Princeton Magazine, June 2016

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SENATOR CORY BOOKER ADVANCING THE COMMON GOOD A Real “Boardwalk Empire” Princeton University Tackles the 21st Century’s Biggest Problems McCarter Theatre’s OnStage Seniors Program “Tails” of Princeton

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MAY/JUNE 2016 PUBLISHER J. Robert Hillier, FAIA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lynn Adams Smith CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jorge Naranjo ART DIRECTOR Jeffrey Edward Tryon GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Matthew DiFalco Erica Cardenas CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Stuart Mitchner Donald Gilpin Anne Levin Ilene Dube Sarah Emily Gilbert Taylor Smith ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Robin Broomer ACCOUNT MANAGERS Jennifer Covill Kendra Broomer Monica Sankey Erin Toto OPERATIONS MANAGER Melissa Bilyeu PHOTOGRAPHER Kelly Campbell Andrew Wilkinson PRINCETON MAGAZINE Witherspoon Media Group 4438 Route 27 North Kingston, NJ 08528-0125 P: 609.924.5400 F: 609.924.8818

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may/june 2016

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48 ..... FEATURES .....

..... HERE & THERE .....

senator Cory Booker

mccarter theatre: seniors on stage

BY donald gilpin Making sure that despair does not have the last word 14

BY anne levin

Doing something new 32

‘tails’ of PRINCETON


by sarah emily gilbert


The town abounds with proud owners and their companions 22


BOOK SCENE by Stuart Mitchner

Celebrating Rutgers University Press at 80 56

BY ilene dube

It’s where all of New Jersey comes together 48

fashion & design

A well-designed life 60

how to make the world a better place BY donald gilpin

Tackling five of the 21st Century’s biggest problems 76

ON THE COVER: Senator Cory Booker, photographed by Kelly Campbell.




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| FROM THE editor

Welcome to the May/June issue of Princeton Magazine, which features New Jersey’s junior senator Cory Booker as our cover story. Booker was in Princeton recently, promoting his new book, United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good. At Labyrinth Books, Booker was introduced by Princeton University economics professor Alan Krueger and attracted an admiring and inquisitive crowd. Although Booker isn’t currently running for office, he has been suggested as a possible vice president for Hillary Clinton and as a potential candidate for Governor of New Jersey in 2017. Booker is famous for having an active twitter account so I looked him up @CoryBooker. At that moment, he had 1.63 million followers and had tweeted 54,600 times since August of 2008. Many of his recent tweets were related to human rights, education, social issues, and mental health. Just out of curiosity, I looked up Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump. He had 8.05 million followers and had tweeted 31,900 times since March of 2009. The majority of his recent posts were about the campaign and his adversaries. Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton had 6.19 million followers and had tweeted 5,526 times since April of 2013. In addition to tweeting campaign messages, she also had a number of statements related to women and family. The technology behind Twitter has only been around for approximately 10 years and it has become an integral part of presidential elections. If you are interested in technology, read our story on Princeton’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund. Five Princeton professors have been awarded funding to help bring their ideas, research, and products to market. These are exciting projects, formed from big ideas, and we are pleased to share them with our readers. Princeton University’s commencement takes place on the lawn in front of Nassau Hall. Thanks to our rainy spring weather, the lawn is lush, green, and perfect for graduation. Visitors will see the pear trees on Witherspoon Street and cherry trees by Princeton Battle Monument at their best. Also, residents will notice that the towpath and Princeton Battlefield Park seem to be shining. The best way to enjoy our town’s natural beauty is to take a walk and many people do just that with their dogs. Sarah Emily Gilbert’s article, “Tails of Princeton”, tells a story of dogs and their proud owners. Andrew Wilkinson did an excellent job with the photography, capturing the mutual love and the bond between these Princeton residents and their happy companions. With summer fast approaching, you’ll want to read our story comparing the different boardwalks along the Jersey Shore. Everyone has a favorite boardwalk and mine is Ocean City, NJ.



Photography by Andrew Wilkinson

Dear readers,

It’s great for families, with two amusement parks, miles of small shops, and an endless supply of sentimental beach food, such as Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy and Johnson’s Caramel Popcorn. In closing, Bob Hillier and I would like to thank everyone for their kind words about Princeton Magazine, Town Topics Newspaper, and Urban Agenda Magazine. Without the support of our devoted readers and advertisers, none of this would be possible. Respectfully yours,

Lynn Adams Smith Editor-In-Chief @princeton_mag


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Cory Booker: Advancing the Common Good By donald Gilpin portrait by kelly campbell

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images courtesy of Senator Cory Booker speaks about the Smarter Sentencing Act that he and a bipartisan coalition of senators introduced to reform the nation’s criminal justice system and reduce the number of nonviolent offenders in prison.


n excited crowd was packed into the basement of Labyrinth Books on Nassau Street on a Monday evening in late March. More than 250, standing-room only, a wide variety of ages and backgrounds, chatted, consulted their smartphones, browsed through books laid out on shelves and tables around the room. You might have thought that at 6 p.m. these busy, tired Princetonians would have been eager to move on—home to families and dinner or out to whatever activity they had planned. You might have thought that the announcement that the speaker had been delayed on Route One coming from Newark would have been met by a certain consternation, maybe groans, annoyance, perhaps even anger as the clock slid past the designated start time to 6:15, then 6:30. You might have thought that, when the speaker finally arrived about 40 minutes late, the crowd would have been a bit irritable, reserved, difficult to warm up. You might have thought all these things, but you would have been wrong, and you would have been underestimating the relentless charisma of the awaited speaker, New Jersey’s junior senator, Cory Booker, coming to Princeton to promote his new book, United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good. Loud applause greeted Booker’s arrival, as he descended the stairs and approached the speaker’s platform, 6’3” tall, in dark suit, white shirt and bright green necktie. Booker, the former mayor of Newark (2006-2013), only

the fourth African-American in the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, the second Rhodes Scholar (after Bill Bradley) to be elected senator from New Jersey, has become something of a pop culture icon. A graduate of Stanford University, then Oxford, then Yale Law School, he has been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee and is widely rumored to be on Hillary Clinton’s short list for vice presidential running mate. “And I would dare to say that’s just the beginning,” stated in his introduction Princeton economics professor Alan Krueger after presenting a long list of Booker’s accomplishments. The hearty applause from the audience indicates that they too foresee a bright, busy future for the popular 47-year-old senator. The Journey

Booker’s parents both worked for IBM, and he was raised in the northern Jersey suburb of Harrington Park. A high school all-American football player at Northern Valley Regional High School, he received a football scholarship to Stanford, where he played tight end, majored in political science, was elected senior class president and led a student-run crisis hotline. After his Rhodes Scholarship year at Queen’s College, Oxford studying history, he went on to earn his law degree at Yale. During his final year at Yale, Booker moved into Newark’s Central Ward, where he still lives during the part of the week when he’s not in Washington, D.C. “I was searching for a community in

struggle,” he recalls. “I wanted to be in the thick of it, and I wanted to be a lawyer who fought for the rights of those who didn’t have access to the law.” After years of schooling in the most elite settings, Booker suddenly found himself in an unfamiliar environment. His book describes in detail his coming to terms with the danger, the despair and the rewards of life in Newark’s Central Ward. From the time that he moved into Newark almost twenty years ago, Booker’s life seems to have been a quest to find common ground with people from the most widely diverse segments of American society, to advance the common good, as he says—and, of course, to advance his political career. Newark was a much more difficult fit for him than the privileged worlds of Stanford, Yale and Oxford, but Booker was nothing if not driven and determined. A year after moving into Newark, he pulled off an upset victory to win a seat on the City Council. He proceeded to try to implement a flurry of changes, but most often found himself the lone vote against all of his fellow Council members. Undaunted, Booker went on a 10-day hunger strike, living in a tent and later a trailer to draw attention to problems of drug dealing and violence in the city. After losing the 2002 race for mayor of Newark to longtime incumbent Sharpe James, Booker continued his quest and ran again four years later. He won easily and was re-elected in 2010. Facing vast problems in Newark during his seven years as mayor, Booker sought to reduce the city’s crime rate, increase available may/june 2016 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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images courtesy of Senator Booker introduces panelists at his Small Business Roundtable for women-owned small businesses at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

affordable housing, shrink the budget deficit, eliminate corruption and increase transparency in the city government. In 2013 he won a special election to fill the vacant Senate seat of the deceased Frank Lautenberg and the following year won a regular election to secure the U.S. Senate seat for a full six-year term. Super Hero?

