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SPRING 2020

The Warehouse: Home of a Design Icon


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Letter to our Community, In this unprecedented time, the security and comfort that our homes provide are so incredibly important. Our homes are our sanctuary! Over these past few weeks, we have all spent countless hours working from home, teaching and entertaining our children, caring and nurturing for each other, and, most importantly, spending quality time with our loved ones. Our homes do so much! For over twenty-five years, we have been enthralled with simple idea that good design can improve the way we live. We created Luxe Home Company because we obsess over this idea of home as an environment in which we can actually change the quality of our lives and change the way we use our rooms. We can be inspired to entertain more, have more family movie nights, enjoy a book quietly in our favorite reading nook, relax in our luxurious bedroom longer, and unwind with a glass of wine at the kitchen island, etc. And in times of uncertainty, we can count on our home to shelter and nurture our families. Good design is not just about looking better; it’s it about living better. We have always been grateful to have such wonderful clients. It is our pleasure to help our clients to design beautiful and functional spaces. We would love to help you too! Visit our website at luxehomecompany.com to see our local design projects for inspirations, soak in our design tips, learn about our methodical design process, and shop our thousands of products curated just for you. Visit @luxehomecompany on Facebook and Instagram. Sign up for our email and mailing list to receive design tips, design trends, and our own Interior Design Magazine featuring local projects and tips. We hope that we have reopened our store by the time you are reading this! If not, stay tuned on our website for ways that we can help you from the comfort of your own home. If we have reopened, please come visit our over 11,000 square feet locally owned store. It is designed to make the process of decorating and designing your home easy, fun, and stress-free. We have everything you need in one place - furniture, custom upholstery, lighting, rugs, art, decorative accessories, window treatments, etc. Browse and shop on your own or let one of our talented designers assist you in our store or in your home! We hope that you and your families have been safe and healthy and look forward to seeing you once again and to helping you to live better and beautifully. Best wishes, Luxe Home Company Team

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sPRING 2020 PUBLISHER J. Robert Hillier, Lh.D., FAIA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lynn Adams Smith OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Melissa Bilyeu ART DIRECTOR Jeffrey Edward Tryon GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Matthew DiFalco Derick Gonzalez PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew Wilkinson CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Laurie Pellichero Ilene Dube Donald Gilpin Wendy Greenberg Anne Levin Stuart Mitchner Taylor Smith ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Monica Sankey ACCOUNT MANAGERS Jennifer Covill Charles R. Plohn Joann Cella Kathy Gordon ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES 609.924.5400 Media Kit available on www.princetonmagazine.com SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION 609.924.5400 ext. 30 subscriptions@witherspoonmediagroup.com PRINCETON MAGAzINE Witherspoon Media Group 4438 Route 27 North Kingston, NJ 08528-0125 P: 609.924.5400 | F: 609.924.8818 princetonmagazine.com

Princeton Magazine is published 7 times a year with a circulation of 35,000. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files or reprints, please call 609.924.5400 or e-mail melissa.bilyeu@witherspoonmediagroup.com. ©2020 Witherspoon Media Group

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CONTENTS

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60

26

SPRING 2020

14

52 THE WAREHOUSE: HOME OF A DESIGN ICON

IS THERE A PATHWAY TO PREVENTION FOR FOOD ALLERGIES?

BY ANNE LEVIN 14

BY TAYLOR SMITH 42

RESTORING THE ECOSYSTEM ONE NATIVE GARDEN AT A TIME

“BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME”

BY ILENE DUBE

For newlyweds Caroline Cleaves and Sean Wilentz, there is a lot of common ground

Public and county parks, school gardens and municipalities, landscape architects and backyard gardeners are all reaping the benefits of planting native

BY WENDY GREENBERG

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BOOK SCENE BY STUART MITCHNER

Milkweed and monarchs: A spring garden of books 36

ON THE COVER: The late architect Michael Graves took a tumbledown building on Patton Avenue and restored it to a unique home and study center. (Photo courtesy of Michael Graves Architecture & Design)

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE SPRING 2020

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FASHION & DESIGN

A Well-Designed Life 60


CAPITAL HEALTH OB/GYN IS PLEASED TO WELCOME LAWRENCE OB/GYN ASSOCIATES (front, center) Sapna Balwani, MD; (second row, left to right) Paul Loeb, DO; Janet Budzynski, APN; (third row) Kitan Ellerson, CNM; Lynn Shinn, CNM; Daniel Small, MD; Audrey Tashjian, MD; (fourth row) Elizabeth Sandifer, CNM; Karen Leedom, MD; Kira Przybylko, MD; Natalia Miranda, MD (starting March 2020, Bordentown office only); (fifth row) Gwendolyn Grant, DO; William Stanell, MD; Leanne MIccio, CNM; (back row) Christine Beaghley, CNM; Steven Sussman, MD; Celina Hickson, CNM.

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| FROM THE PUBLISHER Welcome to your spring issue, though it might better be titled your coronavirus issue since you might well be reading it under the “house arrest” that we have all been struggling through. This has come on so fast and so dramatically that we had to make some last-minute changes in this issue since some of our stories were about upcoming events that have been canceled or postponed, like so much in our busy Princeton lives. Suddenly personal calendars are empty as we sit tight waiting for this pandemic to pass. The “See you soon” that used to finish emails has been replaced with “Stay well!” Frankly, we need the spring that this issue is about. For starters, Stuart Mitchner’s Book Scene is particularly beautiful and exciting with new books about spring wildflowers, artistic gardens, nature, garden design, and botanical fragrance. Of particular note is the reference to milkweed and its importance to the survival of the monarch butterfly. Stuart references the plant as part of D&R Greenway’s Poetry Trail, and, at the serious suggestion of the late Daniel Harris, we planted it at the Copperwood apartments on Bunn Drive. Ilene Dube’s in-depth article “Restoring the Ecosystem One Native Garden at a Time” is a fascinating study about returning to more natural and indigenous plants in our landscapes and gardens. The most prominent and publicly accessed example of this is the Betsey Stockton Garden atop the University’s Firestone Library along the Nassau Street face. You will also be fascinated by Betsey Stockton’s life story in going from being a slave in Richard Stockton’s family to an emancipated and prominent teacher in the Princeton community. Besides flowers and native plants, our food is also grown in gardens and fields. In her fascinating article, Taylor Smith plows deeply into food allergies and their hoped-for prevention. The fact that about 10 percent of our population suffers from food allergies will be stunning to you, and it is also interesting that so much of the development of allergies has to do with the chemical-heavy environment in which our foods are grown and, also, in which we live. Michael Graves’ The Warehouse, which graces this issue’s cover, provides a fascinating profile of one of the 20th century’s most prominent architects. As a fellow architect, I can relate to the journey of discovery, vision, realization, and then alteration that Michael experienced in transforming a “ruin” of a building, hidden in the center of a quiet Princeton block, into a handsome and livable work of art. Due to a longstanding Princeton University policy, as a faculty member Michael was not allowed to design a building on the campus. However, in his will, he donated The Warehouse to the University, only to have the offer rejected. Kean University, home of Michael Graves College, now owns the building. Read more about this fascinating piece of architecture in Anne Levin’s article, which is beautifully arranged by our art director, Jeffrey Tryon. Our “couples” story in this issue is about newlyweds Caroline Cleaves and Sean Wilentz. Caroline comes from a career in nonprofit management and fundraising and is now director of development for the Arts Council of Princeton and Sean is a professor of American history who has received many academic honors, plus two Grammy nominations. Go figure? Well, it turns out he is also an expert on

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE sPRING 2020

photography by jeffrey e. tryon

Dear Princeton Magazine readers,

Bob Dylan and has written the book, Bob Dylan in America. In fact, the title of the article, “Bringing It All Back Home,” is the name of one of Dylan’s albums. Wendy Greenberg’s story about their separate and now together lives in Princeton is a joy to read and you will be fascinated by the photography of Andrew Wilkinson, especially the opening photo, which is modeled after the album’s cover. Dylan was a lot sloppier than this very interesting couple. In closing, with the coronavirus upon us and with our concerns for what life will be like after it is over, I refer to a Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are A Changing.” Lynn Adams Smith and I hope you enjoy this issue of Princeton Magazine and that you will support our advertisers in these troublesome times. Stay well,

