Outside Art: The Great Outdoor Sculptures of Princeton University

All over Princeton University, colorful, interesting and some mystifying pieces of art liven up the campus environment. And, while passersbys appreciate the art that surrounds them, the looming question, ‘What does it mean?’ often crosses the minds of observers.

From the giant fountain in front of Scudder Plaza to the huge, color-laden stained glass display outside of the art museum, all the way to the ‘emerald green thing’ between Stanhope Hall and West College, each piece of art adorning the campus has its own backstory – some of which we hope to explain a little bit about in this blog segment.

(Any) Body Oddly Propped (2015)

Any Body Oddly Propped

  • Created by artists Mike and Doug Stern
  • Made from glass, steel, and bronze
  • Located on the front lawn of the Princeton University Art Musuem
  • Inspired by energy systems found in nature
  • Invites visitors to linger amidst the sculpture and experience it under constantly shifting light conditions
  • Weighs nearly 8 tons and is constructed of six 18-foot tall colored glass panels

    Cubi Xiii (1963)
    Cubi XIII

  • Created by artist David Smith (1906-1965)
  • Made from stainless steel
  • Located between McCormick Hall and Whig Hall
  • Installed in 1969
  • David’s Smith’s final and most famed sculptures
  • The geometric shapes are assembled to evoke the human figure
  • Cubi Xiii traveled widely between the years of 1964-1969 before finding a home at Princeton Univeristy
  • Smith polished the stainless steel so that it would reflect the color of its surroundings
  • One in a series of 28 sculptures. One sold for over $23.8 million

    Centaur  (1954)
    Centaur with Pipes

  • Created by artist Dimitri Hadzi (1921-2006)
  • Located in the Prospect Gardens
  • Installed in 1971
  • Made from cast bronze
  • Inspired by Hadzi’s lifelong interest in mythology
  • His work is in the collections of many major museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
  • The fountain was commissioned by President Robert F. Goheen, a classicist, when Prospect House was still home to the University’s president

    Public Table (1979)
    Public Table

  • Created by artist Scott Burton (1939-1989)
  • Located between East Pyne Hall & Murray-Dodge Hall
  • Made from cast concrete
  • Installed in 1998
  • Burton’s work has been described as “sculpture in love with furniture”
  • It’s an actual usable table where students and passersby can socialize or study
  • Based on an identical example in the sculpture garden at General Mills in Minneapolis, MN
  • Burton believed that “art should place itself not in front of, but around, behind, and underneath the audience.”

    Oval with Points (1970)
    Oval with Points

  • Created by artist Sir Henry Moore (1898-1986)
  • Located between Stanhope Hall and West College
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 1971
  • Said to have been inspired by an elephant’s skull
  • The appearance of the sculpture changes when viewed from various angles. Some see resemble a face and as you walk further around, the face will contort like a comedy/tragedy masks on a theater façade.
  • There are other casts of the work in Kew Gardens and Columbus Museum of Art

    Head of a Woman (1971)
    Head of a woman

  • Originally created by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
  • Located between Spelman Halls and New South Building
  • Installed in 1971
  • Artist, Carl Nejar executed the sculpture from a 12-inch maquette that Picasso had completed in 1962
  • The sculpture is intended to depict the essence of the female form
  • Carl Nejar was often referred to as Picasso’s right arm
  • The sculpture is nearly 16’ high

    The Hedgehog and the Fox (2000)
    The Hedgehog and the Fox

  • Created by artist Richard Serra (1939)
  • Located between Lewis Library and Fine Hall
  • Made from Core-Ten steel
  • Installed in 2000
  • The title of the sculpture refers to an essay “The Hedgehog & the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin that points to how scholars become free thinkers and invent or become subjugated to the dictates of history.
  • The sculpture is 94 feet long and 15 feet high and invites visitors to walk through it
  • It is said that ‘without interaction with the piece, there is no piece’

    Titan (2004)

  • Created by artist Michele Oka Doner (1945)
  • Located near the Prospect House
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 2004
  • Collobaration between longtime friends: artist, Michele Oka Donna and model, Micky Wolfson
  • The hollow sponge-like figure evokes both growth and decay
  • The work was donated to Princeton University Art Museum in honor of longtime Princeton benefactor Mickey Wolfson’s 70th birthday

    Atmosphere and Environment (1970)
    atmosphere and the environment

  • Created by artist Louise Nevelson
  • Located adjacent to Firestone Library
  • Made from Core-Ten steel
  • Installed in 1971
  • The sculpture achieves its magic through the play of natural light over its geometric surface
  • Standing at 21-feet tall, it creates a variety of constantly changing visual images as the viewer moves past it.
  • Nelson explained, “The landscape is the atmosphere that fills the spaces of the steel environment; the two together are the sculpture.”
  • Nevelson’s was nearly 70 years old when she undertook the Princeton commission, her first monumental outdoor sculpture in Cor-Ten steel.

    Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
    Circle of Heads

  • Created by artist Ai Weiwei
  • Located at Scudder Plaza
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed from 2012 to 2016
  • Inspired by sculptures that once adorned the fountain clock at Yuanming Yuan, representing signs of the zodiac.
  • Each of the 12 sculpture stands approximately 10 feet high and weighs 800 pounds
  • It is significant that the sculptures are placed alongside the Scudder Plaza reflecting pool, as the original Zodiacs were in front of the fountain of the imperial palace.

    Fountain of Freedom (1966)
    Fountain of Freedom

  • Created by artist James Fitzgerald (1910-1973)
  • Located at Scudder Plaza
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 1966
  • Standing at 23-feet high and weighing 6 tons, the fountain is one of the largest cast bronze sculptures in the United States.
  • Named to symbolize Woodrow Wilson’s vision of lasting world peace
  • The grooves, channels, and spires are meant to symbolize Woodrow Wilson’s aspirations and frustrations.
  • It was once referred “Jersey Shore West” back when visitors used to play and wade in the water
  • 700 gallons of water are recirculated through the fountain each minute

Princeton Ghosts & Hauntings

Ghost WashingtonDo you believe in ghosts? Princeton is one of those places where skeptics cross the threshold and start saying yes. Mysterious lights, strange presences, and ghostly figures have made Princeton a ghost hunter’s paradise.

Nestled between New York and Philadelphia, the small town of Princeton is steeped in history. From the Lenape Native Americans, to the British settlement, to the Revolutionary War, to our world famous university, the paranormal footprint left behind here by the people and events of centuries past isn’t too difficult to find.

“You may think you know Princeton well, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye,” said Mimi Omiecinski, owner of Princeton Ghost Tours. “Many people just find Princeton way too beautiful to leave, even after death.”

Ghostly sightings and experiences have been noted in just about every part of town, including here at the Nassau Inn and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where dozens of apparitions have been accounted for throughout the course of two and half centuries.

Nick Ballas, Director of Rooms at the Nassau Inn, reported on several occasions of having heard strange noises, seen bizarre figures, and, while staying overnight, witnessed a translucent woman in a white dress floating up the stairs from the 2nd to 3rd floor. “It was both spooky and mesmerizing at the same time,” Ballas recounted.

“The fifth floor is where some of the eeriest stories come from,” remarked a front desk attendant at the Nassau Inn. “There were several instances where guests called down with concerns of hearing constant chatter from disembodied voices. A few guests also described feelings of being hugged by an invisible stranger.”

As a regular stop along the Princeton Ghost Tour route, Mimi Omiecinski knows first-hand that the Nassau Inn is a hotbed of oddities and anomalies. “It’s not just a bunch of kooky ghost stories,” she explained. “We have evidence that they are here.”

You don’t have to take Omiecinski’s word for it, though. She proves the presence of ethereal beings by providing her tour groups with dowsing rods, EMF detectors, and therma-meters.

“Ghosts don’t always announce their presences with scents, sounds or slime,” said Omiecinski. “Ghosts, by their ethereal nature, tend to be a tad elusive. But, with this equipment we can locate, and often communicate with the other side.”

And, Princeton purportedly has quite the cast of famous specters in the area to communicate with. George Washington, John Witherspoon, and Albert Einstein are among the many celebrity spirits associated with Princeton that are believed to frequent the surrounding shops, residences, hotels, and university.

“Princeton has all the right features conducive of paranormal activity,” said Omiecinski. “The historic buildings are conduits of energy that spirits draw from.  You can bet that ghosts like George Washington and Albert Einstein are dropping by Nassau Hall, the McCarter Theater, and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room all the time.”

No matter what you believe about ghosts and the afterlife, one thing is certain – the historic town of Princeton has a lot more odd, unexplained activity than most other places in the world. And, while we don’t guarantee a ghost sighting when you book a room with us, taking a Princeton Ghost Tour should be on your to-do list while you’re here. “Not only is it great time for adults and children alike,” said Omiecinski. “But, what you’ll hear is true and what you’ll see is real.”

