Even though I grew about one hour from Princeton, I had only set foot in the city once, when I went for my interview for a service academy nomination at Senator Bill Bradley’s office. On a recent drive up to NJ, I decided to take a detour to see the campus. I love the design and style of American college campuses, especially the older ones in the Northeast.
Princeton is the quintessential American university campus. Neogothic buildings abound. The quads around campus are perfectly designed and manicured, crisscrossed by diagonal walkways. As its Ivy League designation suggests, many of its buildings are covered in ivy. I was there on a Saturday last morning, when many of the students were probably still sleeping, so I don’t think I got a true snapshot of what a normal day is like there, but I saw a lot of the campus.
I thought the highlight of the campus was Nassau Hall, completed in 1756. It was the meeting place of the NJ Legislature in 1776 and for five months in 1783 was actually the Capitol of the United States. The tiger statues on its front steps are a great place to practice your photography.
Behind Nassau Hall is Cannon Green, the final resting place of a cannon used during the War of 1812. Supposedly the cannon, and another smaller one, is buried somewhere underneath the grass. On the opposite side of Cannon Green is the very sturdy looking Whig Building, a neoclassical gem that houses the Princeton Debate Club. Next door is East Pyne, the home of the university’s Classics Department, is another good example of Collegiate Gothic architecture.
The town of Princeton is also really nice but with Ollie in tow it was difficult to try out the local establishments. I ended up eating at a pizza place called Alfonso’s Pizzeria in a strip mall outside the city a little bit, off Rt. 533. The Italian sub I had there was ridiculously good.
This was a really quick stop so I can’t say I adequately covered Princeton but now I can appreciate how nice the campus is.