Lower Pyne, on the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon streets.

Partners in Princeton Architecture

By Laurie Pellichero | Photographs courtesy of Historical Society of Princeton

Admirers of Princeton University and town architecture might not realize that many of the area’s most prominent buildings, past and present, were commissioned by longtime University trustee and generous benefactor Moses Taylor Pyne, and designed by New York City-based architect Raleigh Colston Gildersleeve.

Moses Taylor Pyne (1855-1921), a New York City native and 1877 Princeton University alumnus, inherited a substantial fortune from his maternal grandfather and namesake, Moses Taylor, whose money was derived mainly from banking and railroads. Moses Taylor Pyne married Margaretta Stockton, daughter of Gen. Robert Field Stockton Jr., and gained a seat on the University board of trustees at age 28. He continued to serve on the board for 36 years. Pyne was devoted to establishing Collegiate Gothic architecture as the predominate style on campus. It has been noted that this was based on the theory that giving the University the ambiance and Oxford and Cambridge would lend a similar atmosphere to his alma mater.

Raleigh Colston Gildersleeve (1869-1944) was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, PU Class of 1849 and a longtime classical philology professor at Johns Hopkins University, and his wife Eliza Fisher Colston.

Gildersleeve graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1888, and became an architect in New York City. Pyne subsequently hired him to design the Upper and Lower Pyne dormitories on Nassau Street, as well as McCosh Hall at Princeton University. He was also the architect of the Elm, Cap and Gown, and Campus eating clubs on Prospect Avenue. He worked with Pyne on the 20-year renovation and expansion of Drumthwacket, which Pyne purchased from Charles Smith Olden’s widow in 1893, and designed some local residences as well. more

New Jersey Coastal Fishing

By Taylor Smith

For a small, densely populated state, New Jersey provides a wealth of fresh water and salt water fishing opportunities. The Garden State is home to 93 freshwater species and more than 330 marine species.

Surf fishing at the Jersey Shore is the sport of catching fish while standing on the shoreline or wading into the surf. Surfcasting or beachcasting is done in saltwater and involves casting bait or a lure as far out as possible. The more general shore fishing can include casting from rock jetties, fishing piers, and sandy or rocky beaches. Many surfcasters time their activity to coincide with the nocturnal feeding habits of certain saltwater species, such as sharks.

Island Beach State Park is filled with knowledgeable and enthusiastic anglers. Located at Exit 82, the 10 miles of preserved barrier island is landscaped by naturally occurring sandbars. The majority of the park is open to the public. For a fee, visitors can even drive their SUV onto the beach. Anglers at Island Beach State Park commonly fish for bluefish, striped bass, and fluke. By beach or by boat, Shore Catch Guide Service (www.shorecatch.com) boat charters, beach guides, and offshore charters promise that they will to “bring the fish to you.” With a season that runs from early April through late fall, Shore Catch Guide Service can help you to plan your Atlantic fishing experience. According to its seasonal chart at www.shorecatch.com/season, “By mid-June, the outer beaches become thick with trophy migrating stripers while the back bays continue to produce stripers, large bluefish, and tide runner weakfish.” During the months of July and August, the waters surrounding Island Beach State Park are alive with bonito, skipjack tuna, false albacore, dolphin, sharks, and larger tuna varieties. To contact Shore Catch Guide Service, call (732) 528-1861. more

Pam and Roland Machold have spent 54 years nurturing Marquand Park

By Ilene Dube | Photography by Andrew Wilkinson

Wedged between Mercer Street, Stockton Street, and Lovers Lane, Marquand Park is a magical oasis in Princeton, a haven of tranquility among majestic and rare trees. Whether blanketed with snow or ablaze with autumn foliage, it offers serenity and community to youngsters and their parents, leaf lovers and tree huggers, ball players and picnickers, butterfly and bird mavens, or those just out to enjoy some fresh air. Most everyone who has ever lived in the area has a story to tell about the park.

Such wonderlands rarely exist without the love and care of impassioned advocates.

In 1965, Pamela and Roland Machold moved from New York City to 158 Mercer Street, right across from the park. Pam was nursing her first child when a newly acquired neighbor implored: “You have to come to this meeting to stop a road from being built through Marquand Park.”

Thus began a 54-year commitment to protect the 17-acre arboretum. (And no, that road was never built.) The Macholds’ second son, Robert, a professor at NYU, met his best friend in the park’s sandbox, and Roly, the oldest, learned to roller skate there. Their daughter, Alysa, brings her children to play in the park. more

Rat’s Restaurant

By Wendy Greenberg

A sure sign of summer is when tables and chairs are set outside at restaurants, frequently punctuated by colorful umbrellas and accompanied by succulent summer menus. Whether you prefer an awning, an old-fashioned porch, or are a purist who shuns any barrier to the elements, now is the time to take advantage of the many alfresco dining options in the area.