Corporate Meetings & the Benefits of Natural Light

NI Crossing DelawareSince before the American Revolution, our meeting space has been widely known among political, business, and military leaders to invite focus and ignite creativity.

Our superior amenities and top notch customer service have always fostered a comfortable and productive environment for our esteemed guests.

While our hospitality greatly compliments the overall experience, the mood of the day is actually determined before a meeting is even convened. It takes effect the moment our guests step into the room and find themselves welcomed by the brilliance of natural light.

All of our meeting rooms come standard with natural light and its many aesthetic and health benefits, which include:

1.) Boost in mood and alertness







2.) Reduction in stress







3.)  Elevation in happiness







4.) Increased quality of sleep







5.) Boost in metabolism







In addition, our naturally lit meeting space also comes equipped with the proper shade to accommodate video and presentations.

To book a corporate space or to get more information, please contact us at sales@nassauinn.com or call 609-921-7500


Steps from Everything…


One of the many benefits of staying with us here at the Nassau Inn is our close proximity to first-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and history. Our guests truly appreciate being just steps away from everything. As evidence, here is a list of 10 popular attractions in downtown Princeton – along with the number of steps it takes to get to each one from here. So, tap on your activity tracker and let’s compare steps…  

1.) NASSAU HALL (425 steps)

Everywhere - nassau hallNassau Hall was built in 1756 to house what was then the College of New Jersey. It was the largest stone building in the American Colonies.

The name “Nassau Hall” was proposed by Governor Jonathan Belcher in honor of King William III, “who was a branch of the illustrious house of Nassau.”
Click here to learn more…

2.) PALMER HOUSE (633 steps)

Everywhere - Palmer HouseThe original owner was Commodore Robert Stockton (1795-1866), grandson of the signer of The Declaration of Independence. He married Maria Potter of Charleston, South Carolina and they received the house as a wedding present from her father, John.

When Robert moved across the street into “Morven,” the old Stockton homestead, he sold Palmer House to his brother-in-law, James Potter. (Later he built “Lowrie House” down Stockton Street for one of his children while his older brother-in-law, Thomas Potter, built “Prospect House” on the south side of the campus – both designed by John Nottman of Philadelphia.
Click here to learn more…


Everywhere - Princeton Battle Monument

On January 3, 1777, the peaceful winter fields and woods of Princeton Battlefield were transformed into the site of what is considered to be the fiercest fight of its size during the American Revolution. During this desperate battle, American troops under General George Washington surprised and defeated a force of British Regulars. Coming at the end of “The Ten Crucial Days” which saw the well-known night crossing of the Delaware River and two battles in Trenton, the Battle of Princeton gave Washington his first victory against the British Regulars on the field. The battle extended over a mile away to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Click here to learn more…


Everywhere - Art MuseumThe origins of Princeton’s art collections date nearly to the University’s foundation, thus making Princeton one of the oldest collecting institutions in America. The Museum and what is now the Department of Art and Archaeology—the second oldest in the nation—formally came into being in 1882, founded on a philosophy that positioned Princeton at the cutting edge of scholarship in an era when the history of art was a new academic discipline, largely confined to the more advanced universities of Europe. Click here to learn more…

5.) BAINBRIDGE HOUSE (686 steps)

Everwhere - Bainbridge HouseBainbridge House is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Princeton and one of the area’s best preserved examples of mid-Georgian architecture. Located on Nassau Street, the town’s busiest and most historic thoroughfare, it is situated directly across from Princeton University. Bainbridge House has been home to several Stockton families; it was the birthplace of William Bainbridge, hero of the War of 1812; in 1783 it was listed as providing accommodations for the Continental Congress; during the late 19th century it served as a boarding house for university students; and for more than fifty years it was home to the public library. Click here to learn more…

6.) MORVEN MUSEUM (844 steps)

Everywhere - MorvenHome to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and to five New Jersey governors, Morven has played a role in the history of New Jersey and the nation for more than 250 years.

