Princeton: Not a level playing field

weekend reader map

Here is an interactive map.

Zero in on the Princeton zip code and one finds that  black children growing up poor in Princeton are expected to make $27,000 a year when they are adults, and Hispanic children can expect to make $25,000 a year. But white children can expect to make from $34,000 to $50,000 per year.

“Research has shown that where children live matters deeply in whether they prosper as adults. On Monday the Census Bureau, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard and Brown, published nationwide data that will make it possible to pinpoint — down to the census tract, a level relevant to individual families — where children of all backgrounds have the best shot at getting ahead.” This article by Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui was published in the New York Times on October 1, 2018, and sourced from The Weekend Reader. 

 

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Gossip’s Guide: What to see in 20 minutes?

Antonio Salemme's Paul Robeson
Antonio Salemme;s Paul Robeson

 

Conversing with a reference librarian at the Princeton Public Library, I learned that visitors sometimes ask: “What can I do in an hour before I leave for the airport?”

With my Gossip’s Guide hat on – I suggest: 

In 20 minutes, more or less

The Quick Paul Robeson Tour: Check out the Robeson bust by Antonio Salemme in the Princeton Room on the second floor of the library. Walk past the Arts Council of Princeton’s Robeson bust (this site formerly belonged to the Colored YMCA) to the Paul Robeson house and Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, where his father preached. (Both visible only from the outside).

the Norman Rockwell “Yankee Doodle” painting at the Nassau Inn Tap Room (reminding the patron that it is NOT a colonial era building!). Check out the alumni headshots. If you have time, a free place to sit is the upstairs lounge, by the fireplace.

Princeton Cemetery. Available at the entrance is a new brochure. 

Tiger Walk:  Stroll from the tiger in Palmer Square and the tigers at the entrance to Nassau Hall. Keep going and you will find more.

The Comparative Architecture Tour: Enjoy the interior of the Princeton Public Library, a Taj Mahal of libraries, designed by the Hillier firm. Diagonally across, the work of postmodern architect Michael Graves. Contemplate the differences. Then check out the interior of the Arts Council and the current exhibit.

Dohm Alley: a startling array of thoughts and objects in a small narrow space. Plus, there’s a water feature good for contemplating, and it’s right down the street from the town’s college bookstore (never miss a chance to enjoy a college bookstore.)

In 30-40 minutes

A quick Einstein tour — the Einstein museum in the back of Landau’s plus the Einstein bust at the corner of 206 and Nassau Street, great photo op. (The house is too far to walk in a hurry, but I tell people to drive and park on Edgehill.) 

Morven, now made relevant by truthful and inclusive exhibits that tell the stories of female occupants and slaves.

Prospect Gardens, always attractive in any season.

Cotsen Children’s Library inside Firestone Library

Princeton University Chapel, always open and it has a brochure about the windows

Tiffany Window Tour at Princeton United Methodist Church on Fridays and Sundays noon-2.

Quick sculpture tour 1: Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei and Picassso’s Head of a Woman, down by the former Dinky Station.

Quick sculpture tour 2: The Plaza in front of the chapel: statue of John Witherspoon, Song of the Vowels by Lipschitz, and (just inside the University Library, and open to the public) Noguchi’s White Sun. Throw in Oval with Points if you are walking that way.

This tour works if a Princeton native can direct the visitor. Later I may have time to add the links. What would YOU recommend?

 

Connect with your audience

EileenSinett_colorI was lucky enough to be able to take Eileen Sinett’s 4 Points of Connection  earlier this year. In this workshop I was able to put together a talk about social justice — not an easy task but she skillfully guided me through it. Her next presentation of this workshop is on October 18, details here.

Sinett knows how to connect with her students, whether a student is frightened to just open her mouth, or is an experienced speechmaker seeking to hone her skills. Everybody comes away more confident, more ready to step up to the podium.

 

With local sports, he made a difference

A wonderful tribute for a sports writer and, indeed, any journalist: “He instilled in us the importance of knowing that the event you were covering that day was the most important thing to the players and coaches on the field. George never thought he was bigger than the event and he never thought another event was bigger than the one he was covering.”

This accolade is for Trentonian sports writer George O’Gorman from Bob Nuse, Packet sports editor, who I am privileged to number among my friends at Princeton United Methodist Church. Here is his memorial column.

Facts Tell, Stories Sell

All speaking is not the same! Speaking has many nuances, structures and applications, says Eileen N. Sinett of Speaking that Connects.

“It is the communication vehicle most of us have for conveying ideas, developing relationships, sharing feelings, debating points of view and negotiating terms,” says Sinett. She offers two free webinars to support professional development and speaking success. One is on networking introduction and the next, on storytelling.

“Networking that Connects” is on August 16, and I have a conflict for that date.