J. Robert Hillier, Lh.D., FAIA Publisher


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HOME OF A DESIGN ICON BY ANNE LEVIN | PHOTOS COURTESY OF MICHAEL GRAVES ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE SPRING 2020


O

ne evening in the mid-1970s, Michael Graves and his wife were taking an evening stroll through their Princeton neighborhood when they noticed a wreck of a building tucked back behind a row of houses on Patton Avenue. Being an architect, Graves was not put off by the tumbledown state of the place. Rather, Graves — who taught and worked in Princeton for nearly four decades and is considered one of the most influential architects of the 20th century — was intrigued. Dating from 1927, the sprawling, terracotta stucco building had once been a storage warehouse for Italian stonemasons who worked on Princeton University’s Neo-Gothic campus buildings. There were 44 storage rooms inside. A pile of trash filled the yard. “Basically, it was public mini-storage of the 1920s,” says Karen V. Nichols, a longtime principal with Michael Graves Architecture & Design and a close associate of the late architect, who died at the age of 80 in 2015. “It was an abandoned ruin when he saw it, but he saw possibilities.” Graves, who had studied at the American Academy in Rome and spent significant time traveling through Italy and Greece, recognized the Tuscan barn style of the old warehouse. He was enamored. “It was the light,” says Nichols. “It reminded him of the Tuscan landscape.” Graves purchased the property and named it The Warehouse. But he had to wait until a sewer moratorium was lifted before he could set about

restoring the main building. Once given the green light, he began work and moved in on his own (the marriage had ended). He set about removing the storage rooms, and added pieces of steel to reinforce the structure. Where a hand-cranked elevator once stood, he added a staircase. It was the beginning of a process that never really ended. “He had a very rigorous mind about how to organize space,” says Nichols. “He added light in strategic places. In some areas, he used pieces of glass from old greenhouses.” Reflecting on the process in a 2012 New Jersey Network video, Graves said, “It started out as a place to put my head down. Little by little, it got a life.” The Warehouse served not only as Graves’ home, but was also used by the architecture firm. “He lived here pretty much alone, but used it to entertain students, faculty, and potential clients,” said Nichols. “We had the annual picnic for people who worked at the office and their families, in the yard. There were some interesting stories about it over the years.” The architect always intended the building to serve as a place that reflected his style, his work, and his eclectic collections. Most significantly, he wanted it to be a place where others could learn. In his will, he donated three properties including The Warehouse to his former longtime employer, Princeton University. But the University turned down the gift. A statement at the time read, “We were grateful to be able to consider the possibility of accepting Michael Graves’ properties, but concluded that we could not meet the terms and conditions associated with the gift.”

SPRING 2020 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Michael Graves, Still Life 2.

It makes sense that the three buildings ended up going to Kean University. Late in his life, Graves had helped establish Michael Graves College for architecture and design at Kean, The Union-based university paid $20 for the property, which was appraised at the time for nearly $3.2 million. Upkeep was estimated to be between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, once retrofitting for student use was finished at about $300,000. Kean uses The Warehouse for meetings, dinners, and special events. It is also a site for research. “He always wanted it to be a study center,” says David Mohney, Kean’s dean of Michael Graves College. “I think he’d be delighted today to know it’s for the institution that bears his name.” The Warehouse occupies a flag-shaped, treelined lot. Visitors approach via a courtyard, passing through a rotunda as they enter the house. The living room and dining room follow, with service rooms on one side. Steel and glass doors open on the other side to a green space topped with wisteria that, like the building, recalls Graves’ affinity for Tuscany. A spinal cord infection in 2003 left Graves paralyzed from the waist down. Confined to a wheelchair, he had to adapt the house to his needs. “After the paralysis, Michael realized he had to do a lot to the house,” says Nichols. “He needed to add an elevator and a large shower. He had to get all the books off the floor. He removed a balustrade above the entrance. But the house has such good bones that he didn’t have that much to do to it.” Graves regarded The Warehouse as a kind of laboratory for experiments with domestic space. The two-story, light-filled

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE sPRING 2020

Michael Graves, Still Life 8.

library is filled with thousands of books. Architectural pieces are displayed on tables and in surprising nooks and insets. Examples of Roman antiquity and magnifying glasses with ivory handles share space with Biedermeier furnishings. Some pieces are valuable; others he purchased at flea markets. This mix of objects from different styles and periods appears very organized, while at the same time managing to incorporate the unexpected. Graves’ own work is displayed alongside pieces from his collections of furniture and design objects. He always painted, even as his architecture practice flourished, but more so after being confined to a wheelchair. His landscapes line the walls of one room and turn up elsewhere in the house. One of Nichols’ favorite stories dates back to about 1981, when Graves was first commissioned to design an addition to the Whitney Museum in New York. “Everyone else on the list had the interviews in their fancy apartments, but we had ours here,” she says. “It was a beautiful day. We threw open the doors and sat outside. I made a pasta primavera, I think. And then we just sat around, enjoying the talk and enjoying the day. It was very convivial. We got the job. And though it never got built, the commission was a turning point for the firm.” The Warehouse is considered a visual gallery of Graves’ ideas. While it is not a house museum, those interested can make an appointment to visit. “It is used mostly by students, which is very much the way Michael used it,” says Mohney. “It is pretty much intact from his life here. And that’s what he wanted.”


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1000 MORRIS AVENUE, UNION, NJ 07083 kean.edu/michaelgravescollege


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Michael Graves College at Kean University is committed to transforming architecture and design education by making it meaningful to the general public. Architecture and design are inherently Cooperation and collaboration in cross-disciplinary study

public and humanist arts. Yet the disciplines too often work independently and remotely from the public, particularly in education. At Kean, Michael Graves College works to close the distance between the people trained to enhance the public environment and those who use it.

Spring in Rome


Q&A with Stephen Fischer, President of Garden State Tile Interview by Laurie Pellichero

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Tell us about the history of Garden State Tile. Garden State Tile first opened its doors in New Jersey in 1957, where we have been family owned and operated since our inception. Since then we have expanded to 15 locations and 12 showrooms up and down the East Coast. In 2018 we officially brought our concierge design services and vast product selection to the Princeton community with the opening of our luxury Nassau street showroom.

innovative displays. Garden State Tile’s highly skilled design consultants are ready to assist you while managing every aspect of your purchase from selection to delivery. The showroom is also available to architectural and design professionals who are welcome to reserve our private meeting room with their clients for one-on-one consultations.

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE sPRING 2020

Where can readers see Garden State Tile collections installed locally? Our product lines can be found throughout the Princeton community, with some of our most recent installations including Kristine’s on Witherspoon Street and Tacoria on Nassau Street. Both of these projects represent our ability to work closely with our clients to convey a very specific design aesthetic through tile and stone. At Kristine’s, a beautiful Bianco Carrara fan mosaic reminiscent of what is found in traditional French bistros was carefully sourced to set the mood for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. At Tacoria, an encaustic-look porcelain was selected to mimic the appearance of traditional handcrafted tile in a more durable porcelain format that would hold up to the heavy foot traffic of the lunchtime rush. Additionally, our tile can also be found in many Princeton University buildings and Carnegie Center lobbies and offices, as well as notable retail locations like Hamilton Jewelers. What sets Garden State Tile apart? Just as important as the products are the people who stand behind them. Alongside our unmatched product selection, we promise to meet your tile and stone needs with reliability, accountability, and extraordinary service. Visit us to see why the homeowners, designers, architects, contractors, and the companies both large and small who have worked with us return again and again to Garden State Tile.

