When Shirley Tilghman was selected as Prince-ton’s president in 2001 and began thinking about moving into the president’s residence at Lowrie House, one thing became clear: She would have to redecorate.
“After all, this is a University that grows with the times, and I couldn’t think of a reason why Lowrie House shouldn’t change with the times,” Tilghman said.
So Tilghman — who also wanted a new look for her Nassau Hall office — did what any student looking to bring comfort to a new space would do: She checked out the U-Store’s, er, the University Art Museum’s, collection of paintings. Her selections perhaps can be best described as the meeting of a scientist’s sensibilities with the impulse to innovate while retaining a sense of propriety and respect for the space. There is a Roy Lichtenstein in her office, and a Frank Stella ’58 and an Ellsworth Kelly in her home.
These modern-art heavy hitters are among the nearly 20 pieces on loan from the museum collection that Tilghman is proud to display in some of the University’s most traditional spaces. In her office, Tilghman looks out onto an untitled Lichtenstein painting from 1997, a still life splashed with newspaper-print-like blue, yellow, and black dots.
“I love abstraction and color. I think this is one of the things I probably didn’t realize before I went to choose art for this office and Lowrie House,” Tilghman said. “I’m a scientist so I like angles, I like cleanness.”
Museum assistant curator Calvin Brown helped Tilghman make her choices, though she said that it “probably doesn’t hurt” that her daughter, who graduated from Princeton in 2003, majored in art history and is a graduate student in modern art.
Tilghman’s taste is not limited to the abstract, however. She recently selected paintings by American artists Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, and George Inness for the reception room outside her office. The paintings are rotated between public display and storage, meaning Tilghman’s rooms are updated continuously. “It’s always very painful to give them up,” she said. By Jocelyn Hanamirian ’08
The $136 million, 250,000-square-foot Whitman College rises out of perfectly manicured green lawns and just-planted trees, its stone façade sparkling in the late-September sun. For different Princetonians, the dorm evokes a Disney castle, a mausoleum, or a cathedral, but most are thrilled with its collegiate gothic look.
“It really balances the campus out because before we had gothic up campus, and now we have gothic down campus as well,” said sophomore Ashley Schoettle. “That’s one of the things that drew me to Princeton: I loved the architecture.”
While Whitman may resemble Princeton’s early-20th-century dorms, it’s anything but old-fashioned. Along with air conditioning, a 65-seat theater, flat-screen TVs in the dining hall, and digital photo labs, there are a study room, common room, kitchen, and laundry room for every hallway.
In Whitman’s dining hall, gone are the long wooden tables typical of Princeton’s cafeterias, replaced by booths and small, round tables. This switch has led to a seating crunch during mealtimes and some grumbling among students. “The new seating system is inefficient,” said Joelle Birge ’11. “Big, long [tables] would make more sense.”
The dorms remained a work in progress. Some arriving students found nonfunctioning electrical outlets in their rooms. The water in the showers took ages to heat up. The hot water in the sinks didn’t work, and some of the printers were on the fritz. There were no pots in the kitchen, no books in the library, and, initially, no TV in the TV room.
Putting seniors next to freshmen has taken some getting used to as well. Birge said she would prefer having some all-freshmen dorms, and senior Seth Ligo said he felt far more supervised than if he were living elsewhere on campus. “People feel like they have an obligation to check in on you more often and more thoroughly than they would have if you lived in upperclassmen housing,” Ligo said. “It’s sort of like going back home and living over your parents’ garage, not in the apartment down the street.”
Yet most students felt that a few kinks were to be expected. “There are a couple of little glitches, but it’s been so much fun and everything’s so beautiful,” Schoettle said. “It’s probably the best place I’ll ever have to live in.” By Bianca Bosker ’08
It happens every Wednesday without fail. Seniors are more than ready for a break from their workweek and their theses. They want to have a drink and hang out with friends, but after three years, even the 10 different Prospect Avenue offerings begin to wane in attraction, if not variety. So they arrive, en masse and after midnight, at the door of the “other” eating club, where a club pass, a themed outfit, or an under-21 ID can all get you funny looks. It’s an actual bar, frequented by Princeton students, and revered by some almost as a second club.
Of Ivy Inn, the bar on Nassau Street past Hoagie Haven, the only special attraction is its authenticity. It is a rare time to socialize with friends outside one’s own eating club and mix with members almost exclusively of one’s own senior class, as well as the healthy crowd of town patrons. Students go mostly on Wednesdays for the Inn’s karaoke night, but the microphone is more often held by Princeton residents singing country music. Over the din of a packed night and lots of toasts, who can hear?
“I went last year after turning 21,” frequenter Brandon Bierlein ’08 said. “That’s is a big perk of turning 21 at Princeton. Nothing against the Street atmosphere, but it’s nice to enjoy other things, and Ivy Inn lets you do that. There’s all kinds. You go to hang out; karaoke just happens to be there.”
Ivy Inn is cheap, offering $1 pints, and the atmosphere is that of a classic bar, featuring 20-odd mahogany stools, pool tables, a dartboard, and a television airing sports games.
“It felt like a more eclectic group of people than you see at eating clubs,” Mike Dirholf ’08 said of his first trip to Ivy Inn last month. “Especially on Wednesday. You can come out to the Street on Wednesday, and you’re not going to see that many people.”
The name Ivy Inn, etched onto a translucent green window at the entrance, has historical significance: It was the name of the first-ever eating club, what is now Ivy Club. On a typical Wednesday the bar is so packed that the crowd is spilling out into the back of the building, and greeting friends often requires an aggressive swim through the crowd.
But as one of the few parties in Princeton where you can expect to be happily surprised by the diversity of the crowd, and maybe even belt out a song with a long-lost friend from Outdoor Action, it’s worth the trip past Prospect. By Jocelyn Hanamirian ’08