We love to celebrate the better weather by eating in — or near — the open air, even when clouds hang low. Patios are “great for people watching people, and people want to be seen too,” points out Carlo Momo of Mediterra in Princeton.

If Princeton is a walking town, it is also an alfresco town. The streetscape is bursting with small tables and chairs at establishments along Nassau Street from east of Harrison Street at Trattoria Procaccini to outside at the Blue Point Grill, EFES Mediterranean Grill, Café Vienna, and PJ’s Pancake House; around to Palmer Square’s Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar, Teresa Caffé, Mistral, Mediterra, and Yankee Doodle Tap Room; down to Jammin’ Crepes; and many places in between. The Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street has its own alfresco scene with Nomad Pizza, Surf Taco, and more. 

The tables and chairs don’t fold up at borough boundaries. In Lawrenceville, alfresco dining is part of the Main Street scene at Acacia, Fedora Bistro Café, and more. Sometimes patio dining appears when you least expect it … driving on West Upper Ferry Road in Ewing, past the New Jersey State Patrol headquarters, the red and blue umbrellas of Blooming Grove Inn pepper the neighborhood landscape. And Labebe in North Brunswick features authentic Mediterranean cuisine in a lovely outdoor setting. more

View of Nassau Street before Palmer Square, from Holder Hall.

The Fascinating History Behind Princetons Street Names

By Anne Levin | Photographs courtesy of Historical Society of Princeton

When it comes to the names of its streets, Princeton is a mix of the obvious and the curious.

It makes sense that there are streets named for specific landmarks, past and present. Spring Street was once the location of a spring and pond, where residents skated during winter months. The quarry that stood on the present site of Quarry Street supplied the stones used for several buildings on the Princeton University campus. Brookstone Drive runs parallel to historic Stony Brook, Old Orchard Lane was once home to an apple orchard, and so on.

But what about Tee-Ar Place? Lovers Lane? Broadmead?

The origin of these, and nearly every street name in Princeton, is the focus of Princeton: On the Streets Where We Live, written in 1990 by Randy Hobler and Jeanne Silvester. The book is an exhaustive survey delivered with a light touch, full of enlightening anecdotes and nuggets of information. Contemporary tour guide Shirley Satterfield, known for her informative walks through the Witherspoon-Jackson historic district, and Mimi Omiecinski, whose Princeton Tour Company leads themed tours throughout the town, both use the book as a regular reference. more

Krugman and Cheng at Labyrinth Books. (Photo courtesy of Labyrinth Books)

Uwe Reinhardt, Tsung-Mei Cheng, Paul Krugman, and the U.S. Health Care Crisis

By Donald Gilpin

Have you tried recently to obtain health insurance or choose a health care provider? Tried to find out the price for a procedure or surgery? Tried to understand the bill from your doctor or the statement from your insurance company?

More critically, have you been unable to afford a necessary surgery or crucial prescription in this wealthy country, where health care costs so much more and delivers so much less than the health care systems of every other advanced country?

“Confusion, ignorance, and misinformation are rampant out there,” said Princeton University Research Scholar Tsung-Mei Cheng, speaking with Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman at an April 30 Labyrinth Books event featuring the recently published Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Health Care, written by Cheng’s late husband Uwe E. Reinhardt, renowned health policy expert and Princeton University economics professor.

Emphasizing Reinhardt’s drive to combat the chaos, inefficiency, and, inequity surrounding health care in the U.S., Cheng, one of the world’s top experts on health care systems, argued that the real debate, and all the controversy over the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare), though “conducted in the jargon of economics and Constitutional federal-state relations,” is not about economics and the Constitution at all.

“The heart of the debate,” for Cheng and for Reinhardt, “is a long-simmering argument over the following question on distributive social ethics: To what extent should the better off members of society be made to be their poorer and sick brothers’ and sisters’ keepers in health care?” she said. “That is the question. Social ethics was a big thing for Uwe.”

Health care could be the key issue in the 2020 election. Voters have consistently indicated that affordable health care is a priority, and health care reform bills continue to be debated in Congress.

The ACA, despite numerous court and legislative challenges, is still in effect, and Medicare and Medicaid continue to be popular. Health insurance is also available for most employees through their workplaces.

