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Princeton WannaBe Blog

I'm not a real historian.   I didn't grow up in Princeton.    I don't have an Ivy League education.   

I'm a total Princeton WannaBe. 

Still, I gush about loving the heart of Princeton as much as I can!




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This Week, Only Forever Ago .... Old Ironsides Earned It's Name!

Did you know Old Ironsides was commanded by Princeton's very own William Bainbridge?  TRUE!

His home was Bainbridge House on Nassau Street!  I KNOW!

(At the time it was very unusual to use brick for a residence so everyone in town knew Commander Bainbridge was a wealthy man.  For many years, his home was the headquarters for the Princeton Historical Society.)

We think it's interesting because William Bainbridge served under SIX Presidents including Princeton graduate, James Madison! (not to mention Vice President Aaron Burr, Jr. too!)

For super nerds ...... some folks in town will tell you the United States flag inside the Princeton Chapel is from the USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides) but that's not true ..... that flag was flown in DC for  the first two years of Woodrow Wilson's presidency and flew on the the USS Princeton during WWII!)


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Love Florence Foster Jenkins? You're Gonna ADORE Ganna Walska!

I don't know anyone on the planet that isn't LOVING Florence Foster Jenkins!  It's hard to believe the movie is biographical.  (IT IS THOUGH .... check out Florence's original recording here!

Did you know Princeton tiger, Harold F. McCormick, funded his version of Florence with his wife Ganna Walska?  TRUE!  (He was husband #3and completely in love with her!)

She thought she could sing so he showered her with singing lessons and even arranged for her to play the lead in ZaZa at the Chicago Opera. Poor thing was so off key, the audience pelted her with rotten vegetables!  A recording of her is here

Insiders know Orson Welles claimed that McCormick's lavish promotion of Walska's opera career—despite her renown as a terrible singer—was a direct influence on the screenplay, Citizen Kane, wherein the titular character does much the same for his second wife!  LOVE IT!!!!

Harold was a huge philanthropist and gave away much of his fortune, especially to Princeton University.  When we go past McCormick Hall, we always think about his devotion to Ganna!


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Did you know a Princeton Tiger created Woodstock? TRUE!

TRUE!    Joel Rosenman of the Great Class of 1963, co-founded Woodstock with his business partner in 1969!

(He earned a degree in English and was a member of the all male a cappella group, Princeton Footnotes!)

The next year, Princeton University awarded an honorary degree to Bob Dylan!  I KNOW!


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Pi Day Princeton 2016 - You want to be around Princeton!
Einstein was born on March 14th - the numeric equivalent of Pi! The whole town throws the biggest celebration on earth!

Pi Day Princeton

3.10.16 THRU 3.14.16


Don’t forget!  We have a long weekend of events!  The Official Information Desk will be inside the Nassau Inn Lobby!

Thursday 3.10.16

250_Tom-Levison7:00 p.m. Prize Winning Author Lecture – The Hunt for the Vulcan: And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe – Community Room of the Princeton Public Library – Thomas Levenson, Professor of Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will discuss his latest book that tells the captivating, all-but-forgotten story of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the search for a planet that never existed.  Levenson tells the previously untold tale of how the “discovery” of Vulcan in the nineteenth century set the stage for Einstein’s monumental breakthrough, the greatest individual intellectual achievement of the twentieth century.  Thomas Levenson is the author of several other books, including Einstein in Berlin and Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist. He has also made ten feature-length documentaries (including a two-hour Nova program on Einstein) for which he has won numerous awards.

Friday 3.11.16

Wilbo 17:00 p.m. “Constant Commentary,” at The Arts Council of Princeton Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ.Musician and composer Wilbo Wright will perform a Pi Day concert!!  Suggested donation $3.14. For more information, please visit or call (609) 924-8777.

Saturday 3.12.16

The Official Information Desk for Saturday’s events will be inside the Nassau Inn Lobby!


