Preserving the Legacy of the Past
By Wendy Greenberg | Photographs courtesy of Mira Nakashima
The Connaught Grill in London’s Mayfair neighborhood has been called legendary, known for its traditional British ambiance. After being closed for a decade, it reopened with some fanfare in early 2020, reimagined with resplendent wood wall panels, tables, and chairs, a new take on its old style.
It is unmistakably the work of George Nakashima Woodworkers, helmed now by George’s daughter Mira Nakashima. The craftsmanship is both a tribute to Mira’s father, and her personal artistry. She considers the work of George Nakashima Woodworkers not only a continuation of his legacy, but her own legacy as well.
Since her father’s death in 1990, Mira has been running the business, overseeing the designs and monitoring the upkeep of 15 buildings — residences and studios — off Aquetong Road in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and has gained her own international recognition. The Connaught is not the only recent significant project.
“The Connaught Hotel is probably the largest project we have completed in recent history,” said Mira, “although we also completed challenging projects for several boutiques with the architect Michael Gabellini; a large installation in Chicago for the Hyatt corporate headquarters; and a lounge area for the Gathering Place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by MSME Architects; each of which had a different aesthetic, initiated by the architect and modified to fit our capabilities.”
It took some time, however, after her father’s death, to show clients she was capable in the present, and at the same time loyal to the past. more
Open now through Sunday, January 10, 2021
Morven’s Festival of Trees is open to the public during regular museum hours, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum will be closed from 1-1:30 p.m. for cleaning. Timed admission tickets are available for purchase by visiting https://www.morven.org/festival-of-trees. Walk-up admission tickets will be by availability in the museum shop. Visitors should be prepared for possible museum entrance delays in observance of CDC guidelines ensuring reduced crowd sizes. more
Professionals Share Their Insights on What Makes Working From Home Work
By Ilene Dube | Photography by Jeffrey E. Tryon and Charles R. Plohn
Zoom and other video chat services came along just in time for our work-from-home era. While many have called our electronic devices “home offices” for decades, attending meetings, in-person gatherings, and site visits without leaving home was the final frontier.
What will the post-pandemic future be for working from home? Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told The Wall Street Journal, “I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.” Others, including BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, according to LinkedIn News, say the adaptation has changed office space needs and will ultimately lead to less in-office staff. And according to surveys on Axios, fewer than 10 percent of Americans want to work remotely all the time.
Let’s talk about stress: Working from home reduces the stress of commuting and negotiating child care arrangements, while, at the same time, child care arrangements and being in the same room(s) with family members for extended periods of time has greatly increased stress.
Certainly, the hybrid model is here to stay. Princeton Magazine spoke to several area professionals, some of whom have had to change the way they work, others who are working the way they always have, and others who flex as needed. more
Behind the Scenes of the Annual Palmer Square Tradition
By Anne Levin | Photos courtesy of Palmer Square Management
In a stretch of long tunnels that run underneath Palmer Square, an annual rite of the holiday season gets underway just after Halloween. In these catacombs (minus the tombs), the 3.5 miles of lights that adorn the massive Palmer Square Christmas tree are hung along the walls so that their multi-colored bulbs can be tested and replaced. It is an exacting process that takes about three weeks to complete.
By the day after Thanksgiving, the tree is ready. That evening — Black Friday — crowds of local residents and tourists gather on the green and around the Square, awaiting the moment when the switch is flipped and the 70-foot Norway Spruce bursts into light. It is an annual, much-anticipated tradition — in normal years. But 2020, of course, is not a normal year.
Hordes of people standing shoulder to shoulder are the last thing that Palmer Square Management, and the municipality of Princeton, want to encourage this season. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tree lighting is virtual this year, with no ceremony for people to attend.
But the management company was not about to let fans down. After much deliberation, the staff settled on a solution that they hope captures the holiday spirit while keeping people safe. Instead of an in-person event, the tree was lit ahead of time. The usual participants — dancers from American Repertory Ballet, singers from Princeton High School, musicians from School of Rock, and Santa Claus — took part in a video production that will be available to watch online throughout the season. more
By Stuart Mitchner
I’m heading this Book Scene with the grand old sales slogan online sources say was first used in 1926 by the Victor Talking Machine Company. My excuse is Brandon Stanton’s new book Humans (St. Martin’s $35) and its 2013 predecessor, Humans of New York: Stories.