As the 2020 election approaches, Republicans are still calling for the repeal of the ACA, with few indications of how they would replace it. Democratic presidential candidates favor a range of proposals from single-payer (“Medicare for all”), a government-operated program like that of Canada and the United Kingdom; to various plans to improve on the ACA, including public option alternatives in which the private marketplace would be bolstered by some sort of lower-cost, public-sponsored insurance for those who cannot afford the market price for quality insurance. more

By Stuart Mitchner

No beach for me. Right through my teens into my twenties, I summered in the city. Better to be simmering in Manhattan than summering in Bloomington, Indiana. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” is a great song, sheer euphoria, especially when you know they’re singing about the Apple: “Been down, isn’t it a pity/Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.” Down is right: “All around, people looking half dead/Walking on the sidewalk hotter than a match head.” I never thought “it’s a pity” that “the days can’t be like the nights.” I just headed for Central Park or Washington Square.

No air-conditioning cools my memories of New York summers. Whether in walk-ups on Christopher or West 87th or East 53rd, the windows were open, the hydrants were gushing, the kids were splashing, and I was reading and sweating. But of course, reading is cool in itself. You can bask in a book, suck oxygen from it, get drunk with it. It’s your best friend, your companion, your pet. It’s also a pleasure to watch someone in the act of reading on a summer’s day. Like the barefoot girl stretched out in Central Park in John Cuneo’s charming May 6 New Yorker cover. She’s leaning on her elbows over an open book while her snoozing dog uses her for a cushion, head back, paws hovering above the volume it seems to have been reading as it dozed off, a whimsical touch that suggests the fate of all summer-drowsy readers; soon enough the girl herself may nod off, her head pillowed in the open book.

Some Hard Choices

As for what to take with you this summer, hardcovers cost more and weigh more, while paperbacks have the advantages that prompted the lords of publishing to create them in the first place. I don’t do ebooks or audibles, but they, too, have obvious advantages.

Beginning with hardcovers, a brand-new novel by Titusville resident Ellen LaCorte, The Perfect Fraud (Harper Collins $26.99), promises to keep you wide awake. Kirkus Reviews says “This is a dark, dark thriller, and the villain is absolute. But alternating voices allow for a more nuanced building of tension …. LaCorte delves deeply into horrible things that humans do — and, as in life, not all evil is punished — but still offers hope and healing in the end.” According to Publishers Weekly, “Mysticism and medicine intersect with dramatic results in LaCorte’s accomplished page-turning debut …. Those who like a dash of the supernatural in their thrillers will be well satisfied.”

A book of interest to fans of Harper Lee and true crime fiction who might want to read it while rereading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Casey Cep’s Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (Knopf $26.95) “explains as well as it is likely ever to be explained why Lee went silent after To Kill a Mockingbird.” Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lewis goes on to suggest that it’s in Cep’s “descriptions of another writer’s failure to write, that her book makes a magical little leap” and “goes from being a superbly written true-crime story to the sort of story that even Lee would have been proud to write.” 

Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (Nan A. Talese $28.95) is a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which has found a new generation of readers thanks to the Hulu series starring Elisabeth Moss. The sequel begins 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. It also comes with a message from the author: “Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”

Paperback Possibilities  

Among paperbacks, there’s Andrew Sean Greer’s Less (Back Bay $15.99), winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. In a New York Times Book Review notice, Christopher Buckley says, “Laughter is only a part of the joy of reading this book. Greer writes sentences of arresting lyricism and beauty. His metaphors come at you like fireflies.” Less is “excellent company” and “no less than bedazzling, bewitching, and be-wonderful.”

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner, already in paperback, is Richard Powers’s The Overstory (Norton $18.95), which novelist Ann Patchett calls “The best novel ever written about trees, and really just one of the best novels, period.” For Nathaniel Rich in The Atlantic, “Powers is the rare American novelist writing in the grand realist tradition …. He has the courage and intellectual stamina to explore our most complex social questions with originality, nuance, and an innate skepticism about dogma.”

One the most critically acclaimed novels in recent history, Tommy Orange’s debut work of fiction There There (Vintage $16), now available in paperback, has aroused excited responses from other novelists, including Colm Tóibín (“Sweeping and subtle … pure soaring beauty”) and Louise Erdrich (“Welcome to a brilliant and generous artist who has already enlarged the landscape of American Fiction”).  A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, the author was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California.

Reading Manhattan

My favorite books about New York range from Henry Roth’s epic of the Lower East Side, Call It Sleep, to Patti Smith’s caffeinated West Village memoir M Train. Ultimately, no author has done more for Manhattan and Central Park than New York City native J.D. Salinger, who was born 100 years ago January 1, 1919. Millions of readers have come to the city for the first time in The Catcher in the Rye and had their first view of Central Park through the eyes of Holden Caulfield. I’d like to think that even with the skyline surrounding the park becoming disfigured by high-rises devoid of beauty or character, someone will still be summering under a tree reading a Central Park story like Salinger’s “The Laughing Man,” or, better yet, one of the new pieces about the Glass family he was working on for 40-plus years in New Hampshire. It’s too bad that his centenary isn’t being celebrated with the publication of new work, or, at least, with his extraordinary summer camp novella, “Hapworth 16, 1924.” At least Little Brown is planning centenary editions of his published fiction.

