The Russian Ballet Theatre will present their new production of Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton. 

Expect all of the splendor of time-honored Russian traditions, costumes, and dance technique. There will also be elaborate hand-painted sets and added choreography to accent the unique production.  more

Join Princeton Public Library (PPL) for a virtual Crowdcast event on Thursday, January 6 from 8 to 9 p.m. with writers Karen J. Greenberg and Julian E. Zelizer. On the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, Greenberg and Zelizer will discuss the “subtle tools” that were forged under George W. Bush in the name of security and their impact on how the Trump administration was able to weaponize disinformation, xenophobia, and distrust of law. more

John Singer Sargent’s “Spanish Dancer”

Join the Arts Council of Princeton for a special dance performance in honor of Three Kings Day on Sunday, January 9 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Paul Robeson Center for the Arts at 102 Witherspoon Street.

Three Kings Day (or Fiesta del Dia de Los Reyes Magos) is celebrated throughout the world by several different cultures, marking the culmination of the 12 days of Christmas and commemorating the story of the three wise men who traveled from afar, bearing gifts for the infant baby Jesus.  more

On the Monday before winter break, the National Center for Girls’ Leadership (NCGLS) at Stuart hosted a virtual Women in Leadership career lunch featuring four Stuart alums and a current parent with careers in business. Students cycled through Google Meet breakout rooms that were hosted by leadership endorsement candidates and guests shared their career journeys, lessons learned from mistakes, and reflections on their Stuart experience. Virtual panels like these have allowed Stuart Country Day to give current students access to more experts within the alumnae community who would not normally be able to attend in person.  more

The Rubin Museum in New York City presents AWAKEN, a podcast hosted by acclaimed musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson about the dynamic path to enlightenment and what it means to “wake up.” In 10 episodes, the audience is led into a “deep dive” through the personal stories of guests who share how they’ve experienced a shift in their awareness, and as a result, their perspectives on life. From deep introspection to curious, yet life-changing subtle inquiries, awakening can take on many forms, from the mundane to the sacred. more

Van Sandt Covered Bridge

Now’s the Perfect Time to Tour the Covered Bridges of Bucks County

By Ilene Dube | Photography by Josh Friedman

One of my favorite places for bicycling is on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, along the towpath from Uhlerstown to Lumberville. We usually park at Bull’s Island, cycle up to Frenchtown, then cross the river, pass the iris fields, and reach the Uhlerstown Covered Bridge. This magnificent barn-red wooden structure with windows, about 100 feet long and a century and a half old, spans the canal – in fact it’s the only covered bridge that crosses the Delaware & Raritan Canal. Every time I approach, I feel as if I’ve taken a step back in time, to some idyllic era. My very own Brigadoon.

The Uhlerstown Covered Bridge received a recent facelift, thanks to a $2.5 million Bucks County expenditure to repair seven of its bridges. The bridge has been a subject for many an artist and photographer, including Josh Friedman of Yardley, Pennsylvania, whose photographs you see on these pages and are available as prints from his Etsy site. Friedman, who is also a psychotherapist, points his lens at bridges of all types, among other picturesque subjects. more

A Simple Update That Can Make a Big Impact

By Laurie Pellichero | Photography by Charles R. Plohn and Jeffrey E. Tryon

Royal blue, lime green, deep red, bright coral, or perhaps a shiny black. The right front door color can do much more than just create a great first impression for your home — it can also help boost its value.

Princeton is filled with beautiful and striking front doors in an array of colors, all adding to the appeal of the homes. According to a recent article in The Washington Post, curb appeal sets the tone for your home, and the entryway specifically helps to establish the mood, since it is the focal point of the exterior. The front door can reflect the personality of the people who live there, and telegraph to the world who they are.

While there are many popular front door colors, notes that, “the best front door paint color for your house will depend on a variety of factors. Some of these include the architectural design of your home, your personal taste, and the color of your house.”

The website points out that if you want to make your home look modern and sleek, front door colors such as black, lime, turquoise, eggplant, taxi yellow, and bright orange are recommended by designers for non-traditional homes.

