Vainly I looked in online files to find one of my 20 minute driving tours, titled “Gossips’ Guide to Princeton,” but I did find this “Einstein Tour,” written in 2005. It’s longer than 20 minutes if you get out at each stop. I’ve updated it a little. It begins:
Einstein has always been Princeton’s most sought-after celebrity. Visitors from Europe who are visibly unimpressed by “old” buildings like Nassau Hall, and those from other continents who turn a deaf ear to stories of the town’s role in the Revolutionary War – they all know about Albert Einstein and are eager to view any signs of the great man’s legacy.
I probably won’t get around to answering your cards this year, again. Sometimes I have sent New Year’s cards. Or Valentines. Or St. Patrick’s Day cards.
Instead, here is a list of resources that are helping me face 2019.
At Princeton United Methodist Church, we have embarked on a series called Relationships and Faith, based in part on materials from the Arbinger Institute. to learn the difference between an Inward Mindset and an Outward Mindset. Pastor Jenny Smith Walz is undertaking the important and difficult task — to talk about difficult questions of gender and race within the church. Her challenging sermon series, titled “The Beloved Community,” begins this month, focusing on “What God wants for God’s people.” The ongoing study has workbooks available in the church office. Also here is a link to one of the Arbinger books,
I am also led to discover, and embrace, the work of Julia Cameron. Known for founding The Artist’s Way, Cameron recommends — nay, requires — those pursuing creativity to write “Morning Pages,” three pages written in the morning, first thing, to clear the addlement from one’s brain. I found my first Cameron book in one of those “free libraries” on the street in DC in October, and it has taken me this long to convince myself it might work.
For the evening, I am trying to use a journaling system called Vertellis Chapters, This “mix of mindfulness and stoicism practices” is a Netherlands-based journaling system (the Dutch are so smart!) and I found it at my favorite shopping spot – online.
Then, my old favorite, is the Upper Room Disciplines. a book of daily devotions based on the lectionary — the Bible passages read throughout the Christian church. So often, that commentary, that scripture, speaks to a current sadness or gladness of the day. My small group at PrincetonUMC, the Monday Morning Group, uses these readings for informal study.
Am I reading these, writing these, studying these consistently every day? No.
George was a habit-driven person and I am the exact opposite. He did exercises daily without fail. When it comes to doing exercises daily, I mostly fail.
But I am trying to create these habits. And I feel led to share them with whoever is out there, just as Jenny, Ginny, Gerri, Aimee, Anthony, Ineke, Judi, Mary Lib, Pat, Deborah, Susannah and so so many more have shared their inspirations with me.
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.
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?
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tabernacle by Veit Stoss at St. Lorenz. Open 9 to 5:30, services at 5.
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.
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!
Garbage 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.
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.
Living three blocks from a school, I am continually surprised to see parents walking fourth graders to and fro. Yet I remember how my sister and I walked ourselves to school in every grade. As for my kids, I never accompanied my kids to the bus stop and often I didn’t keep tabs on where, in the neighborhood, they were.
Is it such a different world? This article in the Atlantic explains how today’s parents protect their children — and question whether that’s needed or effective.