9:00 a.m. — Pie Eating Contest at McCaffrey’s in the Princeton Shopping Center – 301 North Harrison Street – moderated by Princeton comedic celebrity, Adam Bierman.  Contestant Age  Groups: Youth 4-8 and 9-13; Teens 14-18 and Adults 19 and above. There is no advanced registration.  Simply arrive by 8:45 a.m. and report to the second floor inside McCaffrey’s to compete in this hysterical event.    There is no registration for these hysterical events!

birthday candles10:00 a.m.— SHHHHHH!!!!!  We’re having a Surprise Birthday Party for Albert Einstein at Morven Museum and Garden – 55 Stockton Street – Arrive on time to help get ready for Albert’s big birthday bash!  Albert thinks he’s arriving to see the incredible exhibit inside the museum only to find the museum dark.  After he thinks he’s gotten lost again, his favorite 4yrs, 5yrs, 6yrs olds spring into action to sing Happy Birthday, watch him blow out candles and share a piece of cake provided by McCaffrey’s!  All little genius must pre-register for this popular event since space is limited.  Email to reserve your spot today!

jimmy-neutron-poster10:30 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Jimmy Neutron – Boy Genius – 160 Nassau Street at Princeton Garden Theater – Join Princeton’s premiere movie theater watching an 8-year-old boy genius and his friends must rescue their parents after the adults are abducted by aliens!  $4.00 per ticket – FREE for Members!

11:00 a.m. — Einstein Look-A-Like Contest – 10 Palmer Square inside the Nassau Inn Prince einsteinlookalikeWilliam Ballroom – This is always a STANDING ROOM ONLY EVENT SO PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY – Smarty pants of all ages come to portray Princeton’s favorite resident genius.  The competition can be fierce so educated contestants always come knowing a few facts about Albert Einstein.  Pi Day Princeton moderator, Jacqui Alexander,  asks tough questions like “How old are you?”, “What school do you go to?” and “What made you want to dress up like Einstein today?”   All participants will win a free Pi Day Princeton commemorative wrist band and contestants 13yrs and younger are eligible to win $314.15!   If your birthday is on Pi Day, you are automatically allowed to judge this event AND you can be a judge for the rest of your life!  Why? Because Einstein had a life time job in Princeton, silly!   Pre-register your ‘lil genius and email  PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY TO REGISTER YOU CHILD IF YOU AREN’T ABLE TO REGISTER ONLINE PRIOR TO THE EVENT!

picycle-23746237846234.gif.492x0_q85_crop-smart11:00 a.m. – Pi X Pi(e) Bike Tour – begins at Kopp’s Cycle Shop at 38 Spring Street – Einstein never learned to drive a car so he biked or walked wherever he went!  Enjoy farm-baked pie, farm store discounts, and a bike tour of Einstein’s favorite places with Princeton based NJ bike tours!   The Pi x Pi(e) ride will journey through Einstein’s commute to his office buildings and favorite places in downtown PLUS a visit to Terhune Orchards for free pie tasting and farm store discounts! The tour is 9.86 miles round trip (3.14 x 3.14). All ages and fitness levels are welcomed. It’s a flat and safe ride with safety-focused guides fully supporting different fitness levels and speeds. The tour is Pi priced at $31.41, discounted by over half off normal rates, and all proceeds go to benefit the Garden State Community Kitchen charity.  This family friendly bike tour will start and stop at Kopp’s bike shop on Spring Street in Princeton. Plenty of parking at the municipal garage next door.  Bring your own bike, helmet and water.  Limited to 30 participants – This is a single file group ride so independent riders must be 14 yrs – (younger participants may be connected to guide bikes or trailers.)   For more information and to register and pay for the event, contact NJ bike tours directly!