Just as Victor’s phonographs and records kept on giving the gift of music to listeners, Stanton’s books and blogs offer an ongoing many-faceted gift of New York life to readers who love and are lonely for the locked-down city. I found myself engaged in a variation on the practice at a holiday office party centered on anonymous gifts chosen by number in an all-in-good-fun lottery, the idea being that the gift you just unwrapped could be traded for someone else’s. It happened that two years in a row, the gift-wrapped package I pulled out of the holiday grab bag contained Humans of New York, which proved to be one of the most continuously rewarding presents I’ve ever been given. What do you do when you’ve been given an extra copy of something that makes you smile whenever you open the covers to take a walk in Stanton’s New York? Do you cast the precious object back into the holiday trade winds for a colleague’s bottle of wine? No, you give it to a friend you hope will cherish it as much as you do, and all the better if the friend happens to be moving to the city. more
Pairing Food, Wine, and Music for Entertaining
By Ilene Dube
At this writing, New Jersey restaurants can only operate at 25 percent capacity, and restaurateurs were vying for the few remaining heat lamps to prolong the outdoor dining season. For sure, the holidays will be different this year — with many unable to gather with the family and friends that make the holidays a true celebration.
Princeton Magazine spoke to area chefs to learn how they will celebrate this year, both at home and in their restaurants. And writers Lori Goldstein and Donald H. Sanborn III compiled playlists inspired by each restaurant to help readers create a similar ambience in their own homes.
For the man behind Local Greek on Leigh Avenue and Small Bites by Local Greek on Nassau Street, the holidays are one big fat Greek festival. Anthony Kanterakis — “Tony” — will be celebrating with his Greek fiancé and Greek mother, who lives in Monroe. Everybody eats when they come to Mama Kanterakis’ (Chrisanthe) house — his sister, aunts and uncles, and family friends. There will be turkey, as well as moussaka and pastitsio, all prepared by Chrisanthe, and guests are welcome to bring dessert.
While Kanterakis doesn’t do any of the cooking — “I’m a zombie after Thanksgiving” — as a restaurateur he never takes a day off, even when the restaurant is closed. “I would never open on Thanksgiving or Christmas because those days are dedicated to family (New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are open). But it never feels like work — I’d rather be here at the restaurant than anywhere else, and the employees feel that way too. There’s camaraderie, and it’s like home.” Kanterakis describes himself as the kind of boss who solicits ideas from his staff and puts them into practice. more
Mobile Food Pantry distribution.
Providing Help, Hope, and Healing in a Time of Pandemic
By Laurie Pellichero| Photos courtesy of JFCS
Based in Princeton, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County (JFCS) is a nonprofit agency that serves the entire community — individuals of all backgrounds, faiths, and ages. JFCS offers a wide spectrum of social services including senior programs, mental health counseling, food pantry and food distribution services, and community and youth engagement, all of which work together to provide a broad network of support.
JFCS has been assisting individuals and families with many of life’s toughest challenges since 1937, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges in getting people the help they need. While the agency has closed its office on Alexander Road to clients, visitors, and most staff members, JFCS has successfully continued all its major programs and has expanded its offerings as well.
The Mobile Food Pantry, which delivers nutritious food directly to Mercer County residents vulnerable to food insecurity and hunger, is a prime example of this, said Michelle Napell, executive director of JFCS. “This is still our first year on the road, and it has become the largest program due to the drastic increase in need,” she said. “We launched in January and made three stops, which served about 350 individuals, by the end of February. Then March came, and with it the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the dynamic of our community. The mobile pantry became an incredibly valuable resource as demand for food increased as well as the obstacles in getting food to those with the greatest need.”
Napell said that sourcing food for the mobile pantry, as well as the on-site pantry at JFCS headquarters, was a challenge early in the crisis. “Wegmans was a regular provider of fresh produce and goods, but, like all grocery chains, they experienced challenges meeting the demand in the late spring.”
To keep their pantry supplies stocked, Napell said the JFCS staff reached out to new vendors. “We sought out providers beyond our immediate area and built new relationships in the community,” she said.
