TRENTON, N.J. (WPIX) – Do you want to stop at the Sinatra, the Bon Jovi or the Whitney Houston?
That’s a decision New Jerseyans will have to make in coming years after the state announced it would be renaming the Garden State Parkway’s rest areas after various New Jersey icons of stage, screen and sports.
On Tuesday, the state turnpike authority approved naming nine Parkway service areas after such luminaries as groundbreaking baseball player Larry Doby, rocker Jon Bon Jovi and late actor James Gandolfini.
It’s all being done in conjunction with the New Jersey Hall of Fame. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy added that it’s part of a larger effort to showcase local heroes.
“This is about putting New Jersey greatness on full display,” said Gov. 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.”
Also being honored are Grammy-winning singer Whitney Houston; Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; and perhaps New Jersey’s most famous native son, Frank Sinatra.
One name noticeably absent from the authority’s list is Bruce Springsteen, but it wasn’t a slight. A representative for the New Jersey Hall of Fame said he was offered a rest stop but “respectfully declined to have a service area named after him.”
“It should be noted, though, that Bruce has been very supportive of the New Jersey Hall of Fame over the years, and is very much a part of the fabric of the Hall,” said spokeswoman Natasha Alagarasan, adding that Springsteen himself has inducted fellow Hall of Famers in past years.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to rename the nine service areas in honor of the following notable New Jerseyans.
- 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