After the Governor’s Mansion was relocated in 1982, Morven went through an extensive restoration and archaeological investigation. Morven re-opened as a museum and garden in 2004.
Click here to learn more…

 7.) PRINCETON CEMETERY (844 steps)

Everywhere - CemeteryThe Princeton Cemetery is a unique burial ground.  It is the final resting place for a President and a Vice President of the United States, most of the Presidents of the College of New Jersey/Princeton University and the Princeton Theological Seminary.  Scattered throughout the cemetery are the graves of soldiers beginning with the Revolutionary War, professors, politicians, musicians, scientists, business executives, writers, a Nobel Laureate, a winner of Pulitzer Prizes as well as those who have called the Princeton area home.  Take your time and enjoy the rich history of America captured here, and a small town’s place in that history. Click here to learn more…

8.) McCARTER THEATER (1056 steps)

Everywhere - McCarter TheaterMcCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts – the region’s leading performing arts center – has a rich history of artists who have graced its stage for over 80 years. Built as a permanent home for the Princeton University Triangle Club (who continue to perform at McCarter to this day) with funds from Thomas N. McCarter, class of 1888, the theater opened its doors on February 21, 1930 with a special performance of the 40th annual Triangle show, The Golden Dog. One of its stars was Joshua Logan, a junior and a sophomore named James Stewart was in the chorus. Click here to learn more…

9.) ALBERT EINSTEIN HOUSE (1267 steps)

Everywhere -The Albert Einstein House at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey was the home of Albert Einstein from 1936 until his death in 1955.

The house is a simple pattern-book cottage and in itself is of no particular architectural significance”.

Albert Einstein reportedly requested that this house not be made a museum, and the family did not want it to be recognized as such. Nonetheless it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and further designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976. Click here to learn more…

 10.) CLEVELAND TOWER (1900 steps)

Everywhere - Cleveland TowerIts beauty often compared to that of Oxford University’s Magdalen Tower, the 173-foot Cleveland Tower flanks the main entrance to Princeton’s Graduate College. One of the principal structures of the Graduate College when it was dedicated in 1913, the tower was erected as a memorial to President Grover Cleveland, who, following his retirement from public life, was a trustee of Princeton University and chaired the trustees’ graduate school committee. Funds for the construction of the tower were raised by public subscription from “citizens of all parties in all walks of life from all parts of the United States.”  Click here to learn more…





April in Bloom

flowersCommunity Spotlight

April was another incredible month for downtown Princeton. The entire town literally exploded with color in a matter of weeks as our natural surroundings quickly transitioned from bare, bleak, and brittle to robust, bright, and in bloom. The much welcomed spring weather provided ideal conditions for al fresco dining, window shopping, outdoor sports, and community events such as the Princeton University Farmers’ Market and Communiversity.

Yankee Doodle Tap RoomYDTR Sign w Flowers

The opening of our outdoor patio and the release of our Spring Menu has made for an outstanding month at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. The fresh air and fine fare motivated many to ditch the indoors and dine with us. The interior of the Tap Room continues to see an abundance of activity too. In addition to our regular business, tour groups have been piling in to enjoy a beautiful buffet and an anecdotal history of our property.

If you like to unwind after work, our Happy Hour Specials and promotions may be just what you need. Monster Mug Mondays were made to quench your thirst while “I Made History” and “Beers Around the World” give you the opportunity to drink outside your comfort zone and win cool prizes. Live music on our patio is also on its way starting May 14.

Most importantly, however, we need to talk about Mom. Her special day is racing towards us. To celebrate, we’re holding our annual Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 10th.  There’s no better way to remind Mom how amazing she is by treating her to a delicious meal with us. Click here for more information.

Nassau Inn Ext Summer - 3.5 wNassau Inn

The picturesque purlieu of downtown Princeton in the spring attracts an abundance of visitors from all around. Although the nearby Route 1 Corridor offers a cornucopia of shiny, brand name hotels to meet their lodging needs, it is at the independently owned Nassau Inn that travelers aim to book first. That’s because when you’re at the Nassau Inn, you’re already here, in the heart of downtown Princeton. Our iconic red door opens up to a lush green square, not a parking lot. The scent in the air is of efflorescence, not exhaust fumes. The distance to restaurants, entertainment, shopping and the arts is measured in steps, not miles.

Then there’s our history, which dates all the way back to the 18th century. Since opening our doors in 1756, we’ve prided ourselves on offering our guests the most neoteric amenities of the day. Whether you were to stay with us in the 1700’s, 1800’s, or 1900’s, you could expect to find available all the latest comforts and technology at the Nassau Inn. The same still rings true today. We continue to expertly exist as a historical landmark and a state-of-the-art, full service hotel and conference center.