Booker has had his many fans and detractors as well, both of whom he vividly describes in United, but there has been little disagreement that he has been dedicated to his mission. As Newark mayor, he frequently patrolled the streets with the Newark Police Department. “I was arrogant enough to think that I would be elected major of Newark and that crime would just stop,” he recalls, “and I was taking every assault, every murder in the city very personally.” His legend grew as he responded to a constituent’s Twitter plea by showing up himself to help shovel out her elderly father’s driveway; joined the Newark fire department and suffered burns in saving a woman from a house fire; invited Newark residents without power after Hurricane Sandy to stay in his home; rescued one dog from freezing and another who was abandoned in his cage. Booker makes frequent TV appearances, has starred in a documentary series focusing on his efforts to reduce crime and bring about an economic revival in Newark, is friends

with a long list of Who’s Who celebrities from Hollywood to Washington and has established a significant presence on social media with more than 1.6 million Twitter followers. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound—is this heroic figure too good to be true? Who would be surprised that Booker, avid reader of comic books as a kid, chooses Superman as his favorite fictional hero? In a phone interview the week before his Princeton appearance in March, Booker admits, “I got a chance to sneak away last Sunday night to the premiere of Batman and Superman. I strongly recommend it. It’s fantastic I’m a bit of a movie addict. I love it.” Is Booker the long-awaited antidote to the squalor, rancor and pessimism of our current political climate? In his book, his interactions with the crowd of Princeton followers and his comments over the phone, Booker presents himself as more of a fellow-struggler than a hero, an earnest, idealistic motivator with a powerful message of unity rather than an ambitious politician. And whether it’s calculated, genuine or a combination of the two, the self-deprecating, warm sense of humor can win over even the most skeptical listeners. “Where are our federal infrastructure dollars when I need them?” he lamented in apologizing to the Princeton crowd for being delayed in Route One traffic. There were no visible detractors in the audience.

Promoting Togetherness

In our phone interview, Booker talks about the challenges implicit in the title of his book, the difficulty in finding common ground in this era of anger, divisiveness and partisan politics. “Many people think we’re more divided than we’ve ever been,” he says, “and I want them to understand that’s not the truth of who we are. America has made incredible advancements in every generation when we came together as a nation and overcame obstacles and injustices and strove for greatness. My experience in my lifetime has been to be inspired and encouraged by those who were uniters who awakened us to our interdependence, and that’s going on in neighborhoods, towns and cities all across our nation.” He goes on to discuss his work in the divided U.S. Senate. “I set out not to be the Democratic senator, but to be the senator who could deliver, who could get things done. This is a divided body, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to establish relationships with people on both sides of the aisle. I feel that’s become very fruitful for me being able to deliver for New Jersey, whether it’s with Ted Cruz, passing legislation to help our public radio stations, or getting the rail tunnel under the Hudson back on track, or providing access to brain injury centers, I feel very blessed that working across the aisle we’ve been able to get a lot of things done.” Booker talks about the need to summon the country’s “collective will” to address the issues

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images courtesy of

Senator Booker meets with students at Bergen Tech in Paramus, N.J.

that he sees as the biggest tests of our time. “Can we persuade politicians to help raise the minimum wage, to have paid parental leave, to have a tax policy that’s more fair, to create more opportunity programs?” he asks rhetorically. “We can do a lot more to grow our economy and to give people a fair shot at the American Dream. These are policy decisions.” In emphasizing a theme of his book, Booker addresses the question of how to respond to the frustrations of the current political landscape. “There’s a lot of things we’re not doing in Washington,” he said. “You can either surrender to the criticism or you can decide to change that. Despite divisiveness, despite the challenges and partisanship, I hope to inspire others, reaffirm my values and recommit myself. This is what we have to do. We have to fight for common ground.” Sounding part-preacher, part-politician, Booker observes, “It’s not just about Washington. Washington follows where the nation is. It’s about who we are as individuals and the spirit we bring to our lives. That’s something I don’t just talk about in the book but actually show.” Failure and Success

In his book and in his conversations, Booker talks frankly and humbly about his missteps in pursuing his idealistic goals, particularly in his early days in Newark. ”A lot of the book,” he relates, “is me writing about mistakes I made,

being a jerk. A lot of the mistakes I made really helped me learn very valuable lessons. A lot of my mistakes there really showed me a better way to make change as I go about my work in the Senate.” Krueger, in his introductory remarks at Labyrinth, described United as “a beautifully written book. It is told with passion and compassion. The book tells the story of Senator Booker’s journey and it’s a remarkable journey, and it’s one that brings our nation together.” Booker’s warm, often self-deprecating sense of humor is strongly evident in the book as in his speech. “My dad was a comedian,” Booker says. “He got by on his quick wit and his gift of gab. And yet he had a tough childhood.” And, except maybe for the childhood part, Booker could say the same about himself—both father and son, adept practitioners of the comedian’s art. The memoir is rich in both light and dark tones. “I hope my book is inspiring,” he says, but I also hope that I didn’t pull punches and that I told the truth” And that truth is full of brokenness and failure and death, as he talks about the death of his father, and of close friends in his community in Newark, including a young man who lived downstairs from him in Brick Towers. “I found that the best things to talk about in the book were either moments when I was getting my comeuppance or moments when I was broken by this country, by circumstances in this nation.” But Booker’s unwavering response to the

darkness is optimism, as he urges, “We must use our lives with courageous love. Every moment we have a choice—to accept things as they are or to accept responsibility for trying to change them.” Elections 2016

In discussing the primaries, Booker, who has made a number of campaign speeches for Hillary Clinton, once again embraces the positive, at least on the Democratic side. “I celebrate the primaries we’re having. It’s a wonderful engagement of ideas between the candidates. It’s been a good contest,” he says. “Unfortunately what we’re seeing in the Republican Party now is disappointing and often discouraging.” He emphasizes his support for Clinton, “I’m campaigning very hard for her. I’m a believer. She’s somebody who’s proven herself over decades and her commitment to serving the less fortunate, the marginalized in our country. She’s somebody I trust who can make a difference for our country on the issues that matter.” Expressing his admiration for Bernie Sanders and predicting a unified Party after the convention, Booker goes on to state, “We have two great candidates, and I think that Senator Sanders, whom I’ve served with, understands the urgency of what’s at stake, especially if Trump becomes the nominee. The urgency is there for Democrats to win in this election, and I’m confident they will come together.“