Noon — Princeton Symphony Orchestra holds a friendly Kids of All Ages Violin Exhibition & Opportunity to Meet Pultizer Prize & Grammy Winning Composer/Violinist – 10 Palmer Square – inside thePHOTO 1 Caroline Shaw CREDIT Dashon Burton 2012 Nassau Inn Prince William Ballroom for kids 3yrs – 6yrs!   kidsviolincontestExtra credit will be awarded to those who come dressed as Einstein.  Don’t forget, the Einstein Look A Like Contest is at 11:00am so plan on attending both events!    All participants will win free Pi Day Princeton commemorative bracelets and PSO ticket vouchers!   In attendance will be Caroline Shaw who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Roomful of Teeth.  Caroline Shaw will be performing on Sunday, March 13th at 4pm at Richardson Auditorium.   For more information on this event or to register your child, please email

Blonde woman with the scary expression on her face while eating cabbage leaf.Noon — Nerd Herd Smart Phone Grub Crawl –  10 Palmer Square inside the Nassau Inn – provided by princeton genius tours – Check in at the Pi Day information table in the Nassau Inn Lobby to receive your official Pi Day Princeton glasses and Smart Phone Grub Crawl route!  (Participating restaurants have Pi inspired foods that all smartypants will adore!)

Noon — Dinky Train rides with Einstein – Arts/Transit Train Station on Alexander Street – Meet Einstein, his mother and good friends. Be sure to dinkyeinsteinask “Einstein” where he is going on the train because sometimes he forgets.  Einstein is played by the one and only Bill Agress, Princeton resident and world reknown professional reenactor.  Departing Princeton Station at noon, 12:27 p.m. and 1 p.m.; departing Princeton Junction Station at 12:11 p.m., 12:37 p.m. and 1:11 p.m. $2.75 per adult each way, up to two kids (ages 5-11) can ride free with a passenger paying any valid fare.

SelanLerner1:00 p.m. – 1:30 P.M. – World Premiere of “The Future” with Selan ( – 10 Palmer Square inside the Nassau Inn Prince William Ballroom.  Selan is an American musician, singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, musical director and producer who has worked with Adele, Toni Braxton, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Sting, Alejandro Sanz, Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack.  He is known for being able to participate in countless musical genres while possessing perfect pitch and musical total recall, also known as eidetic memory.  He is launching his forthcoming album, “The Future” on Pi Day but participants of Pi Day Princeton will hear songs prior to the release date.  Selan was introduced to Pi at a young age and has held a fascination for its literal and symbolic meaning:  “The fact that the numerical sequence of Pi is infinite corresponds with the underlying message in my album entitled, “The Future”. The future is filled with the prospect of infinite possibilities. What will we do as humankind to steer things in the right direction? Will we continue to allow corruption, inequality and suffering to exist, especially when the core of the motives are profit and hate?”

cocktail_making_Riga1:00 pm – 1:59 pm — Serious Inventors Only Cocktail Making Class inside Einstein’s first residence –  Peacock Inn 20 Bayard Lane – You and a friend will learn how to construct the perfect cocktail and receive an exclusive tutoring session with Master Mixologist Josean Rosado. Pi Day priced at $53.14 per person. To pre-purchase tickets to this exclusive event contact the Peacock Inn directly.  (Was this really Einstein’s first residence?  Yep.  He stayed at the Peacock Inn whenever he visited Princeton even the night before moving into his first home in Princeton!)

1:30 p.m. — Pi Recitation Contest at 10 Palmer Square inside Nassau Inn in the Prince William Ballroom. Marc Umile, 2007 Pi Recitation North American Champion withmarcumile more than 15,000 digits of Pi is the official judge of the event along with judges are from Princeton University.  Academic celebrity attendees include Gareth Conway, age 13 and 2-time Pi Day Princeton champion and his father, John Conway, Professor of Mathematics and John Von Neumann, Distinguished Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University.  All participants will win a free Pi Day Princeton commemorative tee shirt and Winner of the Youth Category (aged 7yrs – 13yrs) compete to win $314.15!   Email   to register your child 13yrs and younger.  (We used to allow adults to perform at this event but, well, it got too long so this event is only for kids 13yrs and younger!  Hope everyone understands!)  THIS IS ANOTHER STANDING ROOM ONLY EVENT PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY AND PLEASE ARRIVE BY 12:15PM TO REGISTER YOUR CHILD TO PARTICIPATE IF YOU MISSED ONLINE REGISTRATION!