“Community supporters have been incredible throughout the pandemic,” continued Napell. “We’ve had local groups hold food drives and make donations directly to the pantry. Princeton Christian Church donated several boxes of food, Princeton Elks Lodge has collected food and personal items, West Windsor Plainsboro Education Association has provided non-perishable items and several donations of fresh fruit, and the Beth El Synagogue Community Garden has been providing weekly donations of vegetables since early September.” more
By Donald Gilpin | Photos courtesy of Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite
The day I interviewed him for this article, September 23, was not a good day for Eddie S. Glaude Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies. It was the day that the verdict was delivered on the shooting of Breonna Taylor by three police officers in Louisville, Kentucky. None of the three was charged in Taylor’s death, though one officer was charged with wanton endangerment.
Glaude interrupted the call at one point to listen to the breaking news report on TV. When he returned to the phone, his voice was subdued. “I wasn’t expecting much,” he said, “but it’s still enraging. It never stops. It seems as if something happens every day.”
With numerous publications on religion, philosophy, and African American studies, including his most recent book Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, Glaude is very much a scholar engulfed in the world of academics, but at the same time he is the most public of intellectuals, much in demand as a Time magazine columnist and a regular commentator on radio and television news programs such as Democracy Now!, Morning Joe, and The 11th Hour.
The mix of deep engagement with current events as well as scholarship pervades Glaude’s classroom, as it pervades his life and his work. He described the class, African American Studies and the Philosophy of Race, that he is team teaching, remotely this term, with his colleague Imani Perry.
“Teaching today,” he said, “before I could say anything I had to reference the backdrop of the Breonna Taylor decision about to be rendered. And you could see it on the students’ faces: ‘Here we go again. It just won’t stop.’” more
By Taylor Smith
Vaccines have played a central role in the fight against contagious diseases among human populations for the past 200 years. For instance, global vaccination initiatives have helped to eradicate smallpox and polio in all but the most remote populations. Even yearly influenza vaccines have greatly reduced the number of mortalities each year from the common flu, and childhood vaccines have made a major impact in lowering childhood and adult morbidity resulting from infectious diseases.
However, there are certain diseases that have eluded scientists and researchers. Specifically, malaria and HIV/AIDS have posed continual challenges as these diseases ravage parts of the world where vaccines are needed most. Distribution is actually a significant roadblock in the effectiveness of vaccine development and use. Many of the globe’s poorest regions lack the infrastructure to inoculate their own populations. In addition, ethical and religious reasons pose potential deterrents, giving rise to the resurfacing of historic diseases that the majority of the world is protected from.
Finally, cost has been known to undermine efforts in vaccine development. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “the cost of developing a vaccine — from research and discovery to product registration — is estimated to be between $200 million and $500 million per vaccine. This figure includes vaccines that are abandoned during the development process.” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). more
For the first time in 40 years, the proud tradition of brewing quality beer has found a place in Orange, New Jersey. Following the trail first blazed by the Winter Brothers’ Orange Brewery in 1901, the team at Four City Brewing Company is humbled to have recently marked their first anniversary as a craft brewery in the city. The seven-barrel brewery can produce 1,000 barrels per year. more
During this unordinary and tenuous time, the Met hopes to bring a healthy dose of art, insight, and escapism with Live in HD, a new series that is being made available for free streaming on the Met website. Each performance is available online for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule includes complete performances from past cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers. more
Saturday, November 7, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Join the Rubin Museum in Manhattan in celebrating Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights, at home and bring light to these challenging times.
This virtual gathering features opening music from Neil and Maitreya Padukone, a father-son duo who play guitar, sitar, and table in the Indo-Latin fusion band Salsa Masala, and recipients of awards from the Queens Council on the Arts and The Shed. India Home seniors and Telugu Literary and Cultural Association will showcase their talent, and community members will share Diwali song and dance, including the traditional folk dance form of Garba. During the themed live drawing class, attendees can participate from home, and they will learn how to create Rangoli flower designs. more
Ready, set, shop small!
Kick off your holiday shopping at Sauce for the Goose Outdoor Art Market on Saturday, November 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Princeton Shopping Center. Now celebrating its 27th year, this one-day outdoor market is a unique opportunity to purchase handmade gifts directly from local artisans and crafters working in ceramics, textiles, jewelry, fine art, and more. Find one-of-a-kind gifts all while supporting the creatives living and working in the community. more