With money to burn Phil Murphy renames Parkway rest areas, announces museum displays at each

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TRENTON, NJ – Gone are the days of Garden State Parkway service areas being a place to stop, refuel, rest and grab a bite to eat. With billions of dollars in surplus funding, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy today announced the renaming of each of the Parkway’s rest areas to honor famous New Jerseyans.

The famous list includes musicians, actors, news anchors, authors, and baseball players, each with a progressive twist to their story here in New Jersey. Missing from the list is rock and roll hall of farmer Bruce Springsteen, actor Joe Pesci, rapper Queen Latifah, Count Basie, John Basilone, Norman Schwarzkopf, Kevin Smith, whackjob Chelsea Handler, Artie Lange, Thomas Edison, Bill Parcels, Joyce Kilmer, and most notably absent, former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey. McGreevey resigned after his relationship with a male staffer was made public. Later, McGreevey admitted to having sex with unknown men at New Jersey rest stops.

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Here’s who made the cut:

  • Montvale: James Gandolfini Service Area
  • Brookdale North: Larry Doby Service Area
  • Brookdale South: Connie Chung Service Area
  • Vauxhall: Whitney Houston Service Area
  • Cheesequake: Jon Bon Jovi Service Area
  • Monmouth: Judy Blume Service Area
  • Forked River: Celia Cruz Service Area
  • Atlantic: Frank Sinatra Service Area
  • Ocean View: Toni Morrison Service Area 

The rest areas, Murphy said promise to have lavish historical displays including a full-size kiosk showing videos of each of the New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees.

Murphy did not say how much the project will cost.

“This is about putting New Jersey greatness on full display,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This is the first part of an extended statewide exhibition of New Jersey heroes throughout our state. From military heroes on the Battleship New Jersey to historical figures on the New Jersey Turnpike to science and technology trailblazers at Newark Penn Station, New Jerseyans will find pride in our contributions to society and the world.”  

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to rename the nine service areas in honor of these notable New Jerseyans.  Murphy did not divulge the process used to select the finalists, but public input was not requested in the decision-making process.

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In keeping with the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s mission, the Garden State Parkway service area exhibits will encourage people to purposely choose their own heroes and learn about their paths to success, although residents did not choose which heroes would be on display.

Garden State Parkway service area parking lots will now welcome visitors with banners of NJHOF inductees, and each service area will contain Hard Rock Cafe-style exhibits including inspirational posters designed by renowned New Jersey architect Michael Graves, compelling artifacts, and an interactive Wall of Fame featuring a life-sized video monitor showcasing over 200 biographical vignettes of all inductees and their acceptance speeches. Service area patrons will be invited to pose with various Jersey legends and share the photos on their social media platforms.  

While all New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees will be showcased, each service area will be themed in the categories of arts, entertainment, and sports.   

The planned Parkway service area exhibitions further extend the Hall of Fame’s statewide network of museums, exhibits, and poster installations in partnership with Newark Liberty International Airport, NJ TRANSIT, Battleship New Jersey, Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Later this year the Hall of Fame will announce updated plans for its permanent home at American Dream while the mobile museum continues to serve local communities.