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Being named to Forbes’ 2020 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list is a testament to your experience, professionalism and dedication to your clients. Thank you for the work you do each day and for carrying forward the culture of excellence at our firm. Peter E. Black Executive Director Financial Advisor 1200 Lenox Drive, Suite 300 Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 609-844-7979 peter.e.black@morganstanley.com https://advisor.morganstanley.com/peter.e.black

Source: Forbes.com (January, 2020). Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings to evaluate each advisor qualitatively, a major component of a ranking algorithm that includes: client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research, LLC and not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC nor its Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors pay a fee to Forbes or SHOOK Research in exchange for the ranking. For more information: www.SHOOKresearch.com. © 2020 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

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RESTORING the ECOSYSTEM

One Native Garden at a Time Public and county parks, school gardens and municipalities, landscape architects and backyard gardeners are all reaping the beneďŹ ts of planting native

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SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

BY ILENE DUBE


F

Native plant garden at Princeton University.

rom language and literature to the culinary arts, influences from around the world add flavor to our lives. But when it comes to the plant kingdom, specimens from afar can wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Exotics, sometimes called non-native invasive species (although that term can take on a negative connotation), often outcompete native plants — plants that grew in the Americas before colonization. They can take over resources, proffering the wrong kind of food for the native wildlife. The case for native plants can be summed up in the words of environmental farmer Jake Fiennes (brother of actor Ralph Fiennes), who was recently profiled in The New Yorker: “How do we feed the nine billion?” he asks. “Through functioning ecosystems…cultivate as much on the land — fungi for the soil, grasses for the pollinators, weeds for the insects, insects for the birds…” Happily for the planet, landscape architects and horticulturists are increasingly populating public parks and spaces with native plants. Even New York’s Fresh Kills Park, built on the site of a former garbage dump, is being planted with natives. BETSEY STOCKTON GARDEN

With Betsey Stockton Garden, Princeton University has chosen to make a bold statement in support of native plants right alongside its main gates. The public pocket park was planted in September 2018, and its willowy grasses and flowering plants dancing in the winds are just coming into their prime. Princeton University Landscape Architect Devin Livi refers to the space as a “naturalized garden.” It actually serves as a green

roof for a 1971 underground addition to Princeton’s Firestone Library, according to Dan Casey of the University Architects office. Three feet of undulating soil covers the library roof, with Louise Nevelson’s sculpture Atmosphere and Environment X a centerpiece. That title is fitting for the public space as well, with Adirondack chairs that welcome visitors to sit and contemplate. At this mid-winter writing, the dried stems gave structure to the garden, allowing a visitor to experience the seasons — something a mown lawn would not do. The garden was named for Betsey Stockton (17981865) as part of a campus initiative to recognize and honor a more inclusive set of people who make up the University’s history. Sources suggest that Betsey Stockton was born into slavery in the Princeton household of Robert Stockton. While a young child, she was taken from her mother and placed in the Philadelphia household of Robert Stockton’s daughter Elizabeth and her husband, the Rev. Ashbel Green, a University president in the early 1800s. After her emancipation, Betsey Stockton became the first African American and first unmarried female missionary to Hawaii. She was also a prominent and respected educator in Philadelphia and Princeton, as well as a founder of the First Presbyterian Church of Colour of Princeton, now known as Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. A sign in the garden commemorates Stockton, and one can only imagine what she might think of this somewhat wild space, surrounded by glass skylights illuminating the library’s subterranean reading rooms. Livi admits he’s received phone calls asking about the “weeds.” Casey acknowledges the need for signage to educate visitors about the plantings. spring 2020 prinCETOn MAgAZinE

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Mercer County Park Commission

The low-maintenance garden, started from seed plugs, will require a once-a-year cutting, as well as monitoring and removing invasives. “It will keep changing and evolving,” says Livi. “Some plants will come into their own as others die off.” At the University’s Butler tract — formerly housing, bounded by Harrison Street, Hartley Avenue, and Sycamore Road — Livi’s crew has planted meadow mixes and native plants. “It’s been a great experiment, an opportunity to learn and a sustainable way to maintain the property,” he says. “We’ve been amazed at the insect life — lady bugs and praying mantises that eat the aphids.” For the foreseeable future, Casey says, the Butler tract will remain undeveloped. Livi is anticipating the arrival of pollinators to the Betsey Stockton Garden as the plants develop during the growing season. The sustainable plantings and amended soil at Betsey Stockton Garden also allow for better drainage and stormwater management. Throughout campus Livi is investigating habitats that are more sustainable than mown lawns. Betsey Stockton Garden was designed by Michael Luegering of Michael Van Valkenberg Associates, selected as Firm of the Year in 2016 by the American Society of Landscape Architects, with clients such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the landscape for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Hallmarks of MVVA design include curving paths and constructed hillocks. Plant selection was based on a combination of

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE SPRING 2020

practical measures and sensory experiences, says Luegering. “We started with a hearty base of grasses that had variegated root zones, some tap roots with clump forming habit, others with shallow root zones that are rhizomatous, meaning they ‘creep’ around the site. This helped ensure we could manage early weed growth by quickly covering open soil with the added effect of retaining soil moisture” and lessening the burden on water resources. “These grasses are often very beautiful in their own right,” Luegering continues. “Little bluestem turns a beautiful burgundy, almost blue, in the fall as it enters dormancy, while sideoats subtle seed hulls turn a bright red just around the time they release seed.” Accompanying the grasses are flowering annual and perennial plants that were selected for both their bloom time, bloom color, and height so that new drifts in the meadow would come alive throughout the year. The plugs used to create these drifts were laid out to guide the eye as you walk through the rolling hillocks. Deep shade and shadow patterns were addressed by “a second plant palette that is highly adapted to shade so as to ensure that similar colors and forms would be seen across the roof in both sun and shade,” says Luegering. MORVEN MUSEUM & GARDEN

On the other side of Nassau Street, Morven Museum & Garden is growing its native plantings. “The most concentrated group of natives are in the

Commodore’s (Robert Fields Stockton) glasshouse area,” says horticulturist Louise Senior. “The Commodore’s glasshouse area was where Morven’s owner in the 1850s built a heated greenhouse,” says co-horticulturist Charlie Thomforde. “It is now completely gone. Based on archaeology, the footprint of the building is outlined with brick.” “Last summer we planted it primarily with natives,” says Senior. “Within the footprint of the glasshouse is native pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens). It’s also called Allegheny spurge, and makes an interesting comparison to the widespread Asiatic and perhaps overused pachysandra we see throughout our region. It’s very deer and drought tolerant.” Among the other plantings are fall-blooming wood asters to attract late season pollinators. The low mounding groundcover is good in shady areas — “the white flowers gleam and light up shade,” says Senior. There are lady ferns, woodland phlox (a spring bloomer that adds a “splash of blue/ purple”), Virginia bluebells (a magnet for early spring butterflies; “bees like it too, but the tubular flower shape makes pollen difficult for the bees to access”), and mini Solidago, more commonly known as goldenrod, a “wonderful long blooming late summer/fall perennial that is not an allergen,” Senior clarifies. Other natives are intermixed with the perennial border along the brick wall, such as coneflowers and goldenrod. One might guess that in re-creating the Colonial


large landscape-scale native plant restoration projects,” says Hughes. “With the strong support of Mercer County voters, Mercer County’s dedicated Open Space Trust Fund is utilized to support high quality habitat restoration in a variety of locations throughout the county.” Among the projects is the Grassland Restoration at Mercer Meadows in Lawrence and Hopewell townships. “Over the past decade the Park Commission has converted 435 acres of land into regionally significant native grasslands, which host a variety of grassland breeding birds — one of the bird communities that is most imperiled in the United States,” says Hughes. “This winter, a prescriptive burn will take place in a portion of the area to reduce invasive shrubs and stimulate growth of more native grasses and wildflowers.” Other county restoration projects are at Fiddler’s Creek Preserve in Hopewell, Freshwater Tidal Wetland Restoration at Roebling Park in Hamilton, and Riparian Corridor Restorations at Moore’s Creek and along the Stony Brook in Rosedale Park in Hopewell. Mercer County Park Commission Executive Director Aaron T. Watson has adopted a “Do Not Plant List” directing land managers not to use invasive plant species in landscaping on county lands. And a county initiative is underway to help establish pollinator meadows and native landscapes on schoolyards and other public municipal lands.

