Dear new neighbors! Welcoming people to Princeton is one of my favorite things to do. For families with young children, here is a sprinkling of not-so-obvious opportunities that are good to know about for this summer and fall.
Music Together, for your 3 year old and even your new baby, is a cost-effective activity for families. Did you know that children get all their tone discernment before the age of 5? With this program, the parents learn the songs (with weekly classes of fun activities with the kids) and the tunes are integrated into your daily life. There are classes everywhere including at my church at the corner of Nassau, opposite the Garden Theater). Which brings up —
Princeton United Methodist Church – we have excellent music programs for all ages, even as young as three. Pictured above, our children’s choir director, nationally known, is Tom Shelton. We welcome a new preacher, Trey Wince on July 16 and begin monthly alternative worship services on July 23. If Sunday morning attendance isn’t for you, but you’d like to meet some families with kids, come to a ‘fun night’ on July 16, 7 p.m. and on later dates this summer, details here.
Another good place to meet families with kids is Marquand Park. Playgroups seem to congregate there. Harrison Street Park has good 3-year-old opportunities (sand box, good swings) but gets fewer visitors. And then there’s the little Sigmund Park, named after a beloved mayor, opposite Westminster Choir College or Mary Moss park, if it’s reopened, in the Witherspoon Jackson neighborhood. In the fall, try the events at Cotsen Children’s Library, part of Firestone at the university but you can also just browse. And of course the story hours at the Princeton Public Library are probably the most populated.
Newcomers may not realize that the “go-to” newspaper for local news is an unassuming little paper called Town Topics. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s generally accurate. You’ve been getting it on Wednesdays. I’m very interested in newspapers because I was editor, for two decades, of U.S. 1 Newspaper known online as PrincetonInfo. The sister monthly paper is the Princeton Echo. U.S. 1 has newsstands and pick-up points in town (the closest to us is Bank of America or Whole Earth) but its major distribution is to businesses – retail and corporate – in greater Princeton, which encompasses three counties and 27 municipalities. People love it for many reasons but an important one is the “go-to” event calendar. I’m retired, but am still on the masthead thanks to an ever-loyal boss. Here is his account of the area newspaper scene.
When visitors come to town (you will get plenty, Princeton is a draw), they’ll want to see Einstein’s house, but there are several other Einstein-mania sites: the mini museum in back of Landau’s and the sculpture. a good photo-op, at the intersection of Bayard and Nassau.
If you have concerns about social justice, I work with Not in Our Town Princeton, and we do first Monday “Continuing Conversations on Race” at the Princeton Public Library. We will also have a booth at the – mark your calendar – Community Night at the community pool, free admission, bring bathing suits, August 1, 5 to 8.
Other town-wide parties: the Thursday night concerts at the Princeton Shopping Center and McCarter Theatre’s open house on August 23 (food and free entertainment). Students at Princeton University put on a rip-roaring kids show in the summer, apparently suitable for age 3 as they encourage three-and-under to attend free; this year it’s about Amelia Earhart,
And so you know what I look like, here is a picture of me, featuring my button collecting interest, used here at Princeton Comment.
Whew! Now that I’ve done this I’m going to post it on my blog – without your names of course – to help other families with kids. Do comment on anything that you’ve found. First impressions of a new town are priceless and easily forgotten, so pass them on!
Your Jugtown neighbor, Barbara Fox