Share the joy of the season in Highland Park by supporting downtown events and shops

The Holiday Season in Highland Park – which officially began last week with a spectacular outdoor Nutcracker Suite dance performance – kicks into high gear on Friday, Nov 26. Share the joy of the season and support the small business community by attending the Farmers Market, the Artisan Market, shopping local with all sorts of discounts, and participating in the Gingerbread House contest. Black Friday Farmers Market 212 RARITAN AVE (OUTDOORS)

Friday – Nov. 27, 11 AM – 4:30 PMMusic from Roux Bedrosian, 3 PM – 4:30 PM (weather permitting)

Holiday Artisan Market 212 RARITAN AVE (OUTDOORS)

Saturday – Nov. 28, 1 PM – 7 PMMusic from Michael Lawton, 4 PM – 7 PM (weather permitting)

Sunday – Nov. READ MORE

Personal Perspective: Downtown Highland Park came alive with live ballet from the “Nutcracker” by American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School

The Nutcracker, the thrilling ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, has been a joyful element of my Christmas season for nearly every Christmas since 1964, when the American Repertory Ballet (ARB), formerly Princeton Ballet, made the ballet an annual holiday tradition. I have seen the production an estimated 150 times at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, State Theater in New Brunswick, and the War Memorial in Trenton – not only because it gives me goose bumps, but also (full disclosure number one) because my daughter and my granddaughter have danced in dozens of productions. This year, COVID-19 positioned itself to be the Grinch that would steal the 2020 holiday sweet treat from not only my family, but also countless other families throughout New Jersey. But ARB and the students of its affiliated Princeton Ballet School (PBS) teamed up with Main Street Highland Park (MSHP) in a perfect pas de deux to thwart the Grinch. On Saturday afternoon, Nov 21, ARB, PBS and MSHP produced Princeton Ballet School’s Nutcracker Suite – outside, with masks, with technical dance excellence, and with unbridled joy, in front of audience members, sitting socially distant, with masks and without paying a penny for a truly inspiring show. READ MORE

Elections for Highland Park residents offer no drama – until you get to the Office of the U.S. President

In Highland Park’s uncontested Borough Council election, Matthew Hersh was elected to a three-year term beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Matt returns to council, after serving on council from 2016-2018,  reluctantly resigning because of a job conflict. Now having a different job, he is very pleased to be able to work once again on behalf of his community. And incumbent Elsie Foster, who has been a council member since 2000, was elected to another three-year term. READ MORE

The Big Treat for Halloween Was an Extra Hour of Sleep – Set Those Clocks Back

Finally, something to celebrate in 2020. The weather on Saturday, October 31, 2020 was perfect for Highland Park’s hundreds of trick-or-treaters and their parents enjoying the holiday in the sunshine, albeit under a cloud of COVID protocols. But most had no problem adjusting to the new normal of Halloween 2020 that featured creativity not only in costume but also in candy delivery. Particularly happy features of the day were: the candy chutes shooting candy from the porches into the bags of the trick-or-treaters; all the candy (this year many full-size bars!) left on tables and stoops outside of homes; and adults and kids reveling in seeing their friends non-virtually for the first time in months. Because of masks, the smiles were hidden, but the eyes sparkled with excitement. READ MORE

Main Street Highland Park Offers a Halloween Week that will be a treat for everyone – while avoiding all mischief from COVID-19.

MASKS ARE A MUST! And we aren’t just talking about Halloween costume masks – you have to have a cloth or medical mask covering both your mouth and nose even if you are also wearing a costume mask. Keep your neighbors safe! STAY OUTDOORS AND SIX FEET APART AT ALL TIMES! Please do not go door-to-door inside businesses; help keep our business owners safe. READ MORE

Dr. Denise Hien, national leader in area of addictions treatment, appointed as inaugural holder of Rutgers University “Chaney” Chair in Alcohol Studies

The Rutgers University Board of Governors on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 appointed Denise Hien, a leader in the field of post-traumatic stress and addictions, as the inaugural holder of the Helen E. Chaney Chair in Alcohol Studies. Dr. Hien is director of Rutgers University’s Center of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Studies (CAS) and associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP). Her work has shaped current evidence-based treatment of addictions and trauma-related psychiatric disorders and their comorbidity, particularly among women. She has received sustained funding for over 20 years from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and has served as a reviewer and work group member for federal funding institutions. 

