Winged burning bush, Euonymus alatus

The Impact of Invasive Species

By Taylor Smith

in·va·sive

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “invasive” as “the onset or appearance of something harmful or troublesome, as a disease.”

A massive influx of invasive flora and fauna has negatively impacted huge swaths of our native ecosystem, disrupting plant, animal, and human function. In contrast, native plants help to sustain native wildlife like butterflies, birds, mammals, reptiles, beneficial insects, and other fauna.

The vision of Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) is to protect New Jersey’s natural lands with their native plants. Its focus is on eliminating threats posed by newly emerging invasive species before they become widespread pests. Created to do just that, the FoHVOS New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team is currently working on a project to protect rare species throughout the municipality of Princeton. more

A plume of flame signals the liftoff of the Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle and astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins from Kennedy Space Center. (Photo by NASA)

Montclair’s Buzz Aldrin and the Apollo 11 Mission

By Donald H. Sanborn III

July 20 will mark the 50th anniversary of the day that Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Montclair, New Jersey, native Dr. Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Despite the recent films First Man and Apollo 11; the character of Buzz Lightyear from Disney’s Toy Story series, named after Aldrin; and a commemorative coin launched by the U.S. Mint; some question the extent to which the milestone is remembered today.

“Knowledge of the moon landing has kind of receded into the past, and people are unaware that we were actually a very active space-faring nation back in the 1960s,” says William Murray, the planetarium technician for the New Jersey State Museum. The museum now presents “Many Inspired Steps,” a retrospective of the moon landing.

Jacob Brandt, a composer and lyricist who conceived the song cycle, 1969: The Second Man, remarks that “Aldrin was just as integral to that mission as Neil Armstrong. There were hundreds of thousands of people working to make the moon landing happen. But in our collective memory we think of Armstrong first, even though he stepped on the moon minutes before Aldrin did. We don’t often think of Aldrin.” more

Main building, Ellis Island

The Immigration Experience at Historic Ellis Island

by Taylor Smith | Photos courtesy of The National Park Service and Wikimedia Commons

More than 12 million immigrants passed through the U.S. immigration portal at New York’s Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. These determined individuals — many of whom were escaping extreme poverty, famine, and persecution — often spent all of their savings on a single ticket, causing many families to become separated. Teenage children were left to cross the ocean alone, not knowing what was in store for them when they arrived in America, or whether they would every see their parents again.

This uncertainty did not dissipate after the ships sailed past the Statue of Liberty, a literal beacon of light, hope, and freedom to the arriving passengers. The inspection process at Ellis Island was another big hurdle to cross, and the health and confidence of the arriving immigrants — who often did not speak English and had eaten little and seldom bathed during their long journey — was not strong.

All arriving passengers were processed in the Registry Room where they were organized in pens similar to cattle or livestock. Public Health Service doctors poked and prodded as they asked the new arrivals to cough, stand up straight, and answer a few questions to assess their psychological state. Special attention was paid to individuals who appeared weak and off balance, struggling to carry their own luggage up the broad staircase to the Registry Room. Of primary concern were cholera, scalp and nail fungus, tuberculosis, epilepsy, trachoma, insanity, and other mental impairments. Trachoma, a contagious eye infection that can lead to blindness and death, was itself somewhat akin to a death sentence, sending afflicted patients back to their home country. During their examination, Ellis Island physicians used a hooked metal tool to literally flip a new arrival’s eyelid inside out. Excessive redness on the under-eyelid was taken as suspected trachoma. Cases of misdiagnosis were not uncommon.  more

Ellis Island Arrivals, Ellis Island mural detail, 1937. Photo courtesy of The Public Buildings Service, General Services Administration, Washington, DC.

By Stuart Mitchner

Mural painters love walls. In place of a symbolic denial of freedom, a barrier between two countries, they see an immense panorama of possibility, a space free but necessarily and beautifully finite. When muralist Edward Laning (1906-1981) looked at the 100-foot-long wall of the Aliens Dining Hall at Ellis Island, he was pondering his assigned subject, “The Role of the Immigrant in the Industrial Development of America.” He was happy to have the work. It was 1934, he was broke and months behind in his rent for a top-floor loft with skylights on East 17th Street. As he recalls in “Memoirs of a WPA Painter” in American Heritage (October 1970), doing justice to his subject meant “learning how railroads were built and saw mills were operated and coal was mined and steel was manufactured.” more