After Pi Recitation – Princeton Pi-Rade led by winner of Pi Recitation Contest – 10 Palmer Square inside PiParadethe Nassau Inn Prince William Ballroom –  …you read that right … it’s a “parade” to celebrate Pi!  After the Pi Recitation Competition, the winner of the Pi Recitation Event will be Grand Master of the PiRade and lead the parade throughout Palmer Square.  Meet in the back of the Prince William Ballroom after the winner is announced  to receive a digit of Pi for each member of your family.  The winner of Pi Recitation and the folks from Princeton Tour Company will lead the first 314 people to walk a circular path throughout the sidewalks of historic Palmer Square.  Bring you camera for this once in a lifetime chance to be in a Pi “Parade” on 3.14.16!

PrincetonPie1:59 pm. Pizza Pi Competition sponsored by Princeton Pi and princeton genius tours at 84 Nassau Street.    On Pi Day, one elementary, middle school and high school aged participant will be chosen to compete at this event.  Contestants will be chosen based on enthusiasm and creativity!  Each competitor will have 5 minutes to choose from all the ingredients at Princeton Pi to create the best pizza!  Judges will be selected from the audience!    All participants will win a free Pi Day Princeton commemorative wrist band and winning participant will win one free medium cheese pizza each month for the remainder of 2016!  


2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Watch a Pi-Recitation Champion Break the American Record (and train to break the World Record by 2017) – 10 Palmer Square in the Nassau Inn – Sebastian James will attempt to recite 20,000 digits of Pi, breaking the American record. This three-hour event will take place inside the Nassau Inn and people are cordially invited to attend and watch something quite remarkable. Please go to information desk to inquire about location inside the Inn.  Sebastian will also be attempting to set a new world record far in excess of 70,000 digits of Pi later in the year.


PieJudging2:45 p.m. — Best Apple Pie in Princeton Contest at 10 Palmer Square inside the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, Nassau Inn – sponsored by Kitchen Twins.   Yep, sponsored by THE Kitchen Twins – owners of of Make Your Own Kale Chips and finalists in Chopped Junior! The Kitchen Twins will select apple pies from local bakeries and residents of Princeton determine the winner of the coveted “Best Tasting Pie in Princeton” award.   The first 50 guests who arrive will serve as judges.     Winning baker wins the all the bragging rights until 3/14/17!

piethrow2_Princeton_blog_main_horizontal3:14 p.m. — Pie Throwing Event at the Palmer Square Green. $1 per throw with all proceeds to benefit the Princeton Educational Fund Teacher Mini-Grant Program.

3:30 p.m. Interactive Session for Children Ages 6-10yrs – Third Floor of the Princeton Public Library – Come to this fun event led by the staff of the Historical Society of Princeton and the Princeton Public Library. In this special Pi Day event we will examine the life of the man whose name has become synonymous with “genius.” There will be a story time and craft plus children will learn fascinating facts, such as how a childhood fascination with a compass played a role in the development of the Nobel prize-winning scientist. We will wrap things up by snacking on vanilla ice cream while enjoying some music by Mozart, two of Einstein’s favorite things.

einsteincupcake4:00 pm. House of Cupcakes Decorating Competition sponsored by House of Cupcakes at 32 Witherspoon Street.   Bring your besties and compete to be the #1 Cupcake Decorator in Princeton!  Each competitor will have 5 minutes to decorate a cupcake which best represents Pi or Einstein!  Judges will be selected from the audience and contestants will be chosen by the number of friends and family they bring to cheer them on!   Grab a dozen or so friends and compete in this inaugural event!  Winning participant will win one free cupcake each month for the remainder of 2016! 

nerdpubcrawl5:00 p.m. — Nerd Herd Smart Phone Pub Crawl –  Check in 10 Palmer Square inside the Nassau Inn and go to  Yankee Doodle Tap Room to receive your nerd glasses and Smart Phone Pub Crawl route!  (Only nerds 21 yrs and above will receive access to the map of participating bars!)