Some of the best front door colors for traditional houses include jet black, classic red, slate blue, emerald green, dark gray, and pure white.

If you have a brick home, it is important to consider the tone of your brick to avoid clashing or more blending than you might like. Colors that go well with multiple shades of red brick include sage, black, navy, and light gray.

It’s also been said that some people associate characteristics with front door colors. Black might mean that you appreciate order, control, and simple elegance. Pink says that you are romantic, happy, and generous, and red says you are welcoming and enjoy attention. Orange means you like to entertain and enjoy a good challenge, while yellow indicates that you are logical, positive, and creative. With green, you value tradition and are ambitious, and blue says you enjoy peace and value truth. notes that, in the principles of feng shui, your front door is one of the most important areas of the home and represents the face that you show to the world. It sets the tone for you and your visitors when entering the home, and it’s also the last thing you see when you leave your home to go out into the world. more

(And a Delicious Coping Mechanism)

By Wendy Greenberg | Photography by Jeffrey E. Tryon

Denis Granarolo arrives for work at Terra Momo Bread Company in Princeton when the usually-bustling Witherspoon Street is empty and dark. He goes home when everyone else is beginning to stir. The veteran baker is rarely seen. The bread is the star.

“I like bread because it is alive,” Granarolo says, leaning on the bench, or prep table, in the back of the retail space, a comfort spot like others’ living room chairs. Although making bread from scratch every day is a job — a job he does well — he found himself baking bread at home when the store was closed last year during the pandemic. “Even if you have nothing else, you have a piece of bread,” he says.

Bread takes time, he emphasizes, and he is concerned that others want to rush. “If there are too many shortcuts, the bread is bad,” he says.

Granarolo imparted this basic wisdom to Mercer County Community College students who attended a class at the bakery this fall. The culinary arts students aspire to be professional chefs or bakers, but Granarolo just hopes to infuse in them a respect for the process of baking bread. The four-hour class doesn’t really allow enough time to pace the bread baking, but they make do and have turned out delicious challah, baguettes, croissants, pullman loaves, and, recently, jalapeno cheese bread and cinnamon raisin bread. His own favorite? Baguettes, hands down.

Bread maker Denis Granarolo imparts his experience and knowledge to a Mercer Community Community College culinary arts student in a class held at Terra Momo Bread Company in Princeton. more

An Appreciation

By Donald Gilpin | Photography by Weronika Plohn

“America’s nurses are the beating heart of our medical system.”

—Barack Obama

In a job that’s never been easy, nurses found themselves in March 2020 at the epicenter of a deadly pandemic, on the front lines in battling a mysterious new virus, COVID-19.

For nurses, altruism and hard work are a way of life, every single day. Princeton Magazine asked several area nurses in different fields in a variety of settings and facilities around the area to share thoughts about themselves and how they have stayed positive in facing the challenges of their profession, especially during the pandemic.

Caring, helping, teamwork, persevering, and touching people’s lives were themes that recurred over and over.

Ashley Ferrante, RN
The Pediatric Group

Ashley Ferrante has worked as a registered nurse at The Pediatric Group for 12 years. She is currently back in school to further her education and she plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2023.

“I adore working with kids,” says Ferrante. “It is rewarding to provide them with medical care and watch them grow from birth to adolescence.

“Juggling family, school, work, and dealing with the anxiety of COVID can be highly stressful. I stay positive by spending my free time with family and friends. Devoting time to my garden and hiking in the woods with my fiancé and six rescue dogs are some of my favorite ways to relieve stress.”


Princeton University Carillonneur Lisa Lonie

By Donald H. Sanborn III

“Above all the bustle you’ll hear silver bells,” write Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in their ubiquitous holiday song. Above all the bustle of the Princeton University campus, you’ll hear the carillon bells that are housed in Cleveland Tower at the Graduate College. At the helm is Lisa Lonie, University carillonneur, who will perform holiday favorites December 5-26.

