When we called Lahiere's to arrange the photo shoot for Pat Tanner's cover story on business dining etiquette, we asked Joe Christen, the restaurant owner, if he had a bottle of white zinfandel for us to photograph. "Unfortunately," said Christen. (He agrees with Tanner, who puts ordering that much-maligned wine on her Top 10 list of Dining Don'ts.)
So began one of the most entertaining photo shoots that we have had this year. For elegance in dining we had picked Lahiere's. For elegance in apparel, Nick Hilton (a fourth generation clothier) good humoredly agreed to show up dressed to the nines and model bad manners.
It was one of those 100-plus degree days in July. The lunch crowd was just finishing dessert when photographer Craig Terry arrived to scope out a table by the window with good light. The waiter, who said he had two degrees in advertising and therefore took a particular interest in our task, supplied the accouterments - wine, bread, and butter, and Paul Robinson, the head chef, donated a plate of already cut-up meat.
On that blistering hot day Hilton arrived wearing a beautifully (of course) tailored dark suit and French cuffs. At first he was a little edgy, saying "I told my wife that you said you wouldn't make me look like an oaf," but then he got into "character," miming how not to slather a whole piece of bread with butter, leaning over to the right to use the wrong butter dish, and slopping wine into an overly full glass.
By the end of the shoot Hilton was so energized that he launched into an over-the-top comic rendition of an obnoxious Hollywood-style mogul, chewing with his mouth full and gesturing with his fork. We couldn't resist printing part of that sequence, along with a portrait of the "real" Nick Hilton, the one who firmly believes that the right clothes will help elicit the right manners, at the dinner table or at the conference table (page 21).
We always like to note the successes of contributors to our Summer Fiction issue and this year we salute the theatrical accomplishment of Marvin Harold Cheiten, whose submissions to our fiction issue have included poems, short stories, and plays. Last weekend Cheiten mounted a full-scale staged production of his new drama, "Zenobia," at Princeton University's Hamilton Murray Theater.
Because this play had just a four-day run at the home of Princeton Summer Theater, U.S. 1's Preview section was unable to give it a timely review. The critic for the big city Newark Star-Ledger knocked Cheiten's play for "too many short scenes," but praised its "big characters, and bigger events."
We are not drama critics, but we know we were captivated by Cheiten's seemingly effortless iambic pentameter, amused by the rhymed couplets that denoted the end of every scene, and surprised by the ending. At a time when every drama writer and his or her cousin are pitching their stories to the lucrative television market, one of our own readers has created an original work for the stage. Summer fiction gives way to summer drama.
In his August 10 column Richard K. Rein wondered if the grand new plaza in front of the Princeton Public Library would become the public gathering place its designers envision. One thing that would have helped, he wrote, would have been the retail stores on Spring Street open onto the square via their back doors.
Now comes this letter from a Spring Street retailer, echoing that idea, along with a reaction from the developer.
To the Editor:
For more than two years I have waited patiently for my store's entrance facing the library to be reopened. That time should have been months ago when the library's plaza became open to pedestrians.
However, the developer, Nassau HKT, continues to block my store with unneeded construction fences. The borough administrator and council say it is HKT's responsibility and his excuse is liability. But neither seem to have concerns of liability when it comes to exposing the public to an active construction site of a restaurant, apartments, and stores.
After repeated requests for assistance from the borough administrator and borough council I just keep hearing they sympathize but it's up to the developer. Both say they are committed to helping small businesses stay in Princeton but seem to have no clout with their developer. If I were a corporate chain my customers would have had temporary access to the plaza months ago.
I am asking the Princeton community that I have been supportive of for the last 12 years to urge HKT to do the right thing and give Shop The World back its access before the summer is over. Please call or send them the message. Be fair to Princeton's Original Fair trade Store.
Shop the World
4 Spring Street, Princeton
Editor's note: We contacted Robert Powell of Nassau HKT who had not yet read Carpe's letter but was surprised by the interest.
"Jill Carpe told me six months ago that she was totally unaware of the plans for the plaza, which were the subject of six or eight hearings," said Powell. "The plans were approved two years ago by the Princeton Regional Planning Board and that is what we are in the process of building. If changes are to be made to any of those elements, they would be communicated to us by our client, the Borough. It is very late in the process to make any changes."