7:00 p.m. – Smart Phone Self Guided Pub Crawl provided by princeton genius tours, where the founder of Pi Day, Mimi Omiecinski, will announce how much money was raised to benefit the Princeton Education Foundation Teacher Mini-Grant Program via the 3.14.15 commemorative bracelets!

Pi Day Princeton

Sunday, 3.13.16

poster-519:00 a.m. — Walk a Pi Event sponsored by YMCA Princeton – 59 Paul Robeson Place.  Grab your gym bag and head to the new work out facility at YMCA at 59 Paul Robeson Place.  Log 3.14 miles on one of the state of the art treadmills or elliptical trainers, take a photo of your Pi Mile and post it on the Pi Day Princeton Facebook PageAll participants will win  free two week trial membership with a waived joiner fee if you join the YMCA!

9:00 a.m. – Einstein Inspired Running Event sponsored by Princeton Running Company – 108 piccadilly-london-uk-8th-july-2012-albert-einsteins-run-the-british-cmb1y9Nassau Street.  Join the weekly running group for a 6-8 mile run – at 3.14 miles the group will sing “Happy Birthday” to Princeton’s favorite genius!  All participants dressed as Einstein will win a free commemorative Pi Day bracelet!

Landau-Einstein-Museum-1-1024x70610:00 a.m. — Hourly Guided Tours of Einstein Museum – 10a thru 4p sponsored by Landau at 102 Nassau Street!  Join Princeton Tour Company tour guides to see the only museum dedicated to Time Magazine’s Man of the Century!  First come, first served.  Groups limited to 25 each hour.  Commemorative tee shirts for sale at the only Einstein Museum in North America inside Landau at 102 Nassau Street!

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Einstein in Princeton Guided Walking Tour – Join Tim Fagin to see the homes and hangouts of Prineton’s most beloved genius.  These are brisk paced walks and cover nearly 3 miles.  If you’re worried about keeping up with the group, consider the hourly tours of the museum at Landau.  First come, first serve.  Groups limited to 50 per group.

einsteinhouse2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m.  Einstein in Princeton Guided Walking Tour – Join Princeton Tour Company Guides to see the homes and hangouts of Prineton’s most beloved genius.  These are brisk paced walks and cover nearly 3 miles.  If you’re worried about keeping up with the group, consider the hourly tours of the museum at Landau.  First come, first serve.  Groups limited to 50 per group.


Pi Day Princeton

Monday, 3.14.16


QTPi12:00 p.m. — 1:59 p.m. Nerd Herd Smart Phone Grub Crawl –  10 Palmer Square inside the Nassau Inn – provided by princeton genius tours – Check in at the Nassau Inn Lobby to receive your official Pi Day Princeton glasses and Smart Phone Grub Crawl route!  (Some participating restaurants have Pi inspired foods that all smartypants will adore!)


6:30 p.m. — Nerd Herd Smart Phone Pub Crawl –  Check in 10 Palmer Square insidepubcrawlpiday the Nassau Inn and provided by princeton genius tours – go to  Yankee Doodle Tap Room to receive your nerd glasses and Smart Phone Pub Crawl route!  (Only nerds 21 yrs and above will receive access to the map of participating bars!)  We’ll sing Happy Birthday to Albert Einstein and let the party begin!

Want an idea of what Pi Day in Princeton looks like?  Here’s a video of the 2015 celebration done by our friends at Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty!

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