By Taylor Smith 

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. Cells in nearly all parts of the body can become cancerous, but most colorectal cancers start with growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, called polyps. Some types of polyps change into cancer over time and others never become cancerous. Neal Luppescu, MD, a gastroenterologist at Summit Medical Group explains, “There are numerous risk factors doctors have identified that affect your risk of developing colon cancer. The most important thing is to schedule a colonoscopy screening.” more

Photos Courtesy of Camp Rim Rock

By Taylor Smith 

My summer camp experiences as a child and teenager are some of my most vivid memories. Growing up in Princeton, I attended Rambling Pines Day Camp (https://www.ramblingpines.com) in Hopewell with my younger brother when I was 8 years old. I immediately enjoyed being able to spend all day outdoors, riding mountain bikes, playing tennis, and swimming, before taking the bus home — sweaty, contented, and freckled.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Jump, swing, fly, and tackle 18 obstacles and 3.1 miles of mud at MuckFest New Jersey in Somerset on Saturday, July 20 at 9 a.m. Presented locally by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, MuckFest New Jersey is a high-octane obstacle course from start to finish.  more

By Taylor Smith 

NJ Sharing Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissues for those in need of a life-saving transplant. According to its website, nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are in need of a transplantation. The organization operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is staffed by a team of more than 150 highly-trained and dedicated advocates.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Pizza in New York City is a hotly-contested subject, as everyone has their favorite. However, a Roman-style import on the Upper East Side is winning over new fans for its airy, crispy, square pies. 

PQR (Pizza Quadrata Romana), at 1631 2nd Avenue, uses “high hydration and long fermentation” to create a chewy, delightful pie crust that is based on the pizza of Rome. The mastermind behind PQR is Angelo Iezzi, who also happens to be president of the Associazione Pizzerie Italiane. more

By Taylor Smith 

Summer is a time when kids can spend their days outside the confines of a classroom and instead participate in playdates, swimming adventures, travel, camp, and exploration. It provides a wonderful opportunity for children to grown cognitively and emotionally without the confines of a regimented schedule. However, it can also be a time when children are exposed to new germs, risks, and illnesses. Here are a few tips for ensuring a healthy and happy summer for your family.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located south of Ocean City and just north of Stone Harbor and Avalon, Mike’s Seafood and Dock Restaurant has been a Jersey Shore staple in Sea Isle City since 1911.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Tucked away in West Cape May, Beach Plum Farm is a 62-acre working farm that produces over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as chickens, eggs, and Berkshire hogs. Produce from Beach Plum Farms is used by a number of popular Cape May restaurants including Blue Pig Tavern, The Ebbitt Room, Louisa’s Cafe, the Boiler Room, and the Rusty Nail. The Farm is also home to a large market, farm kitchen, fine dining, and cottages. Visitors can easily spend an afternoon shopping, eating, and wandering the grounds, or even an entire weekend, to disconnect from the rushed pace of everyday life. Beach Plum also welcomes weddings and private events.  more

By Taylor Smith

Located in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Wayne County, Lake Bryn Mawr Camp for Girls is a rural summer haven that prides itself on building “summer sisters” among girls ages 7 to 15.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Blue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar, located at 2 Whippany Road in Morristown, offers New American cuisine, a sushi and raw bar, and more than 70 wines by the glass. The culinary farm-to-table experience is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with an extended breakfast on Sundays until 1 p.m. more

By Taylor Smith 

Grounded in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition, Drew Theological School is a leading seminary in Madison, N.J., offering four unique master’s programs and two doctoral programs.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Brant Lake Camp, founded in 1916, is one of the oldest single-family owned camps in the United States. Situated in the Adirondack Mountains, 3.5 hours from New York City, Brant Lake serves as a summer “home away from home” for boys ages 7 to 15. With the motto of “Where sports are done right,” Brant’s facilities include 15 tennis courts, three baseball fields, two soccer fields, eight basketball courts, a roller hockey rink, two volleyball courts, a climbing wall, an archery range, a putting green, and a large multi-sport stadium.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Memorial Sloan Kettering, known for superior cancer care, has a new location. Memorial Sloan Kettering Bergen (MSK Bergen), at 225 Summit Avenue in Montvale, N.J., is situated an hour and 30 minutes from Princeton and less than 60 minutes from New York City. The Bergen County community borders six neighboring municipalities: Woodcliff Lake, Upper Saddle River, Park Ridge, and River Vale in Bergen County; and both Pearl River and Chestnut Ridge in Rockland County, N.Y. Montvale is easily accessed by the Garden State Parkway, along with the New York State Thruway.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Yogurt — with branches in Spring Lake Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Little Silver, and Long Branch — seems to scream summer at the Shore. 