“These projects help to connect large-scale parkland and open space and ensure that we can perform land restoration in all of Mercer County’s municipalities, even where we don’t own or manage parkland,” says Hughes. “Understanding that our wildlife species do not see or abide by political boundaries, we must look beyond our own county-owned parkland to meet our goal to protect pollinator species, migratory birds, and local wildlife that depend on our natural landscapes.” The County Open Space Trust Fund finances the installation of “pop-up” wildflower meadows on municipal land, resulting in the conversion of manicured lawn into a diverse native meadow. The first pop-up meadow is in Ewing Township, with others in the planning. “Our goal is to increase pollinator habitat, reduce the environmental costs of maintaining lawns, and educate the public on the benefits of natural meadows,” says Hughes. The Park Commission is also helping to establish Schoolyard Sanctuaries, giving technical support to school districts seeking habitat restoration on school grounds. While the European honeybee is commonly associated with crop pollination, it is the 4,000 native bee species that have the most significant impact. “Pollinating insects such as native bees and honeybees play vital roles in all of our ecosystems and in agriculture and food production, but their populations are decreasing at an alarming rate,” says Hughes. “Creating new habitat that provides pesticide-free pollinator food sources is a step we

American Persimmon

Beebalm

Morven in May Plant Sale

Purple Milkweed

Canada Lily

NPS Garden

gardens of the Stockton family at Morven, plantings might pre-date the arrival of exotics, but that’s not necessarily the case, says Senior. “Even ‘the Signer’ (Morven resident Richard Stockton, who signed the Declaration of Independence) brought plants home from England for his wife, poet Annis Boudinot Stockton,” she says. “Also, the continued use of the property, especially by the families of Robert Wood Johnson and the governors, led to a full re-landscaping. Helen Hamilton Shields Stockton also extensively re-landscaped. Though Helen told romanticized versions of how old plants were at Morven, I do not think we have any actual pre-1890s herbaceous plants.” MERCER COUNTY

Courtesy of sarah roberts and Larry KopLiK

Mercer County is working aggressively to restore native landscapes to benefit both people and wildlife, according to the office of County Executive Brian M. Hughes. This includes practicing good stewardship and native landscaping on county-owned lands to supporting municipal partners and training Mercer County residents on how to establish wildlife-friendly landscapes at home. “With more than 10,000 acres of open space and parkland under our care, Mercer County and the Mercer County Park Commission are uniquely positioned to implement

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COURTESY OF SARAH ROBERTS AND LARRY KOPLIK

Sarah Roberts

Larry Koplik, standing next to a tall grove of New York Ironweed.

New York Ironweed flowers.

can take at the local level to promote the county’s long-term prosperity and sustainability.” According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, 165 insects are critically imperiled and up to 29,000 are at risk in the U.S. due to habitat loss, overuse of chemical pollutants, and displacement by non-native species. In addition to creating more pollinator habitat throughout the county, wildflower meadows decrease landscape and site maintenance time and costs. Replacing lawn with meadow reduces the need for regular mowing, thereby decreasing the emissions produced. It also eliminates fertilizer use, and drastically reduces the amount of chemicals applied to typical lawns.

pollinators, mammals, and other wildlife, while providing an enhanced experience for hikers, runners, bicyclists, birdwatchers, and other park users. Planting is expected to begin in spring.

hornbeam and hop hornbeam, tulip trees, fringe tree, sycamore, river birch, sweet gum, and white pine and Virginia pine. “All are native, though some have non-native relatives with the same name,” says Roberts. Roberts deserves the sobriquet “The Woman Who Planted Trees.” She recently scattered native flower seeds in the woods and stream corridor that she takes care of in front of Village School in Skillman Park, and she plants milkweed in front of Montgomery’s Municipal Building to provide food for monarch butterflies. “Some of my favorite plants are pawpaw and persimmon trees,” she says. “I also love Virginia bluebells, mayapples, trout lilies, spring beauties, violets, golden ragwort, golden alexanders, and native wild geranium, which bloom at the same time and look lovely together.” Native plant names flow from her lips like honey from the hive: Canada lilies and Turk’s cap lilies, wild senna, goldenrod, Physostegia virginiana, swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, purple milkweed, and Joe Pye weed. The payoff? “We’ve seen some hummingbirds at the Canada lilies, and lots of tiger swallowtails at the Joe Pye weed,” says Roberts. “The mountain mint is just covered with bees when it blooms, and the Physostegia has bees crawling into its flowers. We have hummingbird moths, too, and butterflies, moths, spiders, and beetles. We have a good-sized vernal pool in our backyard, which is filled with many varieties of frogs and some salamanders, and sometimes we get great blue herons and green herons hunting them. Several years in a row we have had a mourning dove nesting on the pergola on our deck.”

MOUNTAIN LAKES NATURE PRESERVE

In Princeton’s Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) is restoring a degraded woodlands area with native plants. “The pressures posed by the overabundance of white-tailed deer is a driving force behind forest degradation in our area,” says the FOPOS website. “Large herd sizes combined with limited foraging habitat has led to severe over-browse of native tree saplings, ultimately hindering forest regeneration.” A fenced deer enclosure area serves as a conservation zone and native plant nursery that offers refuge to threatened plant species, produces seed for native plant propagation, restores the soil seed bank, and secures the future tree canopy by protecting native tree seedlings. The restored site will provide habitat for birds,

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE SPRING 2020

NATIVE PLANTS OFFER BENEFITS TO HUMANS, TOO

Ah, to have a lush native plant garden just outside the window, a la Dutch landscape artist Piet Oudolf, whose gardens at the High Line in New York City are based on the wild plants that once grew on the former rail bed. But while inspired by natural landscapes, Oudolf’s gardens bend the strictest of native plant gardening rules. Sarah Roberts, along with her husband Larry Koplik, began planting natives on their Montgomery property after reading Leslie Sauer’s The Once and Future Forest. Sauer recommended taking an inventory of plants in a forest by following a straight line and recording everything you find, recounts Roberts. “I went out to our three acres of woods with a clipboard and wrote down the species and size category of each tree on a straight line, and noticed that half were ash trees, many were dead or declining, and most of the seedlings were also ash. I realized that, at this rate, we’d soon run out of trees, so I determined to plant a wide variety of trees. I’d been reading that native plants were good for wildlife, so I only planted native trees.” Roberts and Koplik planted persimmon trees, pawpaws, white oaks and swamp white oaks, pin oaks, red oaks, scarlet oak, willow oaks, shagbark hickories, tupelos, sassafras, basswood, American


This keeper of the earth gives away pawpaw trees “free to a good home” that she grows from seed. “Pawpaw trees are native to New Jersey, and threatened in the wild, though they grow well in people’s yards. They bear the largest fruit native to North America, which is delicious, and they’re somewhat deer-resistant. They are also host to the beautiful zebra swallowtail butterfly, which is extinct in New Jersey. For all these reasons I would like to re-populate New Jersey with pawpaw trees — to bring back an endangered native tree, to provide fresh fruit, for landscaping, and, if we plant enough pawpaw trees, we can bring back the butterfly, which is found in other states.” sOUrCes FOr NaTIVe PLaNTs: Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, New Hope, Pa; bhwp.org D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton; drgreenway.org Gino’s Nursery, Newtown, Pa; ginosnursery.com Mercer County Seedling Sale; mercercountycd.com Morven In May Plant Sale, Princeton; morven.org Toadshade Wildflower Farm; toadshade.com Wild Ridge Plants; wildridgeplants.com

addITIONaL resOUrCes: Friends of Princeton Open Space Forest Restoration Project; fopos.org Native Plant Society of New Jersey; npsnj.org New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Stationl; njaes.rutgers.edu (Check websites for hours and availability.)

