It’s a time warp, to see my daughter glowing in the rainbow-colored poncho I crocheted myself on a rainy afternoon when I was exactly her age.My past is back. At last retrieved from the mothballs.

“That was the strangest thing,” my son said. “As if a vein was opened, and the words just kept coming out of her.”

When my children were much younger, I sometimes burst into tears realizing that one day they would not be permanently around me anymore. Now I realize children need to leave the nest when they are ready.

He was sitting on a metal heating grid on the lawn next to the Graduate College. A squirrel. A fat squirrel, I must say. A squirrel on steroids, with a huge pot belly.

Covid stopped us for almost a year from crossing the Hudson, but now it was time for a dose of Gotham.

In April I saw my first fox trotting in front of Nassau Hall. In June I saw a coyote, playing close to a deer family. But at last, the student have returned, and the animals hide themselves again.

My news diet changed during the Trump administration. And then I found poetry.

The mob storming the Capitol plays through my mind, over and over again, like a bad ‘Game of Thrones’ episode. They have been blind-sided by a man who once looked into a pond and fell in love with himself.

‘I have only one lesson,’ Roger Berlind told a group of Prince­ton students. ‘Follow your intuition. Do what your heart says.’

This Christmas, in a year that took so many magical rituals from us, I think back to my “Grandpa and Grandma Amsterdam,” as we called them, living in their upstairs apartment on the Nachtegaalstraat — or Nightingale Street.

The biggest surprise of this presidential election is that there is no surprise. The country turned out to be exactly as split as it was four years ago.

I am no longer the same as I was before the pandemic. I can’t just pick up my old life, pretend there’s not a half-year gap. Social contact, I read, is one of the most complicated things for our brain.

This new world is a bonanza for born voyeurs like me. I can’t get enough of studying all the interiors, the bookshelves, the dogs, the idiosyncratic behaviors.

Do a chemistry test on your mobile while you pay for toilet paper with your little brother in the supermarket. That happened to a student of Kimberly Dempsey, a chemistry teacher at East Side Community High School in New York City.

The virus traveling among us has revived an almost bygone tradition: sending postcards.

“We didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” Those are the words on the banner an older black woman is carrying through the streets of Princeton.

Now that almost all people are gone, the foxes have taken over the university. In broad daylight they roam the grounds, up the monumental stairs and through the ornate iron gates.

My mother is the chief curator of our family’s museum. She carefully monitors our past. Fortunately.

On a rainy morning in early January, the two of us descend into the catacombs beneath Princeton’s Firestone Library to read the most famous sealed library archive in the world.

In Times Square, in the middle of Manhattan, I make my way into the huge Marriott Marquis hotel. I step into a glass elevator, which hangs on the outside of a column in the huge atrium. While we ascend, I get views of different worlds.

You don’t expect to find insights into our troubled times from the Flemish Old Masters. But on a recent trip to Brussels I found myself wandering into the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.

He had had a deadly variant of leukemia and maybe a few months left to live. Now there is no trace of the disease

The Dutch have adopted a do-it-your-way attitude toward social rules. American social life, in contrast, operates by rules that are often unspoken but rigorously observed.

A century ago around a thousand children died of measles every year in the Netherlands alone. Half a million children, mostly young, died worldwide. I am grateful that our children were born in another time.

This was the beginning of a new life in which I myself was involved and had a voice and a mind and free will of my own.

Is there anything more difficult than being a public school teacher in America? Yes, being a math or science teacher in New York City.

Our son turns out to have become a real foodie, once he was safe from his mother.

Whenever my neighbor gets off the train at Penn Station, he jumps on the platform, throws out his arms, and sings, “New York, New York, it’s a helluva town! The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down!” He doesn’t realize it, but this song from the musical On The Town is a mnemonic device to […]

In 1989 I moved to Princeton for the first time, crossing the wide ocean from Amsterdam.

Our trip in the darkness to the top of a hill in Silicon Valley ends in front of a barred gate. We leave our car and climb into a golf cart with a cheerful driver in a spotless white uniform behind the wheel. Beyond the gate are trees displayed by purple floodlights. Fountains are spraying […]

When I walk into the radio studio on the 36th floor of an apartment building in Manhattan for an interview, I suddenly arrive in the middle of a rehearsing hip-hop band. The boys turn and spin on their bright red sneakers, their teeth sparkling with gold. The girls are dressed like they are …

The trumpets sound a fanfare, and I walk with 1,300 invited guests into the courtyard of the City Hall of Stockholm, which has been transformed into a dining room. Students wearing sailor hats and blue-yellow sashes lead us to festive tables that stretch from wall to wall. The men look chic …

As I walk into the new Amazon bookstore that just opened on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, I have a disorienting feeling that I have not entered a bookstore but rather fallen into the world of my computer screen. Like a cyber version of Alice tumbling into her rabbit hole, I have fallen into …

The exhibition I’m Nobody! Who are you? about the poet Emily Dickinson in the New York Morgan Library is deceptively simple. In just a few steps you can cross the small room that contains it. But this is an exhibition that slows down space and time. Just like her poems. In one glass display case […]