Beginning in 1955, Hoffman’s Ice Cream operated as one of the first Carvel Ice Cream stores in New Jersey. When the franchise expired in 1976, the owners changed the name to Hoffman’s and grew a reputation of their own. The store’s original location was, and still is, in Point Pleasant Beach. more

By Taylor Smith 

Governor Phil Murphy held a press conference at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, June 10 to reveal the 2019 inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Among this year’s class are Game of Thrones author and Bayonne native George R.R. Martin. Born in 1948, Martin’s father was a longshoreman. Now residing primarily in Santa Fe, N.M., Martin claims to still be a huge fan of the New York Jets, New York Giants, and New York Mets.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Slamwich Scratch Kitchen at 143 Main Street in Madison, N.J., was founded by Sam Freund and George Braun IV with the intent of perfecting the American craft of a handmade sandwich. Armed with the passion and understanding of what a delicatessen should be, the two founders pride themselves on making everything from scratch, including the cured pastrami, house bread, pickles, and condiments. The sandwiches are elevated enough, in terms of quality and taste profile, that Slamwich is actually a fantastic spot for a night out.  more

By Taylor Smith 

A comfy studio located at 580 Allen Road in Basking Ridge, Glow offers yoga and Pilates classes for all levels, plus special wall-suspension therapeutics.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located at 33 Bridge Street in historic Frenchtown, Early Bird Espresso has grown into a beloved coffee stop, particularly among the cycling community. With long daily hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Early Bird is seemingly always open for a quick pick-me-up. Early Bird’s roaster, Counter Culture (a very chocolate-driven, nutty brew), is complemented by Trickling Springs Creamery, a premium organic and non-GMO dairy in Chambersburg, Pa. more

By Taylor Smith 

Summertime in New Jersey is cause for celebration, and the warmer temperatures and bucolic surroundings encourage many residents to venture outdoors. The Mercer and Hunterdon county areas are home to state parks, meadows, fields, untouched forests, and a vast trail system tracing the Delaware River. However, one thing to be conscious of is the plethora of ticks.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Located on the Jersey Shore, Long Branch is a happening place with close proximity to New York City, NJ Transit trains, and Northern New Jersey. New to the area is Wave Resort, an extension of the recently-built Pier Village, which has become a shopping and dining hub for day trippers. Located at 110 Ocean Avenue, Wave Resort is a hotel and upscale spa. Visitors can lounge on the pool deck and take in expansive views of the Atlantic. There is also a swim-up bar and an upscale Mediterranean-inspired restaurant known as 1000 Ocean.  more

By Taylor Smith 

David Gray’s Gold in a Brass Age tour will come to Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank on Wednesday, June 5 at 8 p.m.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Lego, the classic children’s brick-building company, has announced the release of customized bricks designed to help children who are blind or visually impaired to learn to read Braille.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The celebrated 2019 Spring Lake Irish Festival will take place on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 5 p.m. Affectionately dubbed the “Jersey Shore’s Irish Riviera” for its history of Irish culture and immigration, Spring Lake is the spot for this annual event featuring live music, dancing, food, children’s activities, and shopping. Traditions like the Irish Soda Bread Contest, beer and wine garden, and Irish step dancers are favorites. This year’s musical acts are The Snakes and Doubting Toms.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The recent measles outbreak has sparked much discussion over vaccinations, particularly as they apply to children. What some people may not realize is that there are a variety of vaccines recommended for adults as well. Childhood vaccines wear off over time and factors like your age, job, lifestyle, and degree of travel can indicate an increased risk for certain preventable diseases. And the CDC states that older, hospitalized adults have immune systems similar to newborn babies, making them particularly vulnerable to infections.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The BirthPlace at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck is designed to help expectant families feel safe, informed, and comforted about their birth experience. Moms are welcome to bring their doulas, and certified nurse-midwives are on staff. Holy Name’s board-certified obstetricians/gynecologists, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, perinatologists, and neonatologists are available on-site 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Birthing partners are also welcome to spend the night and flexible visiting hours include family and friends.  more