For our May issue, we asked PAW interns and student writers to choose their favorite places at Princeton. We’ve posed the same question to the staff, and we are featuring those answers online, below, and on Instagram.
Nicholas DeVito, class notes editor
“The Class of 1935 Memorial Room in the Seeley G. Mudd Library is where I do most of the research for the “From the Archives” section. The room has a lot of history in it; all back issues of PAW, Nassau Heralds, Bric-a-Bracs, and so much more. It’s a nice, quiet space to do research.”
Allie Wenner, writer
“Prospect Garden is one of my most frequented spots on campus during the warmer months. I love coming here with friends and a cold drink from Small World — it’s nice to get away from cars and people and just sit in nature sometimes! Also, it is a great place to catch Pokemon (if you’re as into Pokemon Go as I am).”
Marianne Nelson, art director
“These enormous balls of stone outside Wu Hall put everything in perspective for me. At first glance, they feel massive. At second glance, they look to be just the right size. As with everything in life, it’s all about how you look at it.”
Ray Ollwerther ’71, managing editor
“Some of Princeton’s most memorable places — the Chapel’s great stone interior, Frick Chemistry Lab’s Taylor Commons with its floating sculptures, Jadwin Gym’s soaring spans — impress with their vast scale. Chancellor Green, in contrast, welcomes visitors with its intimate feel. The central octagonal rotunda draws your eye upward; the stained-glass skylight has been compared to looking through a kaleidoscope. At night, seen from the outside, the building glows like a gem. The building’s architectural style has gone in and out of favor since it was built in 1873, but there’s nothing quite like it on campus.”
Carrie Compton, associate editor
“A week before my job interview at PAW, I visited campus for the first time. It was April 2016, and my 5-year-old daughter, Sophia, tagged along. Immediately, Princeton’s campus kicked her imagination into overdrive, a land full of ‘castles’ surrounded by ‘enchanted forests.’ Just when I thought her delight had peaked, Sophia caught sight of students lounging in plastic chairs in the ankle-deep waters of the Scudder Plaza fountain. My alma mater, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has its own campus fountain that is regularly coopted for cooling off (mostly by students in rolled up pants and the occasional dog), so I consented to her wading in. As Sophia sloshed around, scavenging for dead leaves and coins, the connection between this fountain and the one from my Madison days (and some sweltering nights) set in, and all at once I could very clearly envision myself working here. Then, the glittering ripples on the water led me, with a sharp, bittersweet thrill, to another possible future: to Sophia reveling in this fountain — as a Princeton student. Apparently, the magic of campus had ignited my imagination, too.”
Nancy MacMillan, publisher
“The PAW offices at 194 Nassau St. It’s been fun and wonderful being publisher for over 25 years and providing alums with interesting magazines every few weeks!”
Colleen Finnegan, advertising director
“For as long as I can remember ice cream has been one of my favorite foods. Notice I don’t put it in a separate category as a dessert — for me it is one of the major food groups! And so I choose Thomas Sweet as my favorite Princeton place, albeit one that is just slightly off campus. Thomas Sweet provides deliciousness in a small package, a famous blend-in, a dish of Midnight Jersey shore, or an extra-thick shake, that can be carried to and enjoyed in my second favorite place — the garden behind Prospect House.”
Marilyn Marks *86, editor
“I had been working at Princeton for about a year and a half when the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, ending the feeling of peace that had suffused my new life on this gorgeous campus in this tranquil town. I watched the events of the morning on the office television, then jumped in my car to pick up my 2-year-old daughter from her nursery school on Nassau Street. By the time I arrived, only two children remained, playing together quietly: my child and a little girl whose father was lost in one of the towers that day.
Two years later, the University opened this small memorial garden on the west side of Chancellor Green. Each year, a short and moving service takes place there, with prayers from different faiths, a haunting piece of music, and a moment for private reflection. The service includes the ringing of this bronze bell, Remembrance, by the potter Toshiko Takaezu, who taught at Princeton. The people who gather in the garden are always comforting to each other, and there is no better place on campus to renew a sense of peace.”
Brett Tomlinson, digital editor
“I love the arches at Princeton — the way they frame your view of new spaces as you walk around the campus. This one on the Firestone side of East Pyne is particularly meaningful because it includes a memorial inscription for professor and alumnus Walter Wyckoff, Class of 1888, who traveled the country taking any job he could find in order to learn more about the working class. I wrote about him in PAW a few years ago.”
Tell us about your favorite Princeton place in the comments below. A selection of comments may appear in a future issue of PAW.