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images courtesy of


Eager to promote his positive message, Booker reflects on the future of the Democratic Party. “Our party has a stronger message for our economy, for education, for innovation and growth,” he states. “The Democratic Party has shown time and time again how the economy recovers and grows strong under a Democratic president and is often driven into a ditch with a Republican President.” But, despite the fact that the two baby boomer-generation Democratic candidates are aging and he is a generation younger, Booker is unwilling to address his own political ambitions, vice presidential or otherwise. “Absolutely not,” he says. “My next election isn’t until 2020 for the Senate. I feel really blessed to be where I am and to focus on the job at hand for New Jersey. The focus for me is regaining the Senate for the Democrats and seeing Hillary Clinton get elected.” In summing up his thoughts about the difficulties and opportunities in the 2016 election season, Booker invokes Martin Luther King, urging people to get involved. “For a lot of people who don’t like what’s going on,” Booker says, “the way to combat that is not just to condemn it, to be stuck in a state of what I call sedentary agitation, but to get up and do something about it, to match their negativity with your political action. You have to match


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their darkness with your light.” He continues, “I have often said that our nation needs more poets. We have to find a way to prick the moral imagination of our country. I hope this will be an election when we don’t give in to the demagogues and the derision and instead rise to more engagement, more activism and strive towards justice.… There’s no presidential Senator Booker speaking at an environmental awareness rally. candidate who’s going pain, agony or injustice. It is not a saccharine to ride in and solve the challenges we have. optimism that refuses to see, face or grapple There has to be an expansion of our moral with the wretchedness of reality. You can’t have imagination of who we are, followed by a hope without despair, because hope is a response. courageousness of action that we’ve seen at so Hope is the active conviction that despair will many points in our history.” never have the last word.” In the conclusion to the chapter of his book Wherever his future leads him, Cory Booker, titled “Ms. Virginia Jones,” Booker talks about pursuing his mission to find common ground and the lessons he learned from Ms. Jones, the advance the common good, means to make sure 68-year-old president of the tenants’ association that despair does not have the last word. at Brick Towers in the Central Ward of Newark, where he lived for eight years: “For Ms. Jones, hope was relational. It didn’t exist in the abstract. Hope confronts. It does not ignore

images courtesy of

Cory Booker during his campaign for Senate.


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By Sarah Emily Gilbert Photographed by Andrew Wilkinson

Princeton might be the home of the tigers, but it doesn’t seem complete without its dogs. Thanks to its dog-friendly places, the town abounds with proud owners and their furry companions. You’ll find pets and their parents sunning on the Princeton Battle Field and their more active counterparts jogging the Delaware and Raritan Canal. Nassau Street is full of fashionable dog-owner duos shopping at Lululemon Athletica or Urban Outfitters, and the Nassau Inn lodges both human and canine out-of-towners. Princeton’s gastronomic landscape proves equally pooch-positive. The outdoor dining areas at Witherspoon Grill and Despana welcome dogs, and Benefit Boutique, along with other retailers, offers doggie water and treats on their sidewalks. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the puppy ice cream sold at the Bent Spoon supports the American Rescue Farm of Mercer. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Princetonians rarely leave home without their dogs. To celebrate the unique connection between the dogs and owners of Princeton, we photographed some of the town’s most devoted packs of two.

Tracy K. Smith with her six-year-old daughter, Naomi.


Owner: Tracy K. Smith, Writer and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University Dog: Coco, 6 year-old female from SAVE Animal Rescue Breed: Chocolate Labrador Retriever Favorite Princeton Activity: Long walks along the paths near Lake Carnegie, and curling up on the couch.

“Coco and I bonded pretty instantly. We visited SAVE in January to donate Shaba, our older dog’s, belongings after he passed away. My husband has always been the true dog lover. I’ve just kind of gone along for the ride. But something urged me to take a look at the dogs waiting for homes, and when Coco and I met, there was this great feeling of recognition. I guess I’d call it a conversion experience. I feel as though I’ve met my ‘spirit animal.’” — Tracy K. Smith


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Owner: Andrew Mangone, Co-owner of Hinkson’s The Office Store Dog: Sasha, 9 year-old female from a shelter in Colts Neck, NJ Breed: Black American Cocker Spaniel Favorite Princeton Activity: Walking through town Sasha was used for breeding, but once she lived out her usefulness, she was taken to a pound in Philadelphia, rescued, and adopted by Andrew. Now, she lives out her days greeting customers at Hinkson’s The Office Store. According to Andrew, “Sasha is great with people, especially children, which works out well for me since she comes to the store with me most of the time.”

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Owner: Liz Lempert, Mayor of Princeton Dog: Bagel Bear, 6 month-old female from Unleashed NY, a leadership and empowerment program for middle school girls centered on puppy rescue Breed: Australian Shepherd Mix or Hound Mix Favorite Princeton Activity: Walking along the towpath and around Mountain Lakes “Bagel Bear’s name was a joint effort. I have two daughters—one wanted to name our puppy ‘Bagel,’ and the other wanted to name her ‘Bear.’ ‘Bagel Bear’ was the compromise. Bagel Bear gets along with everyone—little kids, other dogs, and even our mailman! She is sweet and gentle with our pet bunny, too. She is a good dog, and super enthusiastic. She sits on command, but being in a sitting position doesn’t stop her from wagging her tail and doing a little dance with her front paws. She’s managed to scoot herself half way across the kitchen floor without ever standing up.” — Liz Lempert

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John and Dudley

Owner: John Sayer, Retired Re-insurance Broker Dog: Dudley, 6 year-old male adopted from a breeder after retiring from the dog show circuit Breed: Bouvier des Flandres Favorite Princeton Activity: Walking around town

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Dudley is one lucky dog. John got a call in January 2014 informing him that a Bouvier show dog didn’t pass his eye exam, and the breeder no longer wanted him. Not only did John immediately drive to Connecticut to adopt the former U.S. and Canadian champion, but he also took Dudley to PennVet to get his eyes checked. As it turns out, Dudley’s vision is perfect. Always a champion in the Sayer’s eyes, John proudly states, “Dudley is our fourth and best Bouvier!”


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Sarah and Haimish (top-left)

Nicole and Tarzan (top-right)

Sarah and Scarlet (three photos)

Dog: Haimish, 3 year-old male

Dog: Scarlet, 3 year-old female

Breed: Miniature Australian Shepherd

Dog: Tarzan, 3 year-old male from Crossing Paths Animal Rescue in Yardley, PA

Favorite Princeton Activity: Walking around town with the students in nice weather

Breed: Labrador Retriever/Irish Setter Mix Favorite Princeton Activity: Visit The Lewis School

Favorite Princeton Activity: Working at The Lewis School

“Haimish is a kind-hearted, gentle, and caring dog. He loves children and is exceptionally patient with them. He is the ‘life of the party’ when we take him places outside of school. He loves to play with other dogs, especially his sister Scarlet. He began training at The Lewis School when he was 12 weeks old, so he has grown up here and many of the children remember when he was little. They have enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome dog that he is.” — Sarah Martinez

“Tarzan is a very sensitive dog. He has an innate ability to respond to people’s moods and sense when someone is upset. People who see him can’t help but smile, as he is such a happy and loving dog. Tarzan’s favorite foods are bananas, pretzels, and popcorn. He loves to stretch and will do downward-facing dog several times a day.” — Nicole Toto Vogel

Owner: Sarah Martinez, Lower School Teacher at The Lewis School

Owner: Nicole Toto Vogel, Math and Science Teacher at The Lewis School

Owner: Sarah Stevens, Lower School Teacher at The Lewis School Breed: Miniature Australian Shepherd