By Taylor Smith

Monmouth University in Long Branch (www.monmouth.edu) is the first private institution of higher education in New Jersey to join businesses across the state on the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry (http://registry.njsbdc.com). more

By Taylor Smith

Tickets for the 2019 New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF), to be held October 10-13, are on sale now at https://nycwff.org.

Since its beginning, NYCWFF has raised over $12.5 million to help fight hunger. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the event benefit Food Bank for New York City and the No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger in America and the five boroughs of New York City. Every year, NYCWFF raises nearly $1 million for these charities, effectively aiding in the quest to end the hunger gap in our country. more

By Taylor Smith

Are you a jazz lover?

You won’t want to miss Chris Botti at Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank on Friday, October 4 at 8 p.m.

Botti is currently the best-selling American instrumental artist in the world, with four No. 1 jazz albums. His 2012 album, Impressions, joins an incredible series of releases, including his 2004 When I Fall In Love. Botti has performed and recorded with Lady Gaga, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Sting, Tony Bennett, Joshua Bell, John Mayer, Andrea Bocelli, and Barbara Streisand. more

Photo Credit: University of Texas at Austin

By Taylor Smith 

U.S. News and World Report recently released the 2020 rankings of the Best Graduate Engineering Programs in the United States, according to a methodology that accounts for selectivity (acceptance rate), faculty resources, student-faculty ratio, research activity, total doctoral degrees awarded, GRE scores, peer assessment scores, and more. Statistical data was collected in fall 2018 and early 2019.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Did you know that the Garden State is the fourth largest peach producer in the nation?

While peaches are always available at your local supermarket, nothing compares to a sun-ripened peach from a nearby farmstead. Peaches should ideally be picked after they become slightly softened on the branch. Once picked, a peach will not actually ripen further, it will just become less “fresh” as it continues to soften. Color is not always an expert indicator of when the fruit is best picked, as some varieties of peach have more red variations than others. In general, the deepness of the red coloring is a sign of ripeness. By contrast, any evidence of green skin means that the peach should be left on the branch.  more

Photo Credit: Point Lobster Company in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

By Taylor Smith 

Something about ocean air and salt water brings to mind the satisfaction of enjoying a cold drink and tasty meal on the boardwalk. Before the summer ends, be sure to take advantage of these upcoming food festivals at the Jersey Shore! more

By Taylor Smith 

When considering health and “fitness,” many people look to the scale for answers and stop there. New research suggests that metabolic health is the true marker, not only for determining a healthy BMI (body mass index), but also for significantly lowering one’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and the onset of dementia. more

By Taylor Smith 

Trish Pepe Lauden and Diane Aemisegeo are two moms who wanted to be able to craft a fresh, natural, non-syrupy or sugary cocktail at home. Both admittedly enjoy the challenge of cooking locally and seasonally, and wanted this to be reflected in at-home drink offerings. Tired of having to frequent the same restaurants for a health-conscious cocktail, the two women created ROOT, which uses all-natural, organic ingredients to formulate the perfect cocktail (or mocktail) for your next neighborhood barbeque.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located in scenic Pottersville in Bedminster Township (60 minutes west of Manhattan), Purnell School is a progressive private all-girls boarding high school. It was founded in the summer of 1962 by Lytt Gould and his wife, Sis, who wanted to create a school in New Jersey that would “put the girls first.” Purnell’s founding Guidelines — Consideration of Others, Use of Common Sense, and Truthfulness in all Relations — are still upheld and honored today by current Head of School Anne M. Glass, Ed.M.  more

An iconic course through the heart of historic Princeton

By Taylor Smith 

The 7th annual Princeton Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2019. Runners will follow a 13.1-mile course that winds through Princeton University, Battlefield State Park, and the Institute for Advanced Study and past Lake Carnegie, Einstein’s home, and other stately Princeton residences including the homes of former presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson.  more

Photos Courtesy of Camp Rim Rock

By Taylor Smith 

My summer camp experiences as a child and teenager are some of my most vivid memories. Growing up in Princeton, I attended Rambling Pines Day Camp (https://www.ramblingpines.com) in Hopewell with my younger brother when I was 8 years old. I immediately enjoyed being able to spend all day outdoors, riding mountain bikes, playing tennis, and swimming, before taking the bus home — sweaty, contented, and freckled.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Jump, swing, fly, and tackle 18 obstacles and 3.1 miles of mud at MuckFest New Jersey in Somerset on Saturday, July 20 at 9 a.m. Presented locally by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, MuckFest New Jersey is a high-octane obstacle course from start to finish.  more