Sunday, November 19, 2017

SNL: "Come Back, Barack"



"We didn't know just what we had. Now things are looking. Like really bad, like World War bad, like nuclear bad."

Come back, Barack.

Music: De-Von-Tré (Chance the Rapper, Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving Day Walk in the Mapleton Preserve


Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for their annual Thanksgiving Day Nature Walk in the Mapleton Preserve on Thursday, November 23, 2017, at 10 am. The program will begin at the main office for the D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. Come work up a Thanksgiving appetite while searching for signs of what our local wildlife is having for dinner. Learn about the Osage orange (photo above) and enjoy the abundance and subtle beauty of late fall.

This walk is free and all are welcome, but preregistration is requested. Please call 609-683-0483 to reserve a spot. For more information, visit the FPNL website.

Photo: Laura Hawkins

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Back

Remember to move your clocks back one hour tonight. Daylight saving time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 6.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

KGA Fall Foliage Walk


Kingston Greenways Association and Kingston Historical Society will host "A Walk Through Kingston's Railroad History" on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 2 pm. This leisurely fall foliage walk will be led by railroad historian John Kilbride. After 34 years with Amtrak, John is now the moderator of the Camden & Amboy Railroad Historians and Railroads of Trenton Facebook groups.

The walk will start at the Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park headquarters building at 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston, and will end at the Kingston Locktender's House. The Locktender's House will be open to participants, where there will be a small exhibit on the "Railroads of Kingston" as well as Paul Kayne's study models of Kingston lock and the "A" frame bridge (once at Kingston). For more information, visit KGA.

This event is free. All are welcome, but RSVPs are appreciated to ensure a sufficient number of handouts. If you plan to attend, please email tari@kingstongreenways.org using "RR Walk" as the subject.

Photo: John Kilbride on the Rail Trail, Kingston

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

National Public Lands Day at Mapleton Preserve


Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands and Kingston Greenways Association will host the annual National Public Lands Day work session in the Mapleton Preserve on Saturday, September 30, 2017, from 2 to 4 pm. National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. FPNL and KGA invite the public to play a part and contribute to the restoration of the Mapleton Preserve, the former home of Princeton Nurseries and a significant historical site in Central New Jersey.

FPNL's focus this year is clearing brush, vines, invasive saplings and shrubs, and collecting litter. Volunteers are asked to bring their own loppers, pruning shears, saws, rakes and shovels. Sturdy shoes, work gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats are also recommended.

The entrance to the Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park is at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. For more information, visit the FPNL website or call 609-683-0483.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Still No Information

Yesterday a longtime resident of Parcel 1 posted a comment about the questions we've raised regarding the Parcel 1 litigation. She is concerned about the lack of information on its current status. Here's what she said:

OK, I think it is time for somebody to question the management and request information on Parcel One's ongoing problems for 20 years.
How can we all get together and demand answers?
We pay what we have to pay, we get Nothing.
We live in miserable conditions.
Just stop by Parcel 1 and you will see.
And yes I will not be anonymous. I am proud to stand and voice what is not right!
Nevena Chernev

It is inexcusable and frustrating that the Princeton Landing Board of Directors and FirstService Residential have failed to keep everyone informed about this. They should make a thorough report to the community about what is going on.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Shikantaza at South Brunswick Jazz Café

Shikantaza (left to right): Bernhard Geiger, Doug Miller, Brandon Lewin.

The musical trio Shikantaza—Doug Miller on piano, Bernhard Geiger on acoustic bass, Brandon Lewin on percussion—will perform with featured vocalists Tanya Saunders and Ron Orlando at the South Brunswick Jazz Café on Friday, September 8, 2017, at 8 pm. The evening will also include special guest performances by Laticia Lewis (violin), Phillip Geiger (cello) and Barbara Saunders (vocals). Shikantaza explores the jazz canon and songs from "The Great American Songbook." They make familiar works uniquely their own, as well as offering original compositions developed improvisationally. Their music draws inspiration from many genres. The word shikantaza, translated literally as just sitting, refers to a form of Japanese Zen Buddhist meditation. To read more about Shikantaza and to listen their music, click here.

The South Brunswick Jazz Café is located at the Herb Eckert Auditorium in the Senior Center, South Brunswick Municipal Complex, 540 Route 522 in Monmouth Junction. Admission is $6 at the door. Doors open at 7:30 pm. This performance is a BYOB event. For more information, call 732-329-4000, ext. 7635, or click here.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Other Homeowners Ask for Information

My opinion piece about the Parcel 1 "Litigation Fee" and remediation work, below, was originally posted more than a month ago. Over the last month, people have expressed concern about the Board's and the management company's lack of transparency and communication with homeowners, some commenting on the post. Still no word from the Board of Directors. It's also worth noting that two members of the Board, Bill Hart and Mary Ryan, live in Parcel 1.