Asked whether “Silver Bells” will be among the selections, Lonie grins and replies in the affirmative. Other likely selections include “Carol of the Bells,” along with “Santa Baby” — which Lonie describes as a “fun, jazzy piece” — and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

“Holidays are synonymous with ringing bells,” Lonie observes, though she also says, “I’m playing music all year round. During the academic year I perform, rain or shine, every Sunday at 1 p.m., except during Ph.D. exams. And it’s always free! During July and August, into Labor Day weekend, we host the summer carillon concert series. That’s when the visiting carillonneurs from all over the world come and play.”


Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

By Anne Levin

In a video that debuted last November, 55 people join together on Zoom to sing the song Louis Armstrong made famous, “What a Wonderful World.” Most of them suffer from aphasia, a language disorder that often develops after a stroke or brain injury. As an introduction to the song, several of the participants talk — some more haltingly than others — about the frustrations of their condition. “Aphasia is difficulty speaking,” says one. “Makes me slow,” says another. “Aphasia is lonely.” “Aphasia is complicated.” “Aphasia is not being able to talk to my children.” And so on.

But once they begin to sing, all of the hesitancy disappears. Words so difficult to speak appear to flow effortlessly when set to music. The singers are members of the International Aphasia Choir, drawn from different aphasia choirs on five continents. They are visual and aural proof of the Hans Christian Andersen quote: “Where words fail, music speaks.”

Prominent among these choirs is the Bridgewater-based Sing Aphasia, founded by Westminster Choir College graduate Gillian Velmer during her doctoral studies in speech language pathology at Kean University. As part of her doctoral program, Velmer built a website,, for aphasia choir resources. During the pandemic last year, she was approached by Trent Barrick, a music therapist in Florida. He had discovered the site, and wondered if she’d be interested in helping him put together an international aphasia choir video.

Gillian Velmer

“I said yes right away. I loved the idea,” says Velmer, 34, who has a day job as a speech language pathologist in the South Plainfield Public Schools. “Aphasia can be so isolating. If you are all of a sudden not able to communicate the way you used to, it’s just devastating. And it doesn’t affect just one person. It really affects the whole family and friends and community of the person as well.”
A native of Bridgewater, Velmer has always loved to sing. At Westminster, “choir was a huge and very fulfilling part of my life,” she says. “My time there inspired me to look into the field of speech language pathology. My senior year, I had classes on anatomy and physiology of the voice, which I found so interesting.”

As a prerequisite for her master’s degree, Velmer took a course on aphasia. “That was the first time I had heard of it, or even heard the word,” she says. “But that’s not really unusual. Statistics say that less than 15 percent of Americans know about aphasia, yet nearly two million in this country are living with it. I was so fascinated by that. Somehow, doing the research and having my musical background, I thought, ‘What about music for aphasia?’ ”

Velmer made aphasia choirs around the world the topic of her master’s thesis. After earning her degree and working in public education for a few years, she returned to Kean to pursue a doctorate. “I knew I wanted to continue my research,” she says.

She began looking into the question of whether singing can help with word-finding. “Over a five-week period, we did find an improvement,” she says. “There is definitely more research needed in this area, and that’s what Sing Aphasia hopes for in the future.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Rostov … looked at the snowflakes dancing above the fire and remembered the Russian winter with a warm, bright house, a fluffy fur coat, swift sleighs, a healthy body, and all the love and care of a family.

—Leo Tolstoy, from War and Peace

I’ve never been to Russia in winter or spring or any other season. But I’ve been there all year round as a reader ever since the St. Petersburg summer I spent in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The following spring, I spent my first Russian winter reading The Brothers Karamazov in the Modern Library Giant edition. When you approach the world of Dostoevsky at the tender age of 19, the prospect is more inviting wrapped in an image of striking storybook simplicity: deep blue sky, snow tipped onion-domed towers above a white snowscape pure and clear against the black of a horse-drawn sleigh. So began a sophomore binge that carried me from Karamazov to Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. My fate was sealed. I would graduate as an English major with a minor in Slavic studies.

Everything in a Flower

“A flower fell on the snow and he rushed to pick it up as though everything in the world depended on the loss of that flower.” The “everything in the world depended on it” essence of Dostoevsky is in that sentence, which comes toward the end of “Ilusha’s Funeral,” the last chapter of The Brothers Karamazov. The chaotic life and death intensity of the passage is driven by Ilusha’s crazed father running alongside the coffin, “fussing and distracted,” rushing to pick up the small white flower, as if his dead son’s flower and all the flowers in the world were one.