“Scarlet is very perceptive and loves children. She enjoys play dates with her brother Haimish, and visiting her birth family, the McCulloughs.” — Sarah Stevens


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Owner: Kathryn Brower, Upper School Teacher at The Lewis School Dog: Viper, 3 year-old male from Barefoot Labradors in Killingworth, CT Breed: Yellow Labrador Retriever Favorite Princeton Activity: Going to Halo Pub where Viper occasionally gets a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream “Viper’s canine father was a Ralph Lauren model, so naturally he is very excited to be in a magazine like his dad. Viper is not only a wonderful therapy dog that loves my students, but he also gets to visit the children at the Princeton YWCA Childcare Center. He has an innate ability to know when someone is having a bad day. Viper positions himself next to or under the desk of the student that needs him the most each day. I don’t know how he knows, but he just does. Dogs are amazing like that. They give love unconditionally and don’t ask for anything in return.” — Kathryn Brower

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(OPPOSITE) Helga Deaton on stage. (ABOVE) Ceclia Hodges performs as Helga Deaton, Stephen Hiltner, and Cheryl A. Jones look on.

rofessional actors spend years perfecting their technique. But sometimes it can be the untrained who deliver the most affecting performances. Consider the 16 members of McCarter Theatre’s OnStage Seniors program. This ensemble of amateurs—most of them retired from professions such as teaching, medicine, and writing—have come to acting late in life. None have had formal training. But being on stage has become an important part of their lives. The performances they give in senior centers, community centers, theaters, libraries, prisons, and schools are the culmination of a process that begins with the interviewing of fellow seniors throughout the community. From these interviews come scripts, which members craft into monologues and scenes. This is a fact-based method of performance that explores issues relevant to members of a particular community. While the group’s shows are not always about aging or the senior experience, it is a recurring theme. The texts can be funny,

touching on subjects like dating and sex over 65. They can be serious, about making end-of-life decisions and dealing with the infirmities that come with advanced years. Each performance is followed by a post-show “talkback,” where audience members get to share comments about what they’ve just seen. More often than not, members of the ensemble discover that their work has struck a chord. “For me, one of the most satisfying things has been reaching people who don’t usually go to theater and don’t usually feel their stories are validated on the stage,” says group member Mimi Schwartz, a retired teacher and author. “Last year we went to the male and female prison at Bo Robinson (Albert M. “Bo” Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center in Trenton), and they were totally engaged. At the talkback, people started telling their own stories on the same subjects we had covered.” Director Liz Green, who took over last year from the program’s initial director Adam Immerwahr, likens the process to “telling stories around the campfire.” An experienced director and a candidate for a

master’s degree from Temple University, she has learned as much from her 16 charges as they have from her. “I am totally honored to work with this group,” Green says. “They have an artistic mission to hone their skills as performers and storytellers, and also to bring those stories to a wider audience. I tell people that it’s so rare that someone in her thirties would have a chance to get to know people of this generation whom they aren’t related to. So I feel really, really lucky to get to know them and hear their experiences and perspectives. It’s a rare opportunity and I don’t take it for granted for a minute.” Before becoming a part of McCarter Theatre Center in 2014, the program, founded in 2007, was under the aegis of Community Without Walls (CWW), a Princeton non-profit dedicated to seniors aging gracefully in their homes. When Immerwahr became their director, the group at CWW changed from a focus on skits and revues to a more documentary-theater, community-based model, according to Erica Nagel, McCarter’s director of Education and Engagement. MAY/JUNE 2016 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Director Liz Green works with the ensemble.

“Adam was responsible for making that shift. He said, ‘We’re going to gather stories from the community and turn them into monologues, and then bring them back to the community,’ ” Nagel said. “When I joined McCarter’s staff, I saw that this was something so in line with the McCarter mission and also with artistic director Emily Mann’s legacy of work. Because she was one of the first people to do documentary theater and was a real pioneer in the field.” The theater group became too big for Community Without Walls to handle, and began looking for another company that could serve as a non-profit sponsor. Following several conversations to figure out a model that made sense, the group joined forces with McCarter. “They’re now in their second year with us, and they really retain their identity as an ensemble,” Nagel says. “They’re gathering the stories and getting the ideas connected. But a lot of the administrative work that was hard when they were a small, community-based ensemble is more easily absorbed by being part of McCarter.” Mann describes OnStage Seniors as “a thrilling way for McCarter to directly connect with our community.” Every element of the program “values the input and interaction of people who love the arts, but do not consider themselves professional artists,” she says. “And the group makes terrific work! These exceptional senior ensemble members continually grow and develop in their artistry as they gather and perform stories that matter to our friends and neighbors in the region. As someone whose career has included decades of deep work on theatre of testimony and documentary style theatre, I also love that this group is working within that art form.”

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In its early years, the group’s focus was on Princeton. “The goals were to include men as well as women,” says Schwartz, who has been involved from the beginning. “It has a spread across economic and racial lines. I don’t think anyone has left the group for the past couple of years. It’s been a very satisfying combination of doing something new, giving back to the community, and gathering stories.” As a professional writer, Schwartz has learned through the program about other aspects of the theatrical experience. “I’m used to putting stories to the page. It has been so interesting to see how a memoir gets transferred on stage, and to tell people’s stories other than my own,” she says. There is a real difference between what you put on the page and what you perform. It’s not about the craft and the words coming together in the most aesthetically satisfying way. It’s about the person who says those words.” The ensemble meets every Wednesday, developing a script and rehearsing the scenes and monologues they create. “One way to look at it is as a collage,” says Green. “A narrator guides the audience through the entire play. Some scenes have two people together, and some are monologues. What’s new this year is the fact that some scenes are built in a framework where one character begins to tell a story, and you’ll see three other people come out and tell related stories. The original character wraps it up at the end.” Ensemble member Dick Blofson still works for Telequest, the video production company in which he is a partner. But he has made time over the past four years to participate in OnStage Seniors. “What I really like is the challenge of working as an

ensemble group,” he says “I appreciate that Liz is pushing that. I was a lighting designer and stage manager on Broadway, always behind the curtain except for when I had to deliver two lines in Finian’s Rainbow when someone was out. After all those years backstage, getting a chance to feel seriously what the actor has to do is a very different event.” The payoff is important to him, Blofson continues. “It’s not the personal success. It has more to do with sticking with it, feeling the support, and engaging both within and outside the group.” Each year, the performance has a different theme. This year’s production, Growth and Change, has already been presented at McCarter, as well as several senior centers. Upcoming shows include centers in South Brunswick, East Windsor, and Robbinsville, as well as Pennington Presbyterian Church and Princeton Public Library. “I love that this ensemble is a group of community artists,” says Nagel. “They don’t consider themselves professionals, but there is such a commitment to the work they do. They want to grow as an ensemble, and as artists.” Members of the group play an active role in other aspects of McCarter’s operations. “Some of them come to every new play reading, and to all of the shows,” Nagel says. “One of them is an audio describer for our accessible performances. Next year’s direction of A Christmas Carol will actually involve them in some way. These are people we value so much. They are woven into the fabric of the theater.”


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(TOP) Ruth Schulman and ensemble. (BOTTOM) OnStage Seniors actor Lew Gantwerk during a performance. MAY/JUNE 2016 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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july 23

may 26

M a r k Yo u r


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m u s i c | b o o k s | t h e at r e | l e c t u r e s | s p o r t s may 28

july 2

(left) Urhobo artist, Mask, 1800–10. Promised museum acquisition from the Holly and David Ross Collection. Princeton University Art Museum.