But I am looking forward to taking advantage of her free offer to tune in to the webinar on Wednesday, September 6 on the subject of “Facts Tell, Stories Sell.” That’s a subject dear to my heart as a newspaper reporter who must “sell” my story to the reader, to make it worth her/his/their time.

Here’s how to register — the only thing you pay is your time!

And having attended many of Eileen’s workshops and seminars, I can vouch that it will be worth your time.

Medieval Nuremberg

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Good friends,  Ginny and Norm, will have two days in Nuremberg, our home town in the ’60s. They have booked the Nuremberg trial tour, and here is my ‘take’ on what else to see. Our most recent visit was 2015, when our friend Martin gave us an excellent tour of the medieval city, rebuilt after the war to look old again. Take your guidebook but here are my picks with the caveat that my sense of direction is spotty; check your map!

The “berg” in Nuremberg is a hill. The “burg” on the top of the hill is a castle.  Start at the  the castle, the highest point in the old city. You can do it on your own but if you take the  short tour you get into the “deep well,” which is fun and could be a sermon topic. You will learn it was NOT part of Bavaria, but of Franken, of historic import, says Martin.

As you walk down the hill to the RR station and tourist office, you will pass most everything you need to see. Plan to get to the Hauptmarkt and Frauenkirche at noon, so you can see the Glockenspiel clock.

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But do stop at the Albrecht Durer house. We spent at least an hour there, going room to room and learning about 16th century life. You might even be greeted by Agnes Durer. A Durer-focused gift shop is across the street.

 

 

My favorite of the churches is St. Lorenz. Buy the English guidebook and you can easily spend an hour. You will also like the big area at the back with its mission exhibits. Weekday services are at 5 p.m., just before closing time at 5:30.

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Annunciation at St. Lorenz

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Tabernacle by Veit Stoss at St. Lorenz. Open 9 to 5:30, services at 5.

 

 

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The Nurnberg Angel (I don’t have an umlaut but I like this spelling better) hangs over the streets in December for the Christkindlmart. You should be able to find her in the souvenir shops; she is made from colored foil. The story goes that a Nurnberg craftsman was grieving over the loss of his golden-haired daughter. She appeared to him in a dream, and he made a little doll out of colored foil for his Christmas tree.

 

By this time you will have reached the Hauptmarket, where you can get fixings for a picnic. They probably sell lebkuchen, and they might even have it ‘gluten frei.’ You can read about the sad history of this area,  a plaza dominated by Frauenkirche, here.  Hopefully you arrived at noon so you can See the clock . Don’t bother with the church. The Beautiful Fountain is also here as is St. Sebaldus Church, worth seeing and open till 6 p.m.

At the bottom of the hill, right at the wall of the old city, across from the RR station and the tourist bureau, is the crafts market (Handwerk Market) good for window shopping, tho pricey, and it also has eateries.  Tree ornaments are hard to resist!  If you might want to buy loden woolens (I love my cape), price them at Landau’s before you leave or online. They are more fun to buy in Germany, but they might be just as well priced in Princeton. But shop in Germany for unusual and stylish woolen hats.

Another option for sightseeing is this excellent walking tour from the New York Times; it emphasizes St. Sebaldus Church.

Somewhere in the city – ask in the tourist office because I can’t remember where – is an outside statue of a man whose front half is normal and whose back half is full of worms and ugly things. It’s a cringe-worthy Bible lesson for medieval passersby.

Along the way you will encounter lots of photogenic spots, including this one on the Pegnitz River. Be sure to get someone to take this iconic photo!

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Thanks, Martin, for a terrific tour! Ginny and Norm, have a wonderful time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From worm poop to designer bottles?

TerraCycle_CEO_Tom_SzakyGarbage is certainly the hero at the Terracycle headquarters, says Diccon Hyatt, who tells of Tom Szaky’s latest iteration, a new business model for his throwaway manufacturing business. It’s Diccon Hyatt’s cover story in the issue dated July 4 but being distributed a day early, click here, 

It’s a long way from when the headquarters for Szaky’s four-person start-up was a basement room, with a futon cot, on the corner of Nassau and Chamber Street.  U.S. 1 has charted his progress. His success story – leaving Princeton University to start a business –  is no comfort to hand-wringing parents of students aiming to quit school to follow their dreams.

 

Listen well to get at the truth

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An article from the Harvard Business Review courtesy of Niki (Veronica) Fielding’s  new newsletter Owlthena, validated one of my favorite approaches to reporting: Keep prepared questions to a minimum and just ‘follow the trail’ of where the conversation leads.

It works only when there is no time limit, and when you have the freedom to circle back to the subject again, but it’s pretty exciting to start at square one as if you know almost nothing. When you let one question lead to another, both you and your subject may be surprised at the discoveries.