This problem is costing homeowners throughout the community money and limiting their ability to sell or refinance their property. This is a serious issue and requires the Board's immediate response. Parcel 1 homeowners need answers.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Information Please

Parcel 1 homeowners deserve an explanation from the Princeton Landing Board of Directors. Throughout 2015 and 2016, homeowners in Parcel 1 were required by the Association to pay a quarterly "Litigation Fee" in addition to their monthly maintenance. Homeowners were notified that lawyers had been hired to go after contractors who left substantial damage during a previous attempt at remediation. Numerous times the homeowners were told the lawyers representing the parcel were working on contingency. Homeowners were eventually informed that three settlements for large amounts of money were made. During all this time, homeowners were never given any clear explanation of what their fees were used for, nor has there been any accounting of how much has been spent so far or how much is left. There has not been any mention of a schedule for the remediation work to begin. This lack of communication is unfair to homeowners and shows this Board of Directors in a very poor light. Parcel 1 homeowners deserve to know what is happening.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

KGA Movie Night—"Microcosmos"


Kingston Greenways Association will host a screening of the movie Microcosmos on Wednesday, August 23, at 7:30 pm at the YingHua International School. The school is located at 25 Laurel Avenue in Kingston.

Moviegoers will experience a closeup exploration of the lives of insects. Special cameras and microphones provide a bug's-eye view of the world. Three years in the making, Microcosmos is a one-of-a-kind film praised by critics Roger Ebert and Janet Maslin.

This event is free and open to all. Bring a lawn chair or cushion, as chairs will be in limited supply. For more information, visit KGA or call 609-750-1821.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sheet Caking Is a Grassroots Movement

"Most of the women I know have been doing it once a week since the election."

Tina Fey gives us all away.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

B.D. Lenz Back in Princeton Area


Contemporary jazz guitarist B.D. Lenz is back to perform at several venues in the Princeton area. B.D. and his trio just returned from a month on the road in the UK and in NY State—27 gigs in 28 days. Here's their schedule of upcoming appearances in our area.

Thursday, August 10
Weeden Park, Lawrenceville
7:00 to 8:30 pm

Saturday, August 12
On the Green
Palmer Square, Princeton
2:00 to 4:00 pm

Saturday, August 12
14 Witherspoon Street, Princeton
8:30 to 10:30 pm

Sunday, September 10
101 Scotch Road, Ewing
7:30 to 9:30 pm

Saturday, September 23
9 Hulfish Street, Princeton
6:00 to  9:00 pm

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Legendary Editor Judith Jones Has Died

1924 – 2017

"For a long time, the women—and they were usually women—who wrote about food were treated as second-class citizens. All because they cook! I think that's opened up. A good writer gets some good assignments, and they're treated better somehow. It just takes time."

Judith Jones was such as inspiration to me. I remember dealing with her as a young editor in the Books Department at Good Housekeeping magazine. She was a strong role model for women starting out in charge of the slush pile, which is where as a young editor in Paris, she found Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl.

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer

Friday, July 14, 2017

Le 14 Juillet


Photo by Yann Caradec

If you can't be there, click here to celebrate!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Waiting On Shore



" . . . the dead are not far from us . . . they cling in some
strange way to what is most deep and still within us."

— W.B. Yeats

Waiting On Shore
Sculptor: Niall Bruton
Rosses Point, County Sligo, Ireland

Friday, June 2, 2017

History of Farming — KHS Meeting and Talk

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 7:30 pm, the Kingston Historical Society will hold its spring meeting and talk. Judy Peters, President of the Van Harlingen Historical Society (VHHS) of Montgomery, will present "Harvest Time! The History of Farming in the Millstone Valley . . . In Their Words." The experiences of farmers from the early 1700s to current times will be described in their actual words found in diaries, inventories, wills and oral histories from the Van Harlingen Historical Society archives. They will be illustrated with historic photographs from the VHHS Image Collection and objects from the Montgomery Farm Museum. Attendees will also have an opportunity to ask questions and share local farming experiences.

Judy Peters has served as President of VHHS for the last 4 years. She lives in the historic district of Bridgepoint, in "Opie's Mill," which is considered one of the oldest surviving mills in the Millstone Valley. She has a Master's degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and taught and supervised research there for 10 years. In her "other life," Judy is a business consultant in the chemical and textile industry.