Thursday, May 26

Wednesday, June 1

Saturday, June 11

9AM-5PM The Arts Council of Princeton presents

4PM Acting Out at the Princeton Public Library.

8PM Tim Keyes Consort concert at Richardson

“Start Fresh,” a group exhibition curated by Eva Mantell. The exhibit brings together the work of 6 artists and nearly 80 students from the Arts Council’s art and health programs (on view through June 24).

Students in grades kindergarten through third grade are invited to engage in dramatic activity including games, improvisations, and other fun activities. www.


ALL DAY The Alumni Association of Princeton University welcomes back generations of graduates for Reunions Weekend. Nearly 20,000 former Tigers descend on Princeton for this nostalgia-filled celebration. The event culminates with a parade through downtown Princeton (through Sunday, May 29).

Saturday, May 28 8AM-12:30PM Pancake breakfast hosted by the Rotary Club of Princeton on Palmer Square Green. www.

10AM Princeton Memorial Day Parade. The route begins at the corner of Princeton Avenue and Nassau Street and travels to the Princeton Battle Monument outside of the former Borough Hall. www.

Sunday, May 29 1PM Memorial Day Observance at the gravesite of Continental soldiers at Washington Crossing Park. The observation includes a colonial color guard, the Old Barracks Fife & Drum Corps, Revolutionary War reenactors, the Guardians of the National Cemetery Firing Party, Daughters of the American Revolution, and more.

Thursday, June 2 10AM-3PM 2016 Historical Society House Tour in Spring Lake, NJ.


1-4PM Princeton Bicycle Ciclovia and Pedestrian Fest. A stretch of Quaker Road will be transformed into an automobile free space for cyclists and pedestrians.

Tuesday, June 14

Hinds Plaza in downtown Princeton (repeats weekly).

NOON Flag Day Ceremony on the plaza at Princeton Witherspoon Hall.

Saturday, June 4

Wednesday, June 15 8PM See five-time Grammy Award-winning singer-

Concert Under the Stars at Updike Farmstead.

songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter at the State Theatre of NJ.

7-9PM Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra performs at Richardson Auditorium.

Thursday, June 16

Sunday, June 5 9AM-6PM Summer Spectacular at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. Discover the seasonal Waterlily Displays, Italian Water Gardens, and rustic Meadow Gardens (through September 5).

Thursday, June 9 6-7:30PM Yoga on the lawn of the Princeton University Art Museum.

Friday, June 10 6-10PM 94.5 PST Summer Radio Bash at the Mercer County Park Festival Grounds.


Sunday, June 12

11AM-4PM Princeton Summer Farmers’ Market at

6:30-10PM The Historical Society of Princeton’s

images courtesy of shutterstock; emily reeves; princeton university art museum.


6-8PM River Horse Brewing Company Tour & Tasting at their brewhouse in Ewing.

Friday, June 17 10AM JaZams Summer Block Party. This year, the neighborhood toy store hosts a weekend-long schedule of events (through June 19).

Saturday, June 18 9-11AM Fifth Annual Kidsbridge Walk2Stop Bullying at ETS Princeton. 9AM-1PM Montgomery Friends Farmers Market at the Village Shopper on Route 206 (runs through October).


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art all night photo courtesy of Michelle Lawlor; NJSO photo by Fred Stucker; shutterstock; wikipedia.

june 26

june 18

may 28

june 2

july 2 june 16

june 29

3pm Art All Night - Trenton 2016 celebrates 10 years of Creativity, Community and Inspiration. 24 hours of live music, interactive art, film festival, lectures, kids art activities, food, and plenty of artful surprises! Free to submit art and free to attend. (through Sunday until 3pm)

Tuesday, June 28

Sunday, July 10

7:30-9:30PM International Folk Dancing with Princeton

7-9PM Princeton Bluegrass Jam at Small World

Folk Dance. Dance to soulful music from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Greece, and more (recurs weekly).

Coffee on Witherspoon Street (repeats monthly).

Thursday, July 14

8:45PM Summer Movies on Palmer Square Green.

Wednesday, June 29

Bring your own blanket and lawn chair and enjoy family-friendly movies under the stars (also on July 16 and August 20).

High School. This is a USATF Sanctioned event. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Merchants Association. Local wait staff will put their traybalancing skills to test as they complete a course around Palmer Square.

7PM Screening of Jaws (1975) at Princeton Garden Theatre.

Tuesday, July 19

Tuesday, June 21 9AM-4PM Strike Out Hunger United Way of Greater Mercer County at Grounds for Sculpture. Last year, over 300 volunteers packed 75,000 meals and this year’s goal is to pack 150,000 meals!

Wednesday, June 22 7:30PM The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra performs at McCarter Theatre.

Thursday, June 23 6-8PM Summer Courtyard Concert presented by the Arts Council of Princeton at the Kristina Johnson Pop-Up Studio at the Princeton Shopping Center.

5:30-8:30PM All-Comer Track & Field Meet at Princeton

Friday, July 1 10:30AM First Friday Storytime at the Tulpehaking

4-9PM Firefly Festival at Terhune Orchards in Lawrenceville. Includes nature activities, music, wagonrides, and barbecue.

6:30PM Moonlight Tour & Dinner at Rat’s Restaurant. The docent-led tour of Grounds for Sculpture begins at 9 p.m. to showcase sculptures specially lit to show off their brilliance after dark.

Nature Center. Children ages 4-8 will enjoy learning about the natural world around them (repeats monthly).

7PM Trenton Thunder Baseball vs. Portland Sea Dogs at Trenton Thunder Stadium.

Saturday, July 2

Saturday, July 23

1-5PM Exhibit “Surfaces Seen and Unseen: African Art at

NOON Take your yoga practice outside of the studio

Princeton” opens at Princeton University Art Museum (through October 9).

at Morven Museum’s Yoga in the Garden with Gemma Farrell of Gratitude Yoga (also on August 27).

2-4PM Outdoor Summer Music Series on Palmer Square Green (through August 27).

4-6PM Princeton Tour Company’s Saturday Shameless

Sunday, June 26

4-7PM Annual Waiters’ Race presented by the Princeton

Name Dropping Tour (repeats weekly). www.

8-9:30PM New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs at the Mercer County Park Festival Grounds. An exciting fireworks show will follow the musical performance.

Saturday, August 13 9AM-4PM 2016 New Hope Automobile Show at New HopeSolebury High School. The event serves as a magnificent showplace for antique and classic automobiles with over 250 vehicles exhibited per day (also on Sunday, August 14).


