Thursday, April 30, 2009

Springtime at Princeton University

This post has absolutely nothing to do with food - except if you count the coffee and cake I ate at a reception yesterday morning preceding a lecture by the Irish poet and Princeton University Professor Paul Muldoon.

While walking to campus on such a gloriously beautiful day, with so many flowers in bloom, it struck me that I should simply treat all of you to what I am lucky enough to see on my way to class. I've been auditing a macroeconomics class taught by former Federal Reserve vice-chairman Alan Blinder. (macroeconomics? I know what many of you are thinking, but I figured in this economic climate, I owed it to myself to enroll in this class, rather than the normal art history classes I gravitate to.)

This post is by no means a comprehensive overview of campus. In fact, my camera battery went dead at one point. But there are enough shots here to give you an idea of the beauty of Princeton's campus and the wonders of Mother Nature in Springtime. It really does make you glad for the four seasons here on the East Coast.

These are a row of magnolia blossoms and the fountain at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

These are the Fitzrandolph Gates, the main entrance to campus from Nassau Street, opposite Witherspoon Street. Note the allee of callery pear trees in bloom in the distance. Fitzrandolph was the son of one of the original seventeenth-century Quaker settlers of Princeton.

This is a back view of Nassau Hall, completed in 1756 and the oldest building on campus. At one point, it served as home to the Continental Congress and it was where congress first learned that the British had signed a peace treaty granting independence to the former colonies in 1783.
See that black thing sticking up a little bit in the center of the picture? It's supposedly a cannon left by the Hessians, and it's buried in the ground in this spot called "Cannon Green."
This is what is known as the Princeton "Chapel" although it's really a Gothic cathedral with stunning stained glass windows. Wednesday afternoons you can pop in on your lunch hour and hear organ music performed by some of the top organists in the country. At Christmastime, Princeton High School's choir performs its winter concert here - always to a packed crowd, starting with a candlelight procession.
This is the back of Prospect House, an Italianate structure that until 1968, served as home to Princeton University's presidents. It's now a faculty dining facility and is also often used for receptions, weddings and meetings. The flower gardens in the foreground change with the seasons and are always a photo-op for visitors. The garden is laid out in approximately its present form from a design by Woodrow Wilson's wife when Wilson was President of the university from 1902 to 1910.
This is Princeton's Art Museum. It's got a jewel of a collection -- everything from pre-Columbian art to Greek and Roman antiquities to Asian art, Byzantine art, Renaissance paintings, modern art and more than I can remember. Some of the artists represented in the vast collection include Fra Angelico, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, El Greco, Cezanne, Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg. This is one of Central New Jersey's hidden gems -- and it's free to the public.
These two Greek revival buildings are referred to as "Whig" and "Clio" after the Whig-Cliosophic Society, the oldest literary and debating club in the U.S.
You'll see sculpture all around campus by very famous artists, including Louise Nevelson, Jacques Lipchitz, Alexander Calder and George Segal. This one is by Henry Moore and is called "Oval with Points." Lots of people like to sit in it and have their picture taken.
This is Blair Arch, prominently featured in the move "A Beautiful Mind." It's not unusual to find a university accapella singing group performing under the arch. This is the view of the arch as you're walking from the "dinky," the affectionate term for the one-car commuter rail train that makes the three-minute trip back and forth to the main station in Princeton Junction.

As you come through Blair Arch this is the view: the back of Alexander Hall, which houses Richardson Auditorium, a beautiful performing arts space. To conclude today's visit on campus, I'll leave you with a bee enjoying a vibrantly colored rhododendron blossom. Hope you enjoyed the brief tour.


  1. The Princeton Art Museum is one of the best kept secrets in NJ!
    The basement collection of the Renaissance works and mosaics are to die for. I go there every opportunity that I get. I guess my secret is out!

  2. Wow you are bringing me back. Blinder was my Econ 101 professor and I was lucky enough to have him for the study group too. Great teacher. Smart as all hell. I should have paid more attention, but (cough) at 18 had a little growing up to do still. Nice to see shots of the campus. I can almost see one of my dorm rooms in a photo :)

  3. Linda thanks for taking us out on a stroll with you! I've never been to Princeton, but a couple of my friends did their PhDs there and they were in a perennial state of awe at hoe beautiful the campus was. you're lucky you get to be surrounded by such beauty, and I'm glad that you appreciate it :)

  4. Beautiful pictures. Seems as if all of those things bloomed so long ago in Alabama. I've move on to planting summer annuals.

  5. Thanks for all the beautiful shots you took that I missed while walking around the campus...We were there briefly on Tuesday before going to lunch to check out the farmers market and the few vendors that were melting from the heat...I took a few pictures but none as nice as yours....Baby was getting hot..Did you stop by my blog and see the post I wrote about our the way I inhaled the biscotti in just over a day...They were wonderful...

  6. Thanks for the tour. What pretty flowers

  7. Gorgeous shots. Really loved the tour.

  8. What a beautiful tour Linda, I really enjoy it. Beautiful campus...

  9. Princeton is indeed a beautiful Ivy League University. Long ago I went to many football games there.

  10. One of the prettiest campuses I have ever visited. This is a side of Jersey most people never see.

    Belle foto!