I relocated to Princeton over 10 years ago from CT. When looking for a new home with my realtor, I was shown a nice Princeton home only to find out that my child wouldn’t be attending a Princeton school if we bought it. She explained how homes near the Princeton border can have Princeton addresses, but are actually in neighboring towns. We didn’t buy it, because we wanted the benefits of living in Princeton proper.
Fairfield County, CT was not known for this, but I remembered that Westchester County, NY is, so I wasn’t a stranger to the concept. When I was a teen, a friend once told me she lived in Eastchester, but had a Scarsdale address. I mentioned that people from the area would know this, especially when you don’t go to Scarsdale schools, so why bother? She told me that others who DON’T live in the area thought she lived in Scarsdale. I guess the illusion was what really mattered. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is actually in a reverse situation. He has a Mt. Kisco mailing address, which is considered a middle-class neighborhood, but the controversy is that he lives in the affluent town of New Castle. This gives him the image of being more down to earth.
Princeton is one of the few towns in the area that ‘lends’ its name to parts of surrounding towns. Why would this be allowed when borough and township residents and businesses pay a premium to purchase or rent here? Was this a realtor’s sales strategy to sell more homes at the border of affluent towns? I’m wondering who really gains most from this.
This illusion goes beyond residential mailing addresses. Some businesses and communities attach Princeton to their name even if they’re 2-3 towns away. So when I see Princeton Design Group, I would expect it to be in Princeton proper, not Hillsborough. Mercedes Benz of Princeton is in Lawrenceville, the Princeton Arms rental community is in East Windsor, and Princeton Care, Inc. is in Jamesburg, which is at least 13 miles east of Palmer Square. How far away do you have to be from Princeton proper to no longer use its name as a marketing tool?
I have given in to the mentality to refer to places in the Princeton area merely as ‘Princeton’. One of my friends calls me out on it every time because some of these places are not in the borough or township. So here’s a two-part question. Do you think Princeton addresses not in the borough or township are fine, and if someone speaks of Princeton, is it acceptable to mean the Princeton area, or should that be restricted to Princeton proper? I’d really love to hear your opinions!