What’s so special about Princeton anyway?


By: Hank Kalet
   Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, is in South Brunswick, though it pays for a Princeton post office box to maintain a Princeton mailing address.
   The residents of Princeton Walk send their kids to school and pay taxes in South Brunswick. So do the residents of Princeton Gate.
   The Princeton Highlands development is in Franklin.
   I think there’s a pattern here.
   The Princeton Gateway Corporate Campus is in South Brunswick near the N.J. Turnpike, has a Cranbury mailing address and is about eight miles from Princeton. The Princeton Technology Center is on Ridge Road in Dayton, a good four miles from the border of Princeton and 6-plus miles from the center of town.
   The Princeton Business Park is in Rocky Hill.
   The Princeton Cooperative Nursery School is in the Kingston section of Franklin.
   The Princeton Forrestal Center on Route 1 is in Plainsboro.
   In fact, Route 1 does not run through Princeton. I looked at the map. It runs through South Brunswick, Plainsboro, West Windsor and Lawrence in this area. Not Princeton.
   Call this a rant. Call this whining. Call this what you will. But it gets tiring correcting people.
   Enough is enough. I understand that Princeton University lends Princeton some cache. I understand it has a long history, that it served for a short time as the nation’s capital.
   I understand all that.
   But that doesn’t mean the rest of us are chopped liver.
   I live in South Brunswick. I’ve lived here for about 32 years. It’s a nice place. Great schools. Nice parks. Nice people.
   We boast a state bowling champion, a couple of baseball titles, one in basketball.
   Anna Quindlen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and columnist, and Donald Fagen, a Grammy-winning musician and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both graduated from South Brunswick High School.
   South Brunswick is physically larger than Princeton — 41.1 square miles to 18 square miles combined for Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. South Brunswick has more residents — nearly 40,000 to about 27,000 for the two Princetons, about a quarter of which are students at Princeton University, the Princeton Theological Seminary or one of the other educational facilities in town.
   South Brunswick is home not only to Dow Jones, one of the largest financial publishing companies in the world, but to the North American headquarters of Canon, maker of cameras, copiers, printers, etc.
   West Windsor, which suffers from the same overshadowing by Princeton, boasts the Eden Institute and a major train station (named after Princeton!). John Nash, Nobel Prize winning mathematician and the subject of the Academy Award winning film "A Beautiful Mind," may have gone to Princeton University and was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, but he has lived in West Windsor for several decades.
   Joyce Carol Oates, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet, is normally identified as being a Princeton writer. She lives in Hopewell.
   Nicole Arendt, a professional tennis play who went to the Hun School and often is said to be from Princeton, grew up in Kendall Park. In South Brunswick.
   Should I go on?
   If it sounds like I’m being defensive, I am.
   But I’m tired of feeling like everything in central New Jersey is in Princeton just because it has an Ivy League university.
   Think about it, South Brunswick is just as close to New Brunswick, home to the well-regarded Rutgers University, the George Street Playhouse, the State Theatre, a host of wonderful restaurants and a vibrant college music scene.
   Why not name everything after New Brunswick?
   I was happy when the people who own the MarketFair mall changed its name from the Princeton MartketFair to the MarketFair in West Windsor. Call it truth in advertising.
   Call it a victory for the provinces.
Hank Kalet is managing editor of the Princeton — er, um — The South Brunswick Post, a sister paper of The Lawrence Ledger.