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onstructed pedestrian walkways overlooking beaches and the ocean can be found all over the world, but most are on the East Coast of the U.S. and some of the best known are on the Jersey Shore. The very first boardwalk was built in Atlantic City in 1870, in an area once frequented in summer by the Lenni Lenape. Beautiful beaches, fresh sea air, luxury hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as a railroad line from Camden, drew visitors from all over the world. The original boardwalk was constructed for housekeeping reasons: to keep sand out of railroad cars and hotels. That first, with boards placed in a herringbone pattern, was only intended to be temporary and made to collapse for storage after the season, but it became the beach’s most popular attraction and an amusement pier was added. Build it and they will come—soon the boardwalk was rebuilt as a raised platform. The first boardwalk built on pilings in Ocean County was at Point Pleasant Beach in the 1890s. Permanent boardwalks were also constructed at Seaside Park, Bay Head, Lavallette, and Beach Haven. By the early 1900s many shore towns had planked walks, boardwalks or promenades. What had once been a practical means of getting to and from the beaches became a place to stroll, watch people and congregate. Women and men in the latest fashions, who wanted to see and be seen, knew the wooden walkway was the place to do so. Saltwater taffy, that sticky chewy gooey mixture of sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, butter and salt, was invented in Atlantic City, and the first skee-ball tournament was held there in 1932. As it became the entertainment mecca known as “America’s Playground,” some of the famous feet to tread AC’s boards belonged to Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Durante, Ed Sullivan, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Dean Martin,

Jerry Lewis and Bing Crosby. The Beatles ate Atlantic City’s famous subs on the boardwalk, and Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon opened a bowling alley. Interestingly, to film the TV series Boardwalk Empire, set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City, a section of the boardwalk was re-created in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Boardwalks evolved to become a commercial enterprise, carrying tourists from hotels to vendors. Economic downturns and hurricanes played havoc with leisure time at the Shore, but America’s romance with the boardwalk was renewed in 1964 when the Drifters were the first to record the classic “Under the Boardwalk.” After Hurricane Sandy, boardwalks at Seaside Heights and Belmar were rebuilt, and others at Tom’s River and Lavalette were restored. Long Branch was the last to reopen, in April. Both the Atlantic City and Wildwoods boardwalks made National Geographic’s top 10 list. From Sandy Hook to Cape May Point, there’s a boardwalk to fill your needs. It’s come a long way since it was a 150-foot platform in the 1890s. Today, at 2.5 miles, the Wildwoods boardwalk is sensory overload. There are three amusement piers with more than 100 rides and attractions, including world-class roller coasters, wet-and-wild beachfront water parks, carnival-style midway games, flashing arcades, retail shops and enough food stalls to satisfy the craving that beach air seems to stir. The refrain you hear ad nauseum, “Watch the tram car, please,” was recorded in 1963 by North Wildwood resident Floss Stingel, and the trams are replicas of five original electric trains custom built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Operating in the Wildwoods since 1949, the rebuilt trams can run for up to 12 MAY/JUNE 2016 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Ocean City’s boardwalk attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. From May to October, families have made it their tradition to flock here for wholesome alcohol-free entertainment—even smoking is restricted to designated areas. Amusement parks offer thrill rides, go-karts, water parks, movie theaters, and high-tech arcades. Miniature golf theme parks feature fantasy island adventures with pirate folklore, such as Gillian’s Wonderland Pier at Boardwalk and 6th Street and Playland’s Castaway Cove at Boardwalk and 10th Street—both are jampacked with rides. Spanning 2.5 miles, the Ocean City boardwalk offers cycling, walking and jogging. (Cycling is limited to 5 a.m.noon from May 15 to Labor Day.) Restaurants and snack bars offer everything from pizza, ice cream and fudge to fine dining, and for those who love to shop, there are art galleries, apparel and novelty shops. What to do at night? Every Thursday in July and August is family night on Ocean City’s boardwalk, with free live entertainment including music, magicians, yo-yo demonstrations, parades and face painting.

photos courtesy of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement & Development Authority (GWTIDA);

hours on a single charge from 2,000-pound electric batteries. Throughout its 100-plus year history, the Wildwoods Boardwalk has twice scooched closer to the ocean with the changing shoreline. It has been replicated in both Disneyland and Hershey Park, Pennsylvania. Among the dizzying attractions planned for the coming season are the Grand Prix Raceway on Morey’s Adventure Pier—the largest go-kart track in the Wildwoods—to a new whimsical store filled with carousel horses and decorations from rides past on Mariner’s Pier. The family can bounce like kangaroos on the Kang’ A Bounce on Surfside Pier, and if you’re into repurposed shipping containers, you’ll ogle the 11 here, brightly painted by artists and now making up the new ticket office at Morey’s Adventure Pier. One of its many features is the “the Great White,” the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster on the East Coast. Cycling is permitted along the 2.5mile stretch until 11 a.m. weekdays, 10:30 a.m. weekends. If your trunk is stuffed with beach chairs, umbrella and sand toys, you can rent bicycles, including tandems and surreys, throughout the Wildwoods. Among the events scheduled: New Year’s in North Wildwood, Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11, Wildwoods Convention Center with the top Mummers Brigades and Mummers String Bands, kicking off Friday night at 7 p.m. with a pub-crawl. Latin Heritage Festival, Saturday, June 25, a culinary extravaganza with a Latin flair and including music, entertainment, an artisan area and children’s activities. Wildwood Crest Sundown Celebrations, every Thursday, July 7 through August 18, with live music, children’s activities, street performers and stunning sunsets.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated the Asbury Park Boardwalk, but it has been rebuilt and when you visit today, it’s as if the storm never happened. Although many of the historical buildings and landmarks such as the old casino have closed, Asbury Park still evokes nostalgia. AP was developed in 1871 by Manhattan brush manufacturer James A. Bradley. Soon after, the boardwalk was constructed and featured an orchestra pavilion, public changing rooms and a pier extending into the ocean. Today, visitors enjoy views of the beach and rock out at the Stone Pony, known


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photos courtesy of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement & Development Authority (GWTIDA);

The 250-year-old Sandy Hook Lighthouse. The Lighthouse Keepers Quarters next door, built in 1883, is currently serving as the Sandy Hook Visitor Center.

Visitors to Atlantic City stroll the Boardwalk in front of Bally’s Wild West Casino.


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for launching legends Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. The Kiefer Sutherland Band will appear May 24, followed by Slightly Stoopid on August 19. The 3,600-seat Convention Hall has hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and the Boss, with its state-of-the-art stage, spacious floor space and location right on the boardwalk. At one-mile long, the boardwalk—an ideal day trip, 60 miles south of New York City and 90 minutes north of Atlantic City—offers something for the entire family, with Asbury Splash Park and the Silverball Museum Arcade. Even amid casino closings, the four-mile-long Atlantic City boardwalk remains an attraction, extending 1,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean at its Steel Pier, with kiddie rides, a family-restaurant and a separate bar. Here you can climb the 228 steps in the Absecon Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, also the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey. From its top you gain a whole new perspective of Atlantic City. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is located inside the Resorts Hotel Casino where you can get nachos, cheeseburgers, “Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya,” and a vegetarian and gluten-free menu, along with the signature cocktail in numerous permutations (“Last Mango in Paris, “Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot”), live entertainment and a tiki bar. Fralinger’s, the original saltwater taffy maker, is still in business. Too gooey? Try the fudge and macaroons. Sandy destroyed about a third of Ocean Grove’s one-mile boardwalk. The ultimate rebuilding was called a “miracle project” after FEMA funding was twice denied, on the grounds that it is a seaside community whose oceanfront is owned and maintained by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a non-profit religious organization. FEMA was finally swayed when a group of federal and state lawmakers unearthed documents saying the boardwalk has been recognized as public property and a public roadway since the early 1900s.