NaTIVe PLaNTs FeaTUred IN The BeTsey sTOCkTON GardeN (sOme are Used ON The hIGh LINe as weLL.) Grasses:

Carex comosa, Appalachian Sedge Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge Festuca ovina, Sheep's Fescue Festuca rubra, Creeping Red Fescue Sporobolus heterolepis, Prarie Dropseed Elymus virginicus, Virginia Wild Rye Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem Tridens flavus, Purple Top FULL-sUN PLaNTs:

Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed Aster laevis, Smooth Blue Aster Aster pilosus, Heath Aster Baptisia alba, White Wild Indigo Baptisia perfoliata, Catbells Centaurea cyanus, Cornflower Chamacaesta fasciculata, Partridge Pea Coreopsis lancelota, Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Echinacea pallida, Pale Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower Monarda fistulosa, Wild Bergamot Penstemon digitalis, Beard Tongue Rudbeckia hirta, Blackeyed Susan Solidago juncea, Early Goldenrod shade PLaNTs:

Aqueligia canadensis, Wild Columbine Aster laevis, Smooth Blue Aster Blephilia ciliata, Downy Wood Mint Erigeron puchellus, Robin’s Plantain Eurybia divaricata, White Wood Aster Polemonium reptans, Jacob’s Ladder Sisyrinchium angustifolium, Narrow Leafed Blue-Eyed Grass Solidago caesia, Blue-stem Goldenrod Solidago flexicaulis, Zig-Zag Goldenrod

Help Us Help Our Community Contribute to the Princeton Area Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund The Princeton Area Community Foundation and a coalition of funders have united to support nonprofits serving the most vulnerable residents in the Greater Mercer County region.

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| BOOK SCENE

Milkweed and Monarchs: A Spring Garden of Books BY STUART MITCHNER

O

nce upon a time I asked the owner of a second-hand bookstore, who sold vegetables from his garden there, how he disposed of the moldering throwaways on his back porch, this being years before books could be recycled. “Fertilizer,” said he. “Mulch for the veggies.” Glimpsing some trashed volumes of Shakespeare in the pile, I imagined eating tomatoes and cucumbers grown in Bardic book mulch, organic ingredients for a literary salad to serve on the side with shepherd’s pie. The connection came to mind when I saw Roy Strong’s The Quest for Shakespeare’s Garden (Thames and Hudson $19.95) among the new books on flowers and plants previewed here. I also found the flavor of the idea in Publishers Weekly’s observation that Sir Roy, a museum curator, writer, broadcaster, and landscape designer, “spills stories as if seated by a fireplace after a banquet” in prose that “layers fine, formal English over the crisp, juicy histories that he’s expertly researched.” TWAIN AT WAVE HILL

Of the volumes pictured in this spring Book Scene, the one with the cover I found most intriguing is Nature Into Art: The Gardens at Wave Hill (Timber Press $40) by Thomas Christopher. I like the way the poetry of the view across the Hudson to the Palisades coalesces with the poetry implicit in the name of a country estate called Wave Hill. You can figuratively “get into” Ngoc Minh Ngo’s photograph, gazing at the distant vista as you stand knee-deep in the lushness of the garden. But what really makes the place come to life is imagining yourself in the company of the white-suited, white-mustached, white-maned literary legend who once lived here and walked here and admired the same view. Perhaps aware that his introduction could use a celebrity boost, Christopher livens things up with a quote from Mark Twain, who resided

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE SPRING 2020

at Wave Hill from 1901 to 1903: “I believe we have the noblest roaring blasts [of wind] here I have ever known on land. They sing their hoarse song through the treetops with a splendid energy that thrills me and uplifts me and makes me want to live always.” Not only did the author of Huckleberry Finn ride out some windy winters here, he hosted tea parties in a treehouse on the back lawn. While I can imagine sharing tea or some stronger brew (and possibly a game of billiards) with Twain, the thought of garden stroll, not to mention taking tea in the tree house, with other celebrated Wave Hill residents like Arturo Toscanini, Queen Elizabeth, and Teddy Roosevelt is a challenge. As it happens, the 26th president is quoted up front in Douglas W. Tallamy’s Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard (Timber Press $29.95), which shows how homeowners can turn their yards into “conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats.” Tallamy’s introduction begins: “In 1903, with the state of Arizona on the verge of mining the Grand Canyon, President Theodore Roosevelt stood on the canyon’s lip, gazed out over its unique magnificence, and uttered the five words that would save it: ‘Leave it as it is.’” MONARCHS AND MILKWEED

Recalling pleasant walks in the word garden of D&R Greenway’s Poetry Trail off Rosedale Road in Princeton, where milkweed has been successfully cultivated to attract monarch butterflies, I was curious to see what Ken Druse has to say about Asclepias syriaca, “the common milkweed,” in The Scentual Garden: Exploring the World of Botanical Fragrance (Abrams $50). First, there’s nothing “common” about Ellen Hovercamp’s magnificent full-page photograph except the standard wording of a caption noting that “this easy-to-grow wildflower is threatened because of habitat loss.” A smaller photograph of a monarch alighting on a swamp


milkweed underscores its dependence on plants like those seen along the Poetry Trail. In the entry on Asclepias syriaca, Druse apologizes, in effect, for “unfortunate names” like butterfly weed and milkweed, in case they might “keep anyone from growing these fascinating plants,” which smell “thick and rich with honey, if a bit musty with lily, winter jasmine, powder, and indole.” Being more or less botanically illiterate, I had no idea what to make of the word “indole,” which is listed as the plant’s “primary scent.” In Druse’s detailed account of “Indolic Plants,” he begins by confessing that with “some heavy-scented plants,” he can’t “smell the good for the bad.” The olfactory plot thickens when he refers to “a certain chemical compound ... sometimes detected in mothballs or what some men may remember as publicbathroom urinal deodorizer cakes.” The scent can also be found in “the musk of human intimacy,” and “if you are smelling something a bit overripe ... and with a strange sweetness, it could be indole.” At this point Druse thoughtfully encourages us not to feel left out if we “find this discussion a little icky.” Things take a slightly erotic turn when Druse adds the “almost narcotic scent” of the winter jasmine species to the indole mix, pointing out that it was “the flower of prostitutes, and stayed that way until the free-spirited 1920s,” a decade that coincides with the introduction of Chanel No. 5. HOVERKAMP’S ART

Since so much of the excitement in The Scentual Garden is show-stealingly visual, thanks to Ellen Hovercamp’s masterful botanical photographs, I checked out Kristen Green’s online Fine Gardening article, “Connecticut Photographer Turns Plant Clippings Into Art.” Using a flatbed scanner with the

lid off in a darkened room, Hoverkamp focuses on “the gesture and behavior of the plant” with the blossom as “the focal point,” carefully arranging “each element of the composition face down on the glass” while making “many passes with the scanner to evaluate and adjust the composition,” a process that “can take one to two hours of painstaking attention to details, followed by another two to three hours retouching the final image.” Hoverkamp is able to achieve, in Green’s words, “the immediacy of a plein air painting” by attention to “a three-dimensionality that powerfully engages the viewer.” Her mission is to create a “level of impact” necessary to “make someone stop and remember that despite all, nature’s beauty also grows and awaits our attention and care.” “A PARADISE GARDEN”

Apparently the team of Druse and Hoverkamp has created “a level of impact” at the expense of space I might have given to volumes as attractive as Chasing Eden: Design Inspiration from the Gardens at Hortulus Farm (Timber Press $35) by Jack Staub and Renny Reynolds, with photographs by Rob Cardillo. According to Anna Pavord, author of The Curious Gardener and Landskipping, “Vision, tenacity, and a perfectionist’s eye are the qualities that shine out from this account of a paradise garden created by two of America’s foremost stylists.” Other books in this season’s crop include Carl Dellatore’s Garden Design Master Class (Rizzoli $60), set for mid-April publication. Due at the end of that month is a new paperback edition of Carol Gracie’s acclaimed Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History (Princeton Univ. Press $35), with a foreword by Eric Lamont.

SPRING 2020 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Is There a Pathway to Prevention for Food Allergies?

