So you’ve been down to New Frick for Orgo lecture, trekked up to Hoagie Haven for a Phat Lady, braved the journey to Forbes and ventured, perhaps, to the Battlefield. You might think you’ve mastered our Orange Bubble, but beyond the gates of our fair University lies a mysterious land of skateboarding teens, pastel sweaters, brown bears and tree-lined sidewalks ripe for discovery and conquest. I speak, of course, of the town of Princeton.
There is so much more to the 08540 beyond the bounds of the buildings you can access with your Prox. The following is just a sampling of the weird, wonderful world of Princeton. If the Bubble ever gets you too down, we hope you’ll take a trip up Nassau and beyond.
The Other Small WorldI have never been any farther down Nassau Street than Hoagie Haven, and that too only at night. So finding out that the mythical second location of Small World Coffee is less than a block past Hoagie Haven was a pleasant surprise. It wasn’t the only one, however.
The 254 Nassau St. branch of Small World Coffee has a different vibe than its sister cafe. For starters, it’s smaller. But it doesn’t look that way when you first enter — the airy, light-filled space has only a few tables and chairs, plus a couple of benches and tables out on the sidewalk. Though potentially inconvenient, this opens up the space to the sunlight slanting through the big windows. It’s about as different from the cramped and often crowded Small World on Witherspoon Street as you can get.
There are less obvious differences, too. As I manage to snatch the last open table (that, at least, reminds me of the other location) and pull out my computer, I realize no one else has one open. The mystery is solved when I order and ask for the Wi-Fi password, only to hear that there is no Wi-Fi at all. Instead, two teenage boys practice Arabic in one corner, an old couple silently reads books and several men in business attire are having a lively conversation at one of the outside tables. There is no one that looks remotely like a student, and I must say, it is kind of refreshing.
I sip my vanilla latte. That, too, hasn’t changed.
There are much more convenient locations to get Small World Coffee; even if you don’t want to make it to the Witherspoon branch, you have Frist Campus Center or Chancellor Green. But, as a breeze blows in a few scattered leaves through the threshold, I resolve to come here again, maybe next time with a book.
If, you know, I can survive the walk.
— Lakshmi Davey
Nassau St. Seafood & Produce Co.This summer, I took the last train to Ginza, karaoked for five hours and then waited in line for an hour at 4 a.m. so that I could experience the Tokyo Fish Market. A few days ago, I strolled down Nassau Street and found my way to Princeton’s very own fish market: Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Co.
Nestled right between Small World Coffee and Blue Point Grill, this little market and take-out restaurant is the perfect distance for a break from the Orange Bubble without actually leaving the Bubble. Baskets of apples and pears line the outside windows and inside, a glass case filled with an array of fish and seafood reminds you that this isn’t your average Nassau Street establishment.
As I waited for my grilled salmon wrap, I got the chance to just observe the happenings of the small place. One of the men working was answering a woman’s inquiry about the butterfish. It is oily, rich, sweet and yes, soy sauce would be a great marinade. However, butterfish is not as oily as Chilean sea bass, added the man working at the register.
A couple on their way home from a tennis match debated what they wanted for dinner and what looked freshest. Two men carried out buckets of the fish that had been fileted, further proof of how fresh everything is. A woman greeted them all by name as she swooped in, clearly a regular.All of this occurred in the time it took to grill my salmon, which was also the amount of time it took for me to fall in love with this little place. After that, my delicious wrap was just icing on the cake — tartar sauce on my fish, if you will.
— Katie Bauman
Princeton CemeteryThe Princeton Cemetery is exactly what it sounds like: a really large grassy area with a lot of dead people in it. There’s a really large mausoleum that’s pretty cool, if you’re into that sort of stuff, and some of the graves are really quite beautiful. However, other graves essentially look like above-ground stone coffins that send a shiver up my spine upon first glance. If you’re a history buff, it may interest you that Aaron Burr’s bones are sitting somewhere in the graveyard. But if you’re a super paranoid child like me, then maybe this isn’t the place to go looking for an adventure off campus.
Seriously though, I was walking down Witherspoon Street along the edge of the graveyard, and it felt like all the sound had been sucked out of the air. There were very few cars on the road and no one outside, even though it was just past noon on a Saturday. I suppose it didn’t help that the clouds had rolled in after a misleading, gloriously sunny morning. I wasn’t quite sure if the silence around me was blissfully serene, or totally eerie.
I walked along the fence for a good portion of the graveyard looking for a way to get in and was relieved when I couldn’t find one. But, on my way back up Witherspoon, I did happen to glance down a small street where I saw a break in the fence — and when I say break, I mean it looked like a large creature had ripped out a section of it. No thanks.I scurried back up to Nassau Street as fast as I could. Upon returning to my room, I uploaded the few pics that I took onto Facebook, only to have it attempt to tag “faces” that didn’t exist in the photos. I think I’ll be watching a lot of cartoons before I go to bed.
— Christine Wang
Farmers’ MarketThe average Princeton student may be reluctant to harbor any fond feelings for New Jersey, but Jersey in the fall is glorious — especially with a visit to Princeton’s own farmers’ market. Every Thursday, the Princeton Farmers’ Market sets up an impressive spread of food from local farmers and businesses in the Hinds Plaza next to the Princeton Public Library. Some stands are from familiar businesses in town, like Witherspoon Bread Company and Tico’s Juice Bar, but others exist just far enough outside of our Bubble to otherwise go totally unnoticed. You’ll find fruit, vegetables and flowers from local farms; freshly made ketchup from First Field (those tomatoes on Jersey state license plates aren’t totally arbitrary); inventive crepes made right before your eyes at the Jammin’ Crepes stand; and free cheesecake samples from The Great American Cheesecake. The market is open every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 15, and you can look forward to a holiday market on Dec. 13 inside of the library. I’d recommend a trip to the farmers’ market — the food is delicious, and more importantly, you’ll finally have something to say in defense of New Jersey when you are, inevitably, provoked.
— Lekha Kanchinadam