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In Ocean Grove you will find arts and craft shows, mega flea markets, guided historical walking tours, free concerts in the Boardwalk Pavilion and performances in the legendary Great Auditorium. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant is home to many fun rides and games. Featured rides include the carousel, Crazy Bus, Dizzy Dragons, Boardwalk Bounce and more. At Jenkinson’s Aquarium you will find everything from lizards and fish to starfish and penguins. The mile-long boardwalk at Seaside has the Funtown Pier and the Casino Pier which features a merry-go-round built in 1913. A year after Sandy, Britain’s Prince Harry paid a visit. Seaside’s boardwalk suffered a fire in 2013 and is still rebuilding. If you like to stroll, the boardwalk at Avalon Beach is seven miles long. The boardwalk at Sea Bright, on the other hand, is short and sweet at 170 feet long. It was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and rebuilt by volunteers from the New Jersey Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association and the Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore. Looking for something quiet? Try the boardwalks at Avalon, Avon-by-the-Sea, Cape May, Lavallette, Sea Girt or Sandy Hook. Many of the boards are built these days from materials more sustainable than wood, often from recycled plastics such as Trex and Timber Tech, and some are made of asphalt or concrete pavers. In colors with names like Winchester Gray and Spiced Rum, and without the smell of creosote and the splinters, they have a hollow sound and have been called soulless. On the other hand, towns that even think about using Brazilian hardwoods have been called far worse. An Asbury Park a mural reads: “The boardwalk was where all of New Jersey came together, where New Jersey, for better or worse, met itself.” The quote is from Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and New Jersey native Junot Diaz. “I would never have become the person I am as an artist if it hadn’t been for New Jersey and specifically if it hadn’t been for those 127 miles of shoreline that make New Jersey so special,” he said during Sandy recovery. For more boardwalks, directions, hours of operation, amenities and attractions, visit


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Celebrating Rutgers University Press at 80 by Stuart Mitchner


ccording to Caroline Seebohm’s Cottages and Mansions of the Jersey Shore (Rivergate/Rutgers University Press $39.95), which features Peter C. Cook’s evocative photography, “the essence of New Jersey in all its beauty, tragedy, toughness, and diversity” can be found in that 127-mile-long stretch of coastline from Atlantic Highlands to Cape May. Taken five years before Sandy devastated the Shore, Cook’s cover image, with its deep blue sky and resplendent red bicycle, makes a suggestive contrast to the cover photo of a book featured on Rutgers’s spring/summer list, Karen M. O’Neill and Daniel J. Van Abs’s Taking Chances: The

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Coast after Hurricane Sandy. A collection of articles by leading researchers, biologists, urban planners, utilities experts, and climatologists, Taking Chances documents reaction to the storm in light of the “main question, which is whether Sandy was a transformational event, just another storm, or something in between.” The implicit message of the cover is here we go again, with the blue-skybacked framework of a home built high enough off the ground to presumably survive another Sandy, except the subtext is closer to the dark side of the field of dreams—if you build it, no matter how well you build it, devastation will come. As the editors of Taking Chances point out, “Community ties, place attachment, culture, infrastructure, and money create powerful incentives for residents and businesses to stay in hazardous coastal places and for newcomers to join them.” Also new from the Press, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, Diane C. Bates’s Superstorm Sandy: The Inevitable Destruction and Reconstruction of the Jersey Shore highlights the elements that compounded the disaster while at the same time providing a framework for understanding it. The book analyzes post-Sandy narratives that stressed human ingenuity over nature (such as the state’s “Stronger than the Storm” advertising campaign) or proclaimed a tough, enlightened community (“Jersey Strong”). According to Kari Marie Norgaard, author of Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life, Bates’s book “provides an impressively clear exploration of the events surrounding the hurricane. Readers can feel themselves walking down the boardwalk alongside the author and worrying alongside the residents.”


While specializing in Garden State subjects like the shore and Sandy, not to mention Jersey diners, “forgotten towns,” celebrity chefs and politicians, Rutgers University Press has devoted profitable


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attention to the New York metropolitan area. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the only work in print on the subject was Angus Kress Gillespie’s Twin Towers, which became a surprise best-seller as a result. Another Rutgers best-seller with a regional flavor is Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Passing, “novels I will never forget,” in the words of The Color Purple’s Alice Walker. Among new books, the regional title generating the most excitement for the spring and summer season is Ellen Freudenheim’s The Brooklyn Experience, an insider’s guide to 41 Brooklyn neighborhoods, with their shops, greenmarkets, festivals, and cultural scenes at the Brooklyn Academy of Art, Barclays Center, and neighborhoods like DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Bushwick. There are exclusive interviews with experts from the James Beard Foundation to the cofounder of the famous Brooklyn Book Fair, from MacArthur “genius” award winners to young entrepreneurs, hipsters, and activists, all of whom have something to say about Brooklyn, including the definitive New Yorker columnist Pete Hamill: “If you’ve lived in Brooklyn for generations or arrived last month, this book is a splendid companion in the delicious task of exploring the grandest New York borough. Pull up a chair and read. Even better, head for the street, this book in hand, and look around.” SEEING THE STATE

Moving closer to home again there’s Envisioning New Jersey, the big, lavishly illustrated volume that Edison Papers Editor and Director Paul Israel calls “a wonderful introduction to the history of the Garden State,” combining “a concise and readable narrative with hundreds of significant written, visual, and material documents.” Maxine N. Lurie and Richard F. Veit, two leading authorities on New Jersey history, have put together more than 650 images covering the course of the state’s history, ranging from paintings and photographs to

documents and maps. There are portraits of George Washington and Molly Pitcher from the Revolution, battle flags from the War of 1812 and the Civil War, women air raid wardens patrolling the streets of Newark during World War II, as well as pictures of Thomas Mundy Peterson, the first African American to vote after passage of the Fifteenth Amendment; Paul Robeson marching for civil rights; university students protesting in the 1960s; and Martin Luther King speaking at Monmouth University. The authors highlight the ethnic and religious variety of New Jersey inhabitants with images that range from Native American arrowheads and fishing implements to Dutch and German buildings, early African American churches and leaders, and modern Catholic and Hindu houses of worship. CITY AND UNIVERSITY

Meanwhile New Brunswick is booming. Home to the Old Queens campus of Rutgers University, which celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, the city on the Raritan is also the subject of a new Rutgers University Press book focused on the extraordinary renaissance that has led many experts to cite New Brunswick as a model for urban redevelopment. The Press is marking the occasion with Rutgers: a 250th Anniversary Portrait edited by Nita Congress. Chartered in 1766 as the all-male Queen’s College, the school was renamed Rutgers College in 1825 to honor Revolutionary War veteran and trustee Colonel Henry Rutgers (the motto of the moment is “Revolutionary for 250 Years”). Illustrated with over 200 new and archival photographs, Rutgers features contributions by prominent faculty members, University leaders, and renowned alumni like Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz, also a graduate of Rutgers Press, having worked there as an intern back in the day when he was an unpublished novice trying to get the New Yorker’s attention.

I would give Junot Diaz the last word if not for the fact that a quote from him about the state bookends Ilene Dube’s story in this issue, “Boardwalks of the Jersey Shore.” I could quote Senator Cory Booker (“people helping people: this is New Jersey”), the subject of Don Gilpin’s profile. Looking for a more upbeat closing statement, however, I turned to Trump supporter Governor Chris Christie, featured in a previous Book Scene, where he’s quoted to the effect that “anybody who lives in New Jersey, the Jersey Shore is in your heart.”


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Zuri Premium Decking by Royal combines the breathtaking beauty of exotic timbers with low-maintenance durability in a decking product that will hold its beauty far longer than any wood can. But don’t take our word for it... come visit our showroom and see for yourself the authentic colors and jaw-dropping beauty of this exceptional decking. Then ask us about Zuri’s 25-year color fastness warranty. Don’t settle. Choose Zuri and Hamilton Building Supply.