F

ood allergies, intolerances, and even sensitivities in children seem to be ubiquitous in 2020. Whether it’s a life-threatening allergy to peanuts or a less-critical sensitivity towards eggs that inevitably ends in a stomachache, modern-day parents need to be more informed than ever when it comes to recipes, nutrition, ingredient lists, environmental influences, and medical options. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa.org), the symptoms of an allergic reaction include stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy, runny nose, itching in ears/roof of mouth, watery eyes, hives, rash, asthma symptoms, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. A life-threatening allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, which can result in difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, fainting, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds of exposure or 1-2 hours later. Young children with severe food allergies may not be able to accurately describe what they’re experiencing and may instead show signs of turning blue; swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat; and dizziness. Parents should immediately call 911 for emergency medical help. Both the child and caregivers need to have an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector with them at all times for such emergencies. Food allergies occur when a child’s immune system reacts to certain proteins found in

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food (mayoclinic.org). In most cases, reactions can be caused by even a small amount of a particular food, residue from that food (i.e. exposure), or a form of cross-contact (such as when a gluten-free product is prepared in the same pots and pans as food that does contain gluten). These factors can make it particularly difficult for families who want to keep their child safe, but also want to vacation, dine out, and send their child to summer camp. The experience of suffering a life-threatening food reaction can be traumatizing, especially for young children and teens. That is why it is recommended that parents, teachers, friends, and families are informed as to the best treatment options. By contrast, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (aaaai. org), a food intolerance is not an immune response and is generally much less severe than a food allergy. Symptoms of food intolerance often include nausea, stomach pain, gas, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, skin redness/appearing flushed, runny nose, and/or indigestion. Clearly, if your child or teen experiences negative physical symptoms as a result of consuming dairy, elimination, at least for a period of time, is often a good course of action. COMMON CULPRITS

Dr. Pete Pellegrino of Princeton Nassau Pediatrics explains that the most common food allergy culprits for young children are peanuts, tree

nuts, fish, egg, cow’s milk, soy, wheat, and shellfish. Interestingly, children who are allergic to one substance are more likely to have other forms of allergy as well. Another high-risk indicator of food, chemical, and environmental sensitivities is mild to moderate eczema. The link between childhood eczema and food allergies is well-documented according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (acaai. org), which states, “Eczema most commonly shows up before the age of 5, but adolescents and adults can also develop the condition. About 60 percent of patients will experience eczema symptoms by age 1, and another 30 percent will experience symptoms by age 5. Children born into families that have a history of allergic diseases such as asthma or hay fever are at an increased risk for eczema.” Children suffering from eczema will likely experience multiple food and environmental sensitivities because they essentially have a compromised skin barrier. Allergy testing and preventative measures can treat milder cases, but eczema flare-ups can easily occur due to illness (a generally weakened immune system), detergents, soaps, cold air, dry air, fragranced products (like scented candles), compromised sleep, and stress. If you suspect your infant or child would benefit from allergy testing, the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has one of the largest and most accomplished teams of pediatric food experts in the world. CHOP regularly treats egg allergies, milk allergies, peanut allergies, soy allergies, wheat allergy, food intolerance, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), IgE-mediated food allergies, and eosinophilic esophagitis. The team is

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

BY TAYLOR SMITH


photos courtesy of shutterstock.com

led by Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD; Terri F. Brown-Whitehorn, MD; and Megan O. Lewis, MSN, CRNP. Working with a multidisciplinary team, CHOP aims to provide parents and children with diagnosis, second opinions, and customized treatment options. Significantly, CHOP’s Food Allergy Center was one of the research sites used to test and develop the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved Palforzia. Intended for patients ages 4 through 17 with a confirmed diagnosis of a peanut allergy, Palforzia is an oral immunotherapy of very, very small dosages of peanut allergen powder. The goal is to desensitize children and teens with peanut allergies, in a controlled manner, over time. Once a certain level of tolerance is established, patients and families will be provided with a maintenance plan that may include consuming two peanut M&M’s per day or the equivalent. Over time, CHOP’s research showed that children can indeed experience a reduction in the severity of peanut allergies without the consequence of a life-threatening reaction. As reported by CHOP News at Chop.edu, “Oral immunotherapy is just one type of allergy treatment researchers at the Allergy Program at CHOP are studying. Designated as a Frontier Program in 2018, the Allergy Program at CHOP is also testing skin patches that could desensitize children with peanut and milk allergies. The FDA is expected to review these

treatments later this year.” (“FDA Approves Breakthrough Treatment for Peanut Allergies,” Jan. 31, 2020.) EARLY INTRODUCTION

In 2019, the UK’s Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study indicated that “early introduction of allergenic foods did protect against food allergy for some children at high risk. Early introduction and exclusive breastfeeding were compared in babies who were already sensitized at age 3 months to one or more of the six foods featured in the study (milk, peanut, egg, sesame, fish, and wheat). Being sensitized meant that these babies were at higher risk of developing a food allergy because blood tests showed that they were already making allergyrelated IgE antibodies to at least one of the six foods.” Notably, early introduction of both peanuts and eggs lowered the risk of developing these allergies in babies sensitized to peanuts and eggs. Parents should consult their pediatrician in regards to guidance on early introduction of allergenic foods. For example, depending on whether an infant is considered low risk or high risk, early introduction of certain foods is generally encouraged. For more tips on how families can adapt and best care for a child with food allergies, FARE (foodallergy.org) is a great resource. FARE is the largest private funder of food allergy research, promoting the development of new therapies and offering hope for effective

treatments. FARE estimates that 32 million Americans currently live with potentially life-threatening food allergies and that every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. The FARE Clinical Trial Finder, launched in July 2018, helps people “find relevant clinical trials that are currently recruiting or preparing to recruit patients with food allergy or healthy volunteers who do not have food allergies,” as noted at foodallergy.org/resources/clinical-trials. The purpose of a clinical trial is to pinpoint the most effective treatment for a specific disease/condition. Clinical trials are an integral step on the pathway towards the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process. Participation in human clinical studies is available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Food allergy patients may elect to participate in these trials in order to be on the cutting-edge of clinical therapies. Patients will be asked to complete a series of surveys sharing their experiences with the medical community, hopefully lending greater insight to researchers worldwide. WHOLE BODY APPROACH

Aly Cohen, MD, FACR, is triple board certified in internal medicine, rheumatology, and integrative medicine. She is also a trained specialist in

32 million AmericAns hAve food Allergies

researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. That’s one in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. Between 1997 and 2008, the prevalence of peanut or tree nut allergy appears to have more than tripled in U.s. children.

About 40 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. The Centers for Disease Control & prevention reports that the prevalence of food allergy in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. (foodallergy.org)

(foodallergy.org)

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

During allergy skin tests, your skin is exposed to suspected allergy-causing substances (allergens) and is then observed for signs of an allergic reaction. Along with your medical history, allergy tests may be able to confirm whether or not a particular substance you touch, breathe, or eat is causing symptoms. (Mayo Clinic)

environmental health and frequently lectures on the subject at New Jersey hospitals, elementary schools, high schools, and universities. The impact of environmental chemicals on the human nervous, immune, and endocrine systems is of particular importance to Dr. Cohen, who works with patients in her Princeton office to identify and implement both conventional and alternative therapies. This whole body approach entails examining nutrition, household chemicals, air filtration, sleeping habits, lifestyle, genetics, and habitual stressors. Dr. Cohen believes that genetics and the environment are both significant factors as to whether or not a child suffers from food allergies.

chronic illness into their own hands. According to Dr. Cohen, increased exposure to toxic chemicals within our environment is leading to greater rates of both allergies and chronic illness. Factors like contaminated drinking water, abrasive household cleaning products, air pollution, air fresheners, hairspray, shampoos, and beauty products serve as irritants for a host of allergy-