Gogol’s Overcoat

In “The Overcoat,” from Nicolai V. Gogol’s Tales of Good and Evil (Doubleday Anchor), the St. Petersburg climate is “a great enemy,” along with the “northern frost” that targets “the noses of Civil Servants” and makes “the foreheads of even those who occupy the highest positions ache with frost, and tears start to their eyes.” Gogol pictures the “poor titular councillors … running as fast as they can in their thin, threadbare overcoats through five or six streets and then stamping their feet vigorously in the vestibule, until they succeed in unfreezing their faculties and abilities.” The overcoat of the title belongs to Akaky Akakyevich, who finds on thoroughly examining it at home that “the cloth had worn out so much that it let through the wind, and the lining had all gone to pieces.” more

Frank Sinatra circa 1955 in Capitol Studios

One of the most famous Hoboken natives, Frank Sinatra, received his own six-foot-tall bronze statue on December 12, on what would have been the singer’s 106th birthday. The legendary personality and entertainer is depicted in a three-piece suit leaning against a flickering lamp post with his hat tilted to one side. The confident and charismatic look was a trademark of Sinatra’s and the singer’s own daughter, Tina, stated that the statue is of a strong likeness to her father. The statue was designed by Carolyn D. Palmer.  more

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The European inspired open-air market curated by Urbanspace in New York City’s Bryant Park hosts artisans from New York and around the world. Enjoy world class shopping, eats, and drinks as you stroll through the shops, which are housed in custom-designed kiosks. The Winter Village operates from now through January 2, 2022. Monday-Friday hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all Holiday Shops staff and visitors. It is estimated that over 170 holiday shops will participate in this year’s Winter Village.  more

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American Dream Mall, an entertainment and retail complex in East Rutherford, will be the site of the new Toys “R” Us flagship store. The two-story complex will stretch across 20,000 square feet of retail space. It will also be located adjacent to the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and DreamWorks Water Park inside of American Dream Mall.  more

Don’t miss An Evening with Harry Connick Jr. on Friday, February 4 at 8 p.m. at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Ticket prices start at $50 per person and doors open at 7 p.m.

Connick’s career has exemplified excellence across theater, film, and music. A best-selling musician, singer, and composer, he is particularly known for his live performances, which exude energy and fun, an attribute of his native New Orleans roots. Connick has appeared on Broadway and in over 20 feature films. He began singing and playing piano at age 5 with his musician father.  more

Customers can now celebrate the season and save!

The holiday season is here! To celebrate, NJ Transit is offering several promotional discounts running through the rest of 2021. Both new and current customers can save on holiday travel by using various promotional codes in the NJ TRANSIT mobile app, including an invitation for new customers to “Try NJT” to take a free ride, “Buy One, Get One” deals, as well as discounts to Newark Liberty International Airport and MetLife Stadium for NFL football.  In addition, the family SuperSaver fare, which allows kids 11 and under to ride for free, will be extended from December 17 through January 3.  Full details are available at

A book authored by local historian Harold James has been named to the Financial Times’ Best Books of 2021: Politics List.

The War of Words: A Glossary of Globalization, published by Yale University Press, reveals the origins of key buzzwords and concepts used in contemporary political debate such as “neoliberalism,” “geopolitics,” and “globalization,” while highlighting communication challenges associated with their misuse. more

Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.

What do you get when you mix one part cabaret, one part comedy, and one heaping helping of Christmas kitsch? A Swingin’ Little Christmas! It’s a fun fresh twist on the Christmas specials of the ’50s and’60s when harmonies were tight, and swing was the thing. 

Starring Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Lynch (Glee, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), along with Kate Flannery (The Office, Dancing with the Stars), Tim Davis (Glee’s vocal arranger), and The Tony Guerrero Quintet. These top-notch talents will jingle your bells and get you in the holiday spirit faster than a glass of eggnog. more