Scott Morgan’s November 17 profile of Bordentown City, generated plenty of feedback from readers visiting www.princetoninfo.com. Resident Kelly Kellett described at length the joys she takes in walking around the city and hosting impromptu conversations on her porch with neighbors. “A late night stroll during the first snow is pure magic. It’s a step back in time seeing the wonderful old houses dusted in white with blowing snowflakes lit by the old-fashioned street lights.”
An online poster identified as a “Jersey Foodie” pointed out every restaurant in town, even identifying which are BYOBs and which are not. “All in all, Bordentown is indeed ‘The Little City with A Lot of Charm,’ as crowned years ago. And during the holidays the little taste of Dickens with the city’s decorations and white lights is absolutely charming. What is there not to love about this one-square mile city.”
Frank Rodriguez, an emigre from Brooklyn, offered the most wide-ranging perspective, comparing his adopted city to his hometown in that Bordentown lends itself to neighborly chats, pleasant restaurant aromas, and children at play. “One of the nicest things about Bordentown City is that it’s a real city,” he writes. “Not a a heartless, strip mall-lined highway in suburbia.”
Martha Press, owner of the Farnsworth Gallery, reminded us about the city’s art outlets. There are two full-time galleries (Artful Deposit and Farnsworth), one art studio that also serves as a gallery (Firehouse Gallery), and a collection of shops that offer artisan jewelry, art pieces, and framing.
The online version of our story is slightly expanded from the print version. It contains a passage on the truth behind the name Tommy J. Sauce, which has been spray painted across the Conrail overpass at the end of Park Street at Route 206 since at least the early 1980s. The passage, cut for length from the print edition, speaks of the enduring local mystery about the person behind the graffiti. As it turns out, according to one reader, Tommy J. Sauce is actually two people — Thomas Jaichner, a young soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2005, and Sauce was the nickname of Bryant Nemeth, who died in 1991 at age 19.
Lastly, returning to history, it turns out that our companion piece to the Bordentown profile (“300 Years of History in Bordentown”) may contain a mystery of its own. While Thomas Paine did live at what now would be 2 West Church Street, and while a plaque hangs from that building commemorating Paine’s residence, it seems the foundation (and perhaps the first floor) of Paine’s house might have been moved to 6 West Church Street in the late 1800s.
The owner of 6 West Church contacted us with an E-mail sent to her by the Thomas Paine National Historical Association in New Rochelle, New York. The E-mail refers to an article in the Bordentown Register newspaper from that period that mentions the move of the house from the corner to the center of the block.
The homeowner admits that records regarding Paine’s property are spotty at best, and how much of the original building remains is anyone’s guess. But it is another intriguing avenue of Bordentown’s (not to mention Thomas Paine’s) history.
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And just picking up the phone and calling also works. One woman, who spent nearly 40 years teaching in the Bordentown Regional School District, called to compliment U.S. 1 for not running a superficial piece. She admitted that she did not like the passage on the school system (which was portrayed as fair, if not great), but she also admitted that the depiction is true and that occasionally such criticism needs to be heard if a district is to ward off complacency.
As for the sidewalks, she said we deserve a medal for speaking honestly about their condition, and she hopes the city takes our message to heart before it is inundated with lawsuits.