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

In her recent text, Integrative Environmental Medicine, Dr. Cohen details how families can reduce their habitual exposure to chemicals, many of which, are linked to “everything from type 2 diabetes, obesity, thyroid disease, asthma, allergy, autoimmune disease,” and more. This work is a literary extension of The Smart Human LLC (thesmarthuman.com), a company she founded in 2013 that “seeks to educate, coach, and empower everyday people to make safer, smarter choices for human health.” As indicated on The Smart Human’s website, “There are over 90,000 chemicals currently registered and available for commercial use in the United States … to make all kinds of things like plastics, cosmetics, food additives and preservatives, computers, fabrics, toys, furniture, cars, etc. Known as ‘EDCs,’ these endocrine disrupting chemicals can antagonize the body’s entire system through allergies, sleep disruption, hormone imbalance, sugar regulation, anxiety, and inflammation. “ Slated to be released this year, Dr. Cohen’s new book, Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World, seeks to educate the general public on how they can take matters related to allergies and

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related illnesses. One simple way to improve these matters is to remove synthetic/chemical products from the home. Also helpful are changing the filters on your HVAC system regularly and vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum to remove dust and pesticides from the furniture. So, what role does geography play in the rise of childhood allergies? While peanut and shellfish allergies are generally prevalent everywhere,

children in urban areas are increasingly challenged by environmental factors related to high population densities, such as diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, ozone, and NO2 (a gaseous air pollutant composed of nitrogen and oxygen). The article “Geographic Variability of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States,” published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics (Volume 51, Issue 9), notes that repeated exposure to these conditions increases the risk of developing asthma and allergies. According to NJ.gov, “All of New Jersey’s 8 million residents are breathing in unhealthy amounts of ozone pollution at some point during the summer. Approximately 620,000 N.J. residents have been diagnosed with asthma, which can make them more sensitive to air pollution. In general, children and the elderly are more sensitive to air pollution.” The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers programs aimed at cleaningup the state’s air. It is recommended that families and sensitive groups monitor air pollution levels in their town by checking the Air Quality Index (AQI ) or calling 800.782.0160. The five pollutants used in the AQI are: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, groundlevel ozone, particulates, and sulfur dioxide. The American Lung Association in New Jersey (lung.org) actively works to protect the quality of the air that New Jersey residents breathe. This includes keeping children off tobacco, helping people to quit smoking, and making strides to reduce the concentration of soot and general pollution in our backyards. As recently as 2017, PSEG closed its two coal-burning power plants in New Jersey. The Hamilton and Jersey City plants were sold to a Chicago-based developer with the intention of transforming the sprawling industrial sites into “state-of-the-art industrial parks to serve the growing need for regional warehouse-distribution hubs in central and Northern New Jersey.” (“PSEG Sells Defunct Coal Plants in Jersey City and Hamilton for Redevelopment,” NJspotlight.com). PSEG has also sold its interest in two coal-fired plants in Pennsylvania and appears to be moving to be moving towards cleaner energy initiatives, such as off-shore wind and solar energy. Orsted, the world leader in offshore wind development (orsted.com/en), is currently working with PSEG to operate New Jersey’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm known as Ocean Wind (oceanwind. com). Located 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, Ocean Wind is intended to produce 1,100MW of electricity and reliable energy and is expected to be fully operational by 2024. Although food and environmental allergies are more prevalent, families should take heart that food labels are becoming more transparent, and that access to public information on safety precautions, air quality and water alerts, medical services, and allergen-free options is finally becoming mainstream. Epinephrine auto-injector. Epinephrine is a life-saving drug that treats the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction by stopping the airway from swelling. (healthychildren.org)


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Q&A with Dr. Eric Bosworth, President of RAI Interview by Laurie Pellichero

RAI is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. What is the history of the company, and its mission? RAI, formerly known as Radiology Affiliates of Central New Jersey, is one of the largest and most reputable medical diagnostic imaging centers in the region. Our physicians are board certified with subspecialties in neuroradiology, musculoskeletal, pediatrics, and women’s diagnostic imaging. We started at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, where we provided the first CT scan in the region. Providing services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Langhorne, Pa., and RWJ Hamilton enabled RAI to be at the forefront of the advanced imaging technology we have today. We opened our first outpatient office on West State Street in Trenton in 1975, and then moved into Hamilton on Kuser Road, where we became a trusted fixture in the community. In 2002, we opened our Lawrenceville location. Windsor Radiology opened its doors in 2005. In July 2017, the board of directors of Radiology Affiliates Imaging (RAI) and Radiological Consultants Inc. merged their professional practices. In June of last year, we formed a practice partnership with Radiology Partners, the largest physician-led and physician-owned radiology practice in the United States, to better serve our patients and doctors with the absolute latest in technology and services. RAI is dedicated to providing superior, integrated management and radiology imaging support services to the medical practices that we serve for the purpose of providing optimal patient care. We place quality and value first in all that we do. What medical services does your practice provide to the community? RAI has more than 55 radiologists who trained at the nation’s top institutions. We integrate the newest technology, trends, and professional guidelines with the trusted care and service our patients have relied on for the last 50 years. Our practice serves three convenient offices in Lawrenceville, Hamilton, and East Windsor that provide diagnostic and screening services, including MRI, Low Dose CT, Digital X-Ray, 3D Mammography, DEXA, and Ultrasound. RAI also provides radiology services for 11 hospitals that are located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and other outpatient imaging centers. In addition to our dedication to patient care, we are also very active members of our local community, supporting local schools, churches, and many organizations. What have been RAI’s most significant achievements during the past half century? As a visionary leader in diagnostic medical imaging, RAI is proud to have been the first in Mercer County to introduce many life-saving

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radiology advancements, such as Digital Mammogram with CAD, 3T MRI Technology, Reduced Radiation CT, Reduced Radiation Digital X-Ray, Breast MRI, and 3D Mammography. Our demonstrated commitment to elevating the level of care available close to patients’ homes remains as strong as ever. What sets RAI apart? The quality of our imaging, the level of our physicians, and providing a pleasant setting for our patients. We do our best to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. The patient experience is a focus for RAI — including our unique, soothing décor. The suite for Women’s Imaging provides a variety of teas and coffees to help our patients relax. Our MRI and CT suite offers a visual therapy experience — our sky ceiling brings the outside in, providing an additional level of stress reduction. Where do you see the future taking RAI in the next 50 years? Continuing with our longstanding traditions, RAI will strive to provide the most up-to-date imaging technology and highest level of quality and service to our patients. One area where we closely monitor innovations is artificial intelligence (AI), which is still in the early stages of use and development. As the technology matures, it will continue to enhance the radiologists’ reading capabilities, help us to obtain better patient histories, and automate our processes. By staying at the forefront, RAI capitalizes on these kinds of advancements before other groups. For example, RAI will soon implement a new technology that will facilitate workflow best practices, enabling out radiologists to make recommendations that will lead to better patient outcomes. We will help all of the medical professionals with whom we work to improve the quality and value of the care that we provide for the community. RAI – Hamilton (Partnership with CHAI) 2501 Kuser Road, Hamilton Township 609.585.8800; 4rai.com RAI – Lawrenceville 3120 Princeton Pike, Lawrence Township 609.585.8800; 4rai.com Windsor Radiology (Partnership with Princeton Radiology) 300A Princeton-Hightstown Road, Suite 101 East Windsor; 609.426.9211; windsorradiology.com


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“Bringing It All Back Home” For newlyweds Caroline Cleaves and Sean Wilentz, there is a lot of common ground By Wendy Greenberg Photography by Andrew Wilkinson

Caroline Cleaves and Sean Wilentz re-create the cover of Bob Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home" at their home on Edgehill Street. SPRING 2020 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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S

he is more or less locally-focused these days, working to expand the arts throughout the Princeton community. He has been involved in national political debates and campaigns and is widely known for his writings on U.S. history, from the American Revolution through the 20th century. But like a Venn diagram with overlapping circles, their lives merge on Edgehill Street, where Caroline Cleaves, director of development at the Arts Council of Princeton, and Sean Wilentz, who holds the title of George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University, have forged a new life together. On a rainy day, with the fireplace warming the living room of the 1925 house, surrounded by art, books, and a few musical instruments played by Cleaves’ two children, Sam, a sophomore in high school, and Ava, a middle schooler, they talked about their uncommon lives and common ground. Wilentz and Cleaves, who were introduced by a mutual friend, have in common a passion for Princeton. Cleaves had lived with her children in Great Britain, in Warwickshire, near Stratfordupon-Avon. “Think lots of sheep, a vicar, and horses passing up and down our narrow village street all day,” she said. She moved back to Princeton several years ago to care for her mother, social activist and psychologist Pat Connors, who died in 2016. Having come of age herself in Princeton, she felt it was the place to continue raising her own children, where they can ride bikes to the library