The free program will take place at the Kingston Firehouse, 8 Heathcote Brook Road (just off Route 27) in Kingston, NJ. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit KHSNJ or call 609-223-3877.

Staats Boys Haying, early 1930s

Photo: Courtesy of Kingston Historical Society

Update: Missing Cat

Leilani has been found by a neighbor. Thanks to everyone for your help.

Missing Cat


Please be on the lookout for this missing cat. She is a light-colored Lynx Point Siamese with blue eyes and a striped tail and answers to the name Leilani. She comes from Parcel 3 and has never been outdoors. If you can catch her, her owner asks that you do so. Leilani's owner lives at 104 Sayre and can be reached at 609-514-0377.

Friday, May 26, 2017

FPNL Annual Meeting and Program on Bluebirds


On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 7:30 pm, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands will hold its annual meeting and program in the Education Building at Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. After a short business meeting, Allen Jackson, president of the NJ Bluebird Society, will give a presentation on bluebirds. The event is free. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. For more information, please call 609-683-0483.

Allen Jackson has been involved with bluebirds for many years. He initiated efforts to establish the NJ Bluebird Society (NJBBS) and is a relentless advocate for proper management as the key to the bluebird's future. He has erected over 600 nestboxes in southern New Jersey, established 50 trails (with monitors) and bands over 1,000 bluebirds each year. Besides NJBBS (President) and North American Bluebird Society (Board of Directors and on the Nestbox Committee), he maintains membership in the Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania, Tennessee Bluebird Society and Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin.

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the historic, horticultural and natural resources of the former Princeton Nurseries Kingston site. Their goals include promoting restoration, development and interpretation of the site for the education and enjoyment of the public. As part of this overall goal, FPNL sponsors interpretive and educational walks and talks on history, nature and horticulture-related subjects. 

Photo: Susan Liddle

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kingston Greenways Earth Day Cleanup

Join Kingston Greenways Association for their Earth Day Cleanup on Sunday, April 23, 2017, from 2 to 4 pm. This year KGA will tidy up the areas adjacent to Railroad and Greenwood Avenues, Division Street, Mapleton Road and Ridge Road in Kingston. In addition to the inevitable tossed and blown litter, KGA will be removing some larger trash that is not only unsightly but also could pose hazards to wildlife.

Coming from US 1, head west towards Kingston on Ridge Road (Doubletree Hotel is on the corner of this intersections), and take the first left on Railroad Avenue. From Route 27, turn onto Heathcote Road and go a quarter mile to just beyond the intersection of Heathcote, Ridge and Division, then turn right on Railroad Avenue. Parking for this volunteer event is along Railroad Avenue off Ridge Road. Grabbers, gloves, orange vests and garbage bags will be provided. For more information, visit the KGA website or call 609-683-0483.

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FPNL Arbor Day Celebration and Lichen Walk


Almost everyone has seen a lichen (pronounced "like-in"), but few people know much about these small plantlike beings that have no roots, stems or leaves. On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands will hold its Arbor Day Celebration and Lichen Walk. Dr. James Lendemer from the New York Botanical Gardens will lead a lichen walk in the Mapleton Preserve from 2 to 4 pm. He will identify and explain the importance of these unique and fascinating organisims—some of which are considered to be among the oldest living things. The walk begins at the D&R Canal State Park Headquarters, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. The event is free and all are welcome. For more information, visit the  FPNL website or call 609-683-0483.

Lichens are a fusion of two unrelated organisms, usually a green algae and a fungus, that grow slowly and can be especially susceptible to habitat disruption. Many species are sensitive to air pollution, and lichens are used throughout the world to assess and monitor air quality. An important part of the food chain, lichens are also used by various animals as nesting materials, dyes, and medicines, and serve as a food source for reindeer and caribou.

Dr. Lendemer is a lichenologist at the New York Botanical Gardens. He currently serves as Assistant Curator of the Institute of Systemic Botany, which has the largest collection of lichens in the western hemisphere. His research on lichen biodiversity has been used to develop conservation management policy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Update: Snow Removal Damage

The monument on the Parcel 6 corner that was buried by BrightView's snow removal crew (see first photo in the previous post) was exposed as the snow melted. The marker was plowed out of the ground, with damage evident to the monument and curb. The marker has now been removed from the site. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Another Poor Snow Removal

Another snowstorm, another poorly executed and supervised snow removal—and it's still in progress. As of this afternoon, some driveways had not yet been plowed and even those that had been were nearly inaccessible. The crews plowing the road left snow blocking the driveways. Homeowners had the choice to stay put, dig themselves out or risk trying to drive over big mounds of snow and ice.