HBR says: Follow-up questions seem to have special power. They signal to your conversation partner that you are listening, care, and want to know more. People interacting with a partner who asks lots of follow-up questions tend to feel respected and heard.

It also works for me to say, at the beginning, anything can be off the record:

HBR: People also tend to be more forthcoming when given an escape hatch or “out” in a conversation. For example, if they are told that they can change their answers at any point, they tend to open up more—even though they rarely end up making changes. 

The article came to me in Niki’s new Owlthena newsletter, “What’s Hot Wednesday,” an assembly of business studies that I would not have seen. The one from HBR was by Alison Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John. (Feminist thought: is it a coincidence that this intensive study on listening was done by women?)

One caution about this approach: Many busy people don’t want to give you the time to meander down uncharted lanes. Keep the prepared questions in your pocket.

 

 

 

Hands off the wheel?

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Would you trust your family to be safe in a self-driving car? Would you trust your own car on the road along with self-driving cars? And will insurance skyrocket?

Michael Scrudato, senior vp of Munich Re, could answer those questions at the Princeton Regional Chamber lunch Thursday, June 7 at 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal Marriott. Walk-ins aren’t charged extra. Here’s a preview. 

Race and Protest at Princeton and in Trenton

IMGP2677Welcome to the 54th reunion for Princeton’s Class of ’64! Not the “regular” class. Instead, we’re convening at the reunion for a special summer program for disadvantaged high school kids from the city. Its most well-known graduate – Harlan Bruce Joseph. Like most at the beginning of this tour, I had no idea who he was or what his fate would be.

Today (5-31-18) Kyle Berlin (Valedictorian for the class of 2018) and Milan Eldridge (Class of 2020) led three dozen people – townies and alumni — in a  performance walk “Walking Histories: Race and Protest at Princeton and in Trenton,” one of five different tours offered by the Trenton Project.  At this writing, three performances remain, all starting at Princeton University Art Museum. If you read this in time they are – all different —

Friday, June 1 at 10 a.m. Performed by Berlin and Eldridge, written by Berlin and Anna Kimmel.

Friday, June 1 at 11 a.m. Written and performed by Ben Bollinger: “Whites turn around to see a Negro dressed in Ivy clothes and carrying a bag marked “Princeton.”

Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m. Written and performed by Maria Jerez: A life of Javier Johnson White.”

If not catch the Picturing Protest exhibition at the Art Museum, on view for the next five months. Or on first Mondays at 7 pm at Princeton Public Library, come to Not in Our Town Princeton’s Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege. On June 4, you will hear and discuss how racial literacy is taught at Princeton High School.

Alison Isenberg and Aaron Landsman  supervised this project; Landsman coached the students in the dramaturgy of how to tell this story like a play. The first stop: Spelman Apartments, named after Laura Spelman Rockefeller, a philanthropist and abolitionist whose dollars funded the first trial of the summer program for high schoolers said to have had “little hope for college.”IMGP2671

Next stop: the Lewis Center, near where Joseph would have arrived on the Dinky train, from Trenton. Contrast: the Lewis Center cost $180 million. Trenton is trying to build an arts center with $80,000. (Rich Rein quotes Berlin in his cover story in U.S. 1 this week, and here is the Berlin oped complete.

Continuing the ironic comparisons, Berlin stops at Whitman College (actually named after Meg but, for this tour, credited to poet Walt), and we learn that it cost $136 million to build, almost six times more than the city of Trenton’s annual budget. It was designed in ‘fake Gothic,” says Berlin, appropriate, he says, since eBay dotes on nostalgia.IMGP2672

At the next stop we learn, for this tour, that the building labeled Wilson College should really be named after Preston Wilcox, a social scientist and human rights activist who advocated for black history studies.IMGP2674

We leave the summer of 1964 and move to the spring of 1968 and the unrest after the King assassination. At this point Joseph is a sophomore at Lincoln University preparing to go to seminary. The police shot Joseph as a looter but all those who knew him deny that he would have done that. He was the only person who died in those riots.  We hear from the eulogy by beloved pastor G. Carter Woodson: “We are responsible for the conditions that allow riots to take place.”

More memories:

The boys of that 1964 summer were turned away from a Princeton barbershop. They wrote a letter to Town Topics in protest.

In their class they debated about that summer’s police brutality in Harlem. .

We share Joseph’s letter about his aspirations to be a minister. The letter was printed on cards, and we passed them around, reading it sentence by sentence: “I have the foundation and tools to be an effective minister, and I strive to help those who are discriminated against…Keep on trying. In every group there will be some listening to what you are saying.”

Was Harlan Bruce Joseph a looter? Or a dreamer?   We are asked to imagine that his statue has been erected “over there.”

 

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