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A letter from an alumnus reflecting about Princeton University

September 23, 2001

I have never linked to PAW Online, I didn't know it existed, and will probably never look at it again unless "On the Web Now" is a regular feature of PAW and lists something that titillates me.

Nevertheless, as it happens I looked into the web page today and read your item on "Paradise Regained." Enjoyed it immensely, but it made it clear to me how much I had missed.

I was at Princeton – as an undergraduate and later as a graduate student. My undergrad career was unconventional. Not to go into detail, but the upshot was that I was not a club member and had to eat out. As a grad student, with the exception of the single year that I was vouchsafed to live at the Graduate School.

None of the places you mention so nostalgically existed during the epoch 1960-1967. I well recall that, after living on Student Center hamburgers for some time, I looked afield. The decision was made the night that I noted that the cook was chasing the grease back into the hamburger – presumably so that the customer would get his money's worth. There was one restaurant on Nassau street somewhat to the East of the Engineering quad. Another real landmark place was the "Balt," now deceased; I think it is now a Hallmark's or something. That one was pretty much across the street from Nassau Hall. The walls and floor were entirely covered with white tile. It looked like the men's room in the YMCA. It was fondly known as the "Vault." There was another not-great place with a cute name like the "Dutch Mill" or something. A really good place was the Annex, which is still there I think, but it was too expensive for someone on my budget.

That was pretty much it, except for expensive places that were beyond my consideration. They were mainly for New York City expatriates. One later establishment, which I gather has now become a landmark for the engineering students, is a hoagie joint somewhere down there on Nassau Street. It is since my time. I plan to look for it during my next visit to Princeton, which will probably be my 40th reunion next year. I know that it exists because I subscribed briefly to the engineering school net and gave up because my brother engineers had nothing to communicate except nostalgia for the hoagie joint.

The web page was not, however, entirely without edifying content. There were ongoing spirited and instructive discussions of the relative merits of different kinds of sandwiches. (Engineering was never mentioned, as I recall.) It has occurred to me that, after all those years in Princeton, I never rode the Dinky. I think I will do so during my next visit – whenever that may be.

Bob Woods '62*67
Albuquerque, N.M.

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