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE sPRING 2020

or volunteer at Marquand Park. Cleaves herself often rides a bike to work, and Wilentz often walks. Edgehill, the historic street that connects Stockton and Mercer streets, served as the site of a block party when Wilentz and Cleaves were married last September. The narrow passage overflowed with some 250 guests, a bluegrass band, and barbecue. Even Bill and Hillary Clinton sent a congratulatory letter, which is propped up in the living room. “Having lived in Washington, Cambridge, San Francisco, London — so many places — it dawned on me that Princeton was the ideal place I wanted to raise my kids,” Cleaves says. “It’s open, heterogenous — who says you can’t go home again?” As a single parent in Princeton for several years, she realized her children can be more independent in the town — “free-range,” as she put it. She remembers taking painting classes as a teen with her father through the Arts Council. She calls herself an amateur artist, and stone carver, which happens in the backyard. She takes classes at the Arts Council and continues to paint. After graduating from Princeton High School, Cleaves earned a degree in anthropology from Smith College, and a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from University of Chicago. (Both Cleaves and Wilentz are members of Phi Beta Kappa.) Cleaves spent three years doing fieldwork in the Philippines as a Fulbright Fellow. Upon her return to Princeton, Cleaves

embarked on a new chapter in her life in nonprofit management and fundraising. She volunteered for Princeton Community Housing, and worked in development with The Petey Greene Program, Rider University, and Grounds For Sculpture, where she was manager for institutional giving. She consulted for the Arts Council, where she was named director of development earlier this year. “Both the board and the staff have been impressed with Caroline’s perspectives, work ethic, wit, and her knowledge of the development field. Everyone’s excited to have her join the team,” said Jim Levine, Arts Council interim executive director, in announcing her position. Cleaves, 55, ran last year’s successful Princeton Council campaign for Michelle Pirone Lambros. The candidate’s platform resonated with Cleaves. “The more I worked with Michelle, the more I appreciated how important other sectors of the town, such as the business community, and the University, were to the overall health of the town, both economically, and socio-economically. I grew up in a Princeton where our municipal workers, teachers, and shop owners all lived here and could afford to live here. That’s no longer the case.” “One of the reasons I’m so passionate about the Arts Council is there’s a commitment to equity and access for everyone,” says Cleaves. “The sheer number of free outreach programs we offer to children and seniors in subsidized housing and to the subsidized nursery school is so impressive. We offer over $20,000 in scholarships each year


so that no one gets turned away from our classes and summer camps.” Wilentz, 69, who grew up in New York where his father and uncle owned a bookstore, earned degrees at Columbia, Oxford, and Yale before landing at Princeton in 1979 as an assistant professor. He lived in several Princeton homes while raising his family, and returned to Princeton after briefly living in New York, where he has a daughter who is an editor. He also has a son and daughter-in-law living in Rome. His interests are reflected in his Dickinson Hall campus office. Joining a wall of books, renderings of historical figures, and “second favorite” reading chair, is a mounted harpoon under a framed, original poster of the John Huston movie, Moby Dick, and a photo of civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, who wrote a personal message. Wilentz has written numerous books, among them The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, which was awarded the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974– 2008, and wrote about the failures of the Bush administration for Rolling Stone. An expert on Bob Dylan, he has received two Grammy Award nominations for his writing on music and authored the New York Times best-seller Bob Dylan in America. (“We have cartons upstairs, some in Danish,” noted Cleaves.)

With a group of fellow historians, Wilentz has recently taken on the New York Times’ 1619 project to ensure that the enormous role slavery played in American history is accurately portrayed. He quips that he “does a lot of shooting my mouth off.” His activism is well known in the Princeton community. He led 2,100 historians in signing a letter regarding President Trump’s

impeachment, and has written op-eds and articles for The Atlantic and The New Republic as well as The New York Review of Books. Cleaves, the returning Princetonian, and Wilentz, the longtime resident, mused about how the area has changed, despite staying mostly the same. “When I arrived in 1979,” says Wilentz, “Princeton was a decent-sized town that also felt like a village, a village that just happened to be home to a great university. It had a sleepy quality. The Garden Theatre would show the same popular movie, it seemed like Jaws was playing forever, and there was a Woolworth’s and a notions store and butcher shop, and, not too long before I came, a bowling alley.” Cleaves agrees on how Princeton has evolved. “We’re so fortunate to live in a town with so many resources available, and the University has really developed its emphasis on the arts over the past 30 years. It’s a tremendous resource for us. I’d like to think there’s room for an enhanced relationship between the University and the Arts Council. I’d like to see the Arts Council emerge as the central cultural institution for town/gown engagement and really dynamic programming.” The Arts Council of Princeton, founded in 1967, has as its mission building community through the arts. Housed in the landmark Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Cleaves’ modest office, plastered with wall calendars, is shared

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with another staff member. A quick tour offered a glimpse of a flamenco class and watercolor painters, and sewing machines lined up for a class on mending and patternmaking. The Arts Council provides a wide range of programs including exhibitions; performances; free community cultural events; and studio-based classes and workshops in the visual, performing, and literary

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE sPRING 2020

arts. She is especially proud of the Arts Council’s programs for Elm Court community housing and community projects such as oral histories of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood (check out the quilt on display), the Arts Council’s work with the Princeton Young Achievers, and an art program at Princeton Nursery School. “We have to do a better job of letting people

know what we do,” she says. “We need to reach out. New constituencies are an important way to raise money. In nonprofit fundraising, sources of foundation grants are dwindling.” Cleaves says she will be exploring partnerships with corporate businesses, such as exhibitions, memberships, and art-based activities with area employees. The couple decided to live as a family in 2018. Wilentz had owned the home, but previously sublet it. “Everyone came with a big heart,” Cleaves says. She and her two children moved into the Edgehill Street house together, and hung their art side by side on the walls. Wilentz leans toward old political drawings, his collection of Robert Frank photographs and Dylan-related art, like the album art for the 1965 release Bringing It All Back Home. Cleaves leans to landscapes including some of her father’s paintings (her paternal grandparents were artists too). The furniture is theirs. They both love opera and hold season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Life at home is pretty typical, they say. Most evenings they are both home reading. He, perhaps a history book, documents, or, on a recent jag, the work of Albion W. Tourgée, a 19thcentury American writer and lawyer involved in Reconstruction, who later defended Homer Plessy of Plessy v. Ferguson. She, perhaps, is reading Belgian author Georges Simenon, who writes about the detective Jules Maigret, or the volume on her living room table, Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel, about five female painters who changed modern art. Sometimes music wafts from the cello, guitar, or piano, which her children play. Wilentz, who says he does his best on the guitar, finds it interesting “going through the schools for the second time. It takes a good bit of patience, but it’s really fantastic. There’s usually something exciting going on. There’s at least one project in progress, be it painting, or poetizing, or writing, or cooking up who knows what.” Despite, or because of, their interests and schedules which are both divergent and overlapping, the family has dinner together every night. They support one another. “I’m very proud of what Caroline has done, getting to work for the Arts Council, it’s the perfect job at the perfect time,” says Wilentz. And Cleaves proudly mentions that he is a recent recipient of Princeton’s Howard T. Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities, an honor that is all the more meaningful because it is from his humanities faculty colleagues. “I guess we are an average family embedded in different loci in the community,” she says. “We are parallel, but the overlap is at the dinner table.” And Princeton will be the better for it.


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Princeton Magazine, Spring 2020  

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Princeton Magazine, Spring 2020  

Witherspoon Media Group