Dancing in the streets

 

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This Sunday past, Princeton held its forty-seventh Communiversity Arts Festival. This is one of the largest and longest running street festivals in the USA. I arrived fairly early and watched with interest as those involved prepared for their big day.

A large section of Nassau and Witherspoon Streets were closed to traffic around 11 am and stalls and stages began to appear with remarkable alacrity. Soon the entire area was thronged with people and the festivities got quickly underway.

Here are some of my impressions of the day.

 

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This was the scene around 11.30. The crowds had not yet arrived.

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Parts of the University were being utilised too. This is the lawn in front of Nassau Hall.

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The guy in the white tux cracked me up.

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Members of the medical profession were, of course, in attendance.

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I wasn’t the only one recording the event for posterity.
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Apparently, the tiny woman wearing a microphone on her nose is the Mayor of Princeton.

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Princeton a capella groups were performing under the arches.

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Many balloons were lost over the course of the day.
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After a day of near perfect weather, the sky began to turn ominous and a chilly wind kicked up. This was only at the very end, however, and failed to dampen most peoples’ enjoyment of a pretty great festival.

All images are my own.

©2017

Speed of life

 

 

Highs and Lows

You can’t tramp the streets of NYC without experiencing the contrasts.

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New York is arguably the greatest city on Earth, alive with the bustle and the hustle of millions of souls. It is a hub for financial and creative energies.

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The signs of poverty and despair are also ever present.

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She is a city constantly renewing, ever changing, audaciously hopeful.

All images are my own.

©2017

The only living boy

 

 

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The apple of my eye

 

And so here you are

Exactly as I left you

Too long ago

Your strange beauty

Your complex moods

That way the light strikes you

Then kisses you

The sound

And the smell of you

 

There will never be another

In all the world

 

You are the heart of my empire

The apex of every desire

Pinnacle of my audacity

And the only gal

For whom I might even consider

Cheating

On Jersey.

 

 

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Words and images are my own.

 

©2017

 

 

 

Kingdom of days 6

 

Stone

 

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Princeton was to see the amazing photographic exhibit on display at one of the many museums to be found there, Morven House. Six of the most prolific Springsteen photographers, his sister Pam Springsteen included, in a combined exhibition showing some of their finest portraits of The Boss.

This exhibit runs until May 21st and I highly recommend it. There are quite a few shots that I personally have never seen before and there’s the added draw of seeing some familiar classics printed large and in high quality. The setting is somewhat incongruous, a colonial house full of Revolutionary war relics and fine art paintings and sculptures but the available space is used well and I geeked out for a happy forty minutes or so.

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Speaking of art, it was a bad day to be a monument in Princeton. A band of jolly japers were going about putting googly eyes on statues and monuments, sometimes to devastatingly humorous effect.

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Literally Hitler?

 

Not all of the monuments suffered this ignoble fate, however.

 

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We next visited the Princeton Chapel. This is a very deceptive name for a place that looks like a medium sized Cathedral. Inside, it is quite beautiful and we sat for quite some time listening to some invisible organist play eerie music fit for a Vincent Price Horror movie.

 

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For the rest of the afternoon, we simply wandered around the grounds enjoying the sights and imagining what it would be like to attend such an institution. Though, I did make a little side quest to the Princeton Record Exchange, which I found to be excellent indeed, lots of treasures to be had for a very reasonable price.

 

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Once Jersy girl had finished with work, we were all ready to head for home. I was impressed by how willing the kids had been to spend eight hours on their feet just sightseeing but now they were definitely done and happy to pile back into the car. I felt tired too but my batteries had certainly received a full charge from the sights and, more specifically, the ambience of this impressive town.

 

Words and images are my own.

 

©2017

 

 

 

Kingdom of days 5

Ivy

This Saturday past, we went into Princeton and spent the entire day wandering around the University and surrounds. It was to be just the kids and me as Jersey girl had to work.

Our first stop was a locale I’ve been hankering to visit for some time, the former home of the eminent physicist Albert Einstein.

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This modest home, just a short walk from the centre of town, belies the stature of the man who dwelt here from 1935 until his death in 1955. During those years Einstein could often be seen walking the streets of Princeton and a great many important people (including Presidents and Prime ministers) visited him at this very house.

I was surprisingly affected by the encounter despite the fact that the house is not open to the public (it’s a private residence). It might have been fancy on my part but the house, little more than a cottage really, seemed still to resonate with the personality of the great man who once inhabited it.

From there we made our way through the grounds of the University. Middle child was introduced to the concept of the cloister and was immediately besotted.

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The architecture of this Ivy League University is, like most such institutions, a mixture of barely compatible styles ranging from High Victorian Gothic through Richardsonian Romanesque to modern.

The oldest building on the grounds is Nassau Hall. This was the original building finished in 1756, it was heavily damaged during the Battle of Princeton in 1777 when Washington turned his cannons upon it to drive out Brittish troops who had occupied it.

For a time after war’s end, during which Princeton was the capital of the entire country, Nassau Hall Library played host to the newly formed American government. According to Princeton University, “Here Congress congratulated George Washington on his successful termination of the war, received the news of the signing of the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain, and welcomed the first foreign minister—from the Netherlands—accredited to the United States.”

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Next door to ‘Old Nassau’ is The President’s House, also known as the John Maclean House. This fine old example of Colonial Georgian architecture was built in the same year as the Hall.

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A much younger set of buildings known collectively as John D. Rockefeller 3rd College, or “Rocky” are located at the northwestern corner of the Princeton campus. These are quite beautiful (despite their evil namesake) and are mostly in the Collegiate Gothic style. Five hundred freshmen and sophomores call this college home.

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I’m not entirely sure what delineates English Gothic from Collegiate Gothic but if I were to guess which this Hampton Court imitation comes under, I’d say English.

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That’s all for this post. Part 2 tomorrow.

Words and images are my own.

©2017