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65 Klockner Road, Hamilton, NJ 08619 201 South State Street, Newtown, PA 18940 ph: 609-587-4020 fax: 609-587-8290 ph: 215-968-3690 fax: 215-497-3478 email: email:


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Scannapieco Development Corporation


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How many thousands of devices—from cars to health monitoring systems to airplanes—would benefit from a microchip that could process data at the speed of light rather than the speed of electricity?

How can we keep medical devices—wearable or implantable— such as pacemakers, cochlear hearing aid implants and drug delivery systems, secure and protect them from cyberthreats?

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Can we find new antibiotics to combat the diseases that are so resistant to the drugs we have now?

How can we more effectively attack the deadly hepatitis B virus, which afflicts hundreds of millions of people on our planet, and save hundreds of thousands of lives each year?

Can we improve the health of humanity around the world by spotting diseases and diagnosing health conditions almost instantaneously with a finger-tip-sized detection system?

FIVE PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS, all recently awarded funding through Princeton’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund (IPA), have answers to these questions—and the research data to back up those answers in creating products and technologies to improve our lives.

DISCOVERING NEW ANTIBIOTICS Bacteria that resist treatment with antibiotics are causing a growing global crisis. We need new, more effective antibiotics. Most antibiotics in use today are derived from compounds that bacteria produce to kill other bacteria, but genome research hints that there are many more of these antibacterial compounds waiting to be discovered. They are encoded in “silent” or “cryptic” gene clusters. “Given the rise of drug-resistant pathogens and the fact that that resistance has been observed in all major antibiotic classes on the market, we desperately need an exceedingly productive era of antibiotics discovery,” states grant-recipient Mohammad Seyedsayamdost, assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton. “To this end,” Mr. Seyedsayamdost explains, “we are developing new approaches for discovering useful molecules from natural sources, including antibiotic lead compounds.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that over two million Americans are affected by multi-drug resistant MOHAMMAD SEYEDSAYAMDOST ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY pathogens, and at least 23,000 of those cases are fatal. Mr. Seyedsayamdost and his research team have invented a systematic method for detecting molecular signals that activate “expression” in the silent gene clusters, then evaluating the resulting secreted product for antibiotic activity. This technique has enabled the researchers to find antibiotic compounds. “The Princeton IPA Award will expedite our efforts to score initial hits,” Mr. Seyedsayamdost notes, “and to commercialize our discovery platform for the development of new antibiotic leads.” MAY/JUNE 2016 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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FAST AND INEXPENSIVE DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS OF DISEASES Assistant professor of electrical engineering Kaushik Sengupta and his team are developing a diagnostic system which rests on a fingertip and contains hundreds of different sensors for detection of diseases. Their goal is to use this computer-chip based system in a portable, diagnostic device in health clinics around the globe, especially where other resources are scarce. The chip detects and measures the presence of DNA or proteins to help diagnose health conditions. Mr. Sengupta is using silicon chip technology similar to that found in personal computers and mobile phones to perform this analysis with a handheld device. “This is a great technology for handheld medical diagnostic devices because it allows us to integrate extremely complex systems in a single chip at very low cost,” he points out. Mr. Sengupta’s team has developed a silicon-based KAUSHIK SENGUPTA :: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING technology that combines complex optical and electronic components into a single chip—cheap, user-friendly and capable of testing many agents at once. They will install the chips in a portable device similar to a smartphone that can use an app to analyze the data and display diagnosis results in a clear, simple format. “The entire end-to-end system may take another couple of years to reach, but we’ve demonstrated the feasibility of the approach,” Mr. Sengupta explains, going on to emphasize the importance of his collaborations with chemistry professor Haw Yang and others. “Princeton provides the kind of environment that makes it easy to reach out to faculty members across the campus and to work on creative endeavors that cut across traditional disciplines.” The ability to diagnose diseases more quickly will enable health care workers to respond rapidly to emerging pathogens, help patients and even turn back the outbreak of potential epidemics.

SECURITY AND PRIVACY FOR MEDICAL DEVICES As more devices, physical objects, become connected to the Internet (50 billion objects predicted by 2020), this Internet of Things is expected to add more than $3 trillion to the world economy in the next ten years, including more than $1 trillion from healthcare applications. Niraj Jha, Princeton professor of electrical engineering, has received funds for the development of two technologies that protect the security of implantable and wearable medical devices such as pacemakers, cochlear hearing aid implants and drug delivery systems. These devices are often connected through wireless communications to a personal health hub, such as a smartphone or smartwatch, and unfortunately are susceptible to security attacks that could disclose sensitive information or undermine the devices’ functionality. Mr. Jha and his research collaborators have developed two devices, MedMon and SecureVibe, that detect potentially malicious transactions and take action to block illegitimate, potentially life-threatening commands. With the IPA funding, Mr. Jha will be working to miniaturize these devices so that they can be worn on a belt or just placed in a pocket.

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PROCESSING INFORMATION AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT Technology that involves a new type of computer chip, using light rather than electrons to process signals, will be cheaper and simpler; it will take up less space inside the phone and will cancel interference, according to electrical engineering professor and IPA grant recipient Paul Prucnal. “These new photonic integrated circuits process information at the speed of light, thousands of times faster than electronic chips,” Mr. Prucnal says. This technology will help cell phones avoid interference from the increasingly crowded radio spectrum and give them access to bandwidth now available only with fiber in the home. Instead of using transistors and logic gates, these photonic integrated circuits developed by Mr. Prucnal and his team use special lasers that process pulses of light forming neural networks that can reason and learn much more like the human brain than a computer. These photonic neural networks are also better at processing information directly from the physical environment, such as images and light or radio signals. PAUL PRUCNAL :: PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING Uses for these neural networks, Mr. Prucnal reports, may include automobiles that share traffic information and sense road conditions to avoid accidents, networking personal health monitoring systems and stabilizing hypersonic aircraft experiencing turbulence. An additional bonus to this new technology comes from the fact that when information is transported and processed using light rather than electricity, it is much easier to ensure its privacy. “These blazingly fast wireless speeds will be even more important as we all become increasingly reliant on instantaneous access to huge amounts of information, anywhere and anytime,” Mr. Prucnal adds.

COMBATTING HEPATITIS B Hepatitis B is a liver disease that affects 240 million people worldwide, yet few patients receive adequate treatment and even fewer are cured. Patients who are infected with the virus are at risk of developing severe liver diseases leading to liver cancer. “Our project focuses on the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the causative agent for hepatitis B,” explains assistant molecular biology professor Alexander Ploss. “We aim to explore new therapeutic targets that would abrogate HBV propagation in the infected cell and eliminate the virus.” A vaccine preventing HBV infection exists, but it does not help individuals who have already contracted the virus. Drugs are on the market that suppress HBV, but they have to be taken life-long and they rarely cure the infection. Mr. Ploss and his team will be using IPA funding to develop a strategy to block the virus by targeting enzymes in the liver that help the virus replicate and maintain chronic infection, with the goal of decreasing the prevalence of hepatitis B or eliminating it altogether. ALEXANDER PLOSS :: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY The IPA grants, up to $100,000 per project, awarded annually by the Office of Technology Licensing at Princeton, will go to support proof-of-concept work, data collection, the construction of prototypes and other activities to explore and expand the impact of these five promising technologies. These Princeton professors and their research teams look forward to seeing their work transition from university research projects to powerful innovations improving people’s lives throughout the world. MAY/JUNE 2016 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Dorota M. Gribbin, MD


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See some beautiful antique and classic cars and help fund cancer research. August 13 & 14

250 different cars each day. See our website for listings. 9am – 4pm Admission: $10 / $5 Seniors Free Parking

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