It’s all of these inimitable attributes, and many more, that have made our property a target destination for tourism, corporate functions, and celebratory life events.. With 188 guest rooms and 13 beautiful conference/banquet options, our savvy coordinators can skillfully design and deliver a personalized experience sure to delight you and everyone in your party. To schedule a tour or to request more information about planning an event, please contact us at sales@nassauinn.com.

Ghost of the Inn…

For years I’d heard testimony of ghost sightings at the Nassau Inn, however I had spent countless hours walking the hallowed corridors and never experienced even the slightest offbeat encounter.

At times I wondered about the possibility, if for no other reason than the consistency of guest’s stories. Many took place in the same location and their experiences were similar in nature. Ultimately I listened to the stories and although I was agreeable, I was not a believer.

That was until about two years ago… Continue reading

Pregnant in Princeton

By: Jaime Wess

Being pregnant in the summer has its major downfalls; especially being eight months pregnant! Any woman who has experienced this, can and will, back me up. However, I could not have picked a better location to work for convenience and relief from the summer heat and from the discomforts that come along with it.

First, let us focus on a pregnant woman’s favorite pastime. It isn’t a bottle of wine, nor lounging and relaxing in a hot tub; and it certainly isn’t high heel shopping … its Food!!! The only indulgence she gets to have anymore. But as great as it is to give in to a strong craving for something very, very bad for yourself, sometimes you have to rein it in a little. Princeton is perfect for finding a variety of delicious treats and lunches! My favorite, on days when it has been 100 degrees outside and far too humid to walk for a half hour, is Twist – the well known frozen yogurt shop located on Nassau Street. The offerings of different flavors, nonfat or low fat options and the variety of toppings keep me coming back! Continue reading

Princeton Summer Happenings – Fun Activities for All to Enjoy!

If you’re already thinking about hightailing it into the fall and getting the kids back in school; I need you to take a step back, take a deep breath and listen: The summer is not even close to being over! Princeton has a lot of fun and exciting happenings to take advantage of while we still have plenty long, sun filled days to soak up.

A fun activity to do with the kiddies is Lunchtime Music on the Green. This event is hosted by Palmer Square and takes place right on the green! Between noon and 2 p.m., you can enjoy live jazz music while having a leisurely lunch from one of the many Princeton eateries. The last event will take place on Thursday, August 18th featuring Sophiztajazz.

Palmer Square is also hosting the Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale – this year taking place on Friday, August 18th through Sunday, August 21st. This event will feature live music and great deals from some of your favorite local Palmer Square shops.

The Princeton Tour Company is also in full swing for the summer! With these tours, you can see where Albert Einstein lived, famous architecture in Princeton and see which of your favorite places is haunted with ghosts! You are able to choose from group and private tours to accommodate your group!

Every Thursday you can have a pleasurable outdoor lunch, listen to live music and enjoy fresh local produce and the Princeton Farmer’s Market located on Witherspoon Street in front of the Witherspoon Grill and the Princeton Public Library. Some vendors include: Tassot Apiaries for local honey, beeswax candles and soaps; The Witherspoon Bread Company showcasing and selling freshly baked breads and pastries and Tico’s Juice Bar where you can get freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices.

If you are looking for some indoor fun, the Morven Museum & Gardens is presenting The Stars and Stripes: Fabric of the American Spirit which is running now through October 31st. This exhibit follows the American Flag from its 1777 creation into the twentieth century. You can follow the history of each flag while visually experiencing each edition.

The Yankee Doodle Tap Room is also hosting weekly Acoustic Thursday, every Thursday night on the Yankee Doodle Tap Room patio in August! The Tap Room will be featuring CJ Barna on August 11th & August 25th. August 4th & August 18th will feature Greg Nease and Suzannah Sabin.  CJ Barna will also be performing live acoustic sets on August 3rd, August 17th and August 31st.

Kicking back and relaxing through the end of the summer is important for your personal Zen and mental health. Before you start back to school shopping, creating lunch schedules and getting the car pools set take advantage of the vitamin D that is shining and waiting for you! Keep your kids entertained and treat yourself to some yummy summer cocktails. Be sure to check back next month for some more great tips!

Behind The Red Door: Spring Cleaning – Good Excuse or the Real Deal?

The origins of Spring Cleaning are said to date back to the Iranian Norouz, or the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring. Iranians have a tradition of cleaning their houses from top to bottom in preparation for their new year; which helped coin the term, “Spring Cleaning”.

It is also a tradition in Greece to thoroughly clean the house in the week leading up to the Great Lent; which is in early spring.

Continue reading