Dr. Hien joined Rutgers as CAS director in October 2017 and has increased the center’s visibility in shaping the national conversation about traumatic stress and its role in the development and maintenance of alcohol and other substance use disorders. Over her career, she has served on the doctoral faculties of the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and the City College of New York. READ MORE

Fifth Annual Highland Park Window Art Walk Oct. 4, 2 p.m. Features Inspiring Local Art In Person and Online

..Now with masks and social distancing! Main Street Highland Park, the Highland Park Art Collective, and the Highland Park Arts Commission have teamed up to bring you the artwork of local artists in Highland Park storefronts for the fifth year in a row! This year they are offering a guided walking art crawl of the art both IN PERSON and VIRTUAL! The in-person Window Art Crawl will be on Sunday October 4 from 2pm – 4pm and will start at Garden Party (72 Raritan Avenue). The artist-led tour of the window displays will end at Pino’s around 4pm. READ MORE

Rutgers-Led Project Will Buy 76,000 Oysters From Farmers Struggling During COVID-19 Pandemic

A Rutgers-led project will buy 76,000 oysters from New Jersey oyster farmers who are struggling to sell the shellfish following the shutdown of restaurants and indoor dining as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The oysters, to be purchased for 65 cents apiece, will be transplanted from Delaware Bay-area farms to targeted oyster restoration sites in Little Egg Harbor and the Mullica River in New Jersey this month. “I hope this project will serve as a model for future efforts and establish a shellfish exchange that will serve as a broker linking shellfish farmers and restoration practitioners,” said project leader Lisa M. Calvo, a marine scientist and aquaculture program coordinator at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory and New Jersey Sea Grant. “Our approach benefits the environment and provides an opportunity for shellfish farmers to diversify their businesses, supporting a sustainable and healthy future for Delaware Bayshore ecosystems and economies. Such collaboration will make an already green aquaculture industry even more environmentally beneficial.”

Oysters are tremendously beneficial to the environment, serving as habitat for a suite of commercially and recreationally important fish, improving water quality and sequestering nitrogen and carbon, Calvo said. READ MORE

Candlelight Vigil in Honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – October 7, 2020

The League of Women Voters of the Greater New Brunswick Area, in coalition with the New Brunswick Area Branch NAACP, the Pride Center of New Jersey, the Latino Action Network, theAnti-Poverty Network, the Puerto Rican Action Board, and New Brunswick Tomorrow, invites you to a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 5:00 PM at Monument Square Park, 2 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. Information on registration and voting procedures for the November 3 General Election will also be available. Speakers at the event include: Shanti Narra, Middlesex County Freeholder, Yvonne Lopez, Assemblywoman for the 19th Legislative District, Lori Sokol, PhD, Executive Director of Women’s eNews, and other distinguished guests. We honor Justice Ginsberg for her lifelong commitment to equal justice under the law and the elimination of discrimination of all types. Prior to her seventeen year tenure on the United States Supreme Court, Justice Ginsberg was a professor at the Rutgers University School of Law, the first woman to be hired with tenure at the Columbia University School of Law, and General Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. READ MORE

Personal Perspective: School’s back, so let’s think back to summer fun

Now that school days are back – in a most unusual way – it is a good time to remember those who labored to implement COVID-safe summertime activities for kids. COVID put a damper on many summer kids’ activities, but I would like to shine a spotlight on just a few of several programs that managed to bring sunshine into the lives of youngsters. The reporters on this topic are -not surprisingly – my grandkids. Camp Cool—located at 19 South Second Avenue at the Reformed Church Highland Park was “really cool,” in the words of 10 year old Harry Solomon.  The camp adopted “rigorous” COVID prevention measures, while with equal energy pursued a wide variety of fun activities – with participants remaining socially distant and masked, said Harry.  Harry made particular note of the camp’s “Theater Week, when we had a variety of acting exercises, such as acting out different people in our lives.”

Eleven year old Rubin Hersh elaborated: “With four air purifiers, two air dehumidifiers and two air conditioners, Camp Cool has been a fun, and safe camp even during coronavirus. READ MORE