Our snow removal contractor BrightView continues to block—and in some cases completely bury—the house number monuments at the entrances to the parcels. In an emergency, these markers guide police, fire or ambulances to homes in need of assistance. A few years ago just after a snowstorm, a seriously ill homeowner in Parcel 6 needed an ambulance. EMS workers could not find the house because the monument was covered in snow. Apparently we haven't learned anything from that experience. After this storm BrightView completely buried the monuments at both of the entrances to Parcel 6. Other markers in the community were also covered. Here are some examples. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Parcel 6 corner — There's an address monument hidden under this huge snow pile.

The other entrance to Parcel 6.

Parcel 7 corner — There's an address monument hidden under this huge snow pile too.

Parcel 12 corner

Parcel 1 corner

We are not talking about an inability to shovel neatly here. We are talking about potential disasters. There are good reasons the corners with monuments need to be clear of snow. And yet BrightView continues to plow them over. Instead of providing proper supervision to the contractor, our management company FirstService Residential continues to make excuses.

With maintenance and association insurance fees that cost some residents over $500 a month, is it too much to ask that we have competent contractors who are properly supervised by our management company?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Ahead

Remember to move your clocks ahead one hour tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2:00 am on Sunday, March 12.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Opening Reception at South Brunswick Arts

The South Brunswick Arts Commission will hold a Meet the Artists Reception for the exhibit Botany and Zoology on Friday, March 10, 6:30 to 8:00 pm. The event, with music by jazz trio Shikantaza, is open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Botany and Zoology runs through May 19, 2017. The exhibit is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and on evenings when meetings are scheduled. The Gallery is in the South Brunswick Municipal Building at 540 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction. For more information, visit South Brunswick Arts or call 732-329-4000, ext. 7635.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Repair the Snow Removal Damage!

In most places this weekend, the snow from over two weeks ago was melted. But it wasn't completely melted at the Parcel 6 corner and berm. There was still a filthy pile of snow sitting on the berm. Around it lay broken branches, sticks, leaves, gravel and even someone's undelivered newspaper. The landscape is in a shameful state and should be an embarrassment to our management company FirstService Residential and to our snow removal contractor BrightView. The landscape division of BrightView tried to blow leaves during the week in this area of the Loop Road but was either unable to clean up this mess because of the remaining snow or just didn't try. We understand that the snow has just melted, but the snow should never have been dumped like this. It has damaged the shrubs, the understory and the berm itself. We wonder where the supervision is here and who is responsible to the community for this mess. This eyesore needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible. 
(click photos to enlarge)




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Signs of Life in the Winter Landscape

                                                        Photo: Tari Pantaleo

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for a walk through the fields of the Mapleton Preserve to look for signs of life in the winter landscape—be they plants, animals or birds, evidence of feeding, tracks or scat. It will likely be cold, and may be snowy or muddy, so dress for the weather. Hot chocolate will be served after the walk.

The walk will take place on Sunday, February 26, 2017, from 1 to 3 pm. It is free and all are welcome, but preregistration is requested. For more information and to register, call Karen Linder at 609-683-0483. Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park Headquarters is located at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FirstService Residential Drops the Ball—Again

(click to enlarge)

After the second snowstorm of the season, it is disheartening to see that our snow removal contractor BrightView has done more damage to the Parcel 6 corner and berm. The shrubs that were trashed in the first snowstorm were pushed back and covered with snow once again. This time snow was piled high, creating a filthy wall along the front of the berm. Lower branches of the trees were pulled down and broken in the process.

It's perplexing that our snow removal contractor would treat the landscape in such a harsh and damaging way when another part of their own company is responsible for its care in other seasons. What's even more discouraging is that our management company FirstService Residential hasn't done anything about it.

Photos: Paul E. Nolting

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black History Month



















The Gift to Sing
by James Weldon Johnson

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
      I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow's somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
      And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
      And I can sing.

Photo: Carl Van Vechten

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Let Us Remember Who We Are

                                                       Photo: Paul E. Nolting

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

1936 – 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Photo: AP/John Minchillo

"The Constitution does not begin with, 'I, the president.' It begins with, 'We, the people.' So don't try to divide us. Do not try to divide us!"
                             
— Gloria Steinem