New Jersey to rename multiple rest stops after state celebrities

New Jersey’s rest stops are getting the green light for a star-powered boost, with new names honoring “icons” from the state, including James Gandolfini, Whitney Houston and Jon Bon Jovi.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Tuesday that nine service areas along the Garden State Parkway will be renamed as a way to “showcase the outstanding talent of the people of New Jersey and their contributions to the world.”

The rest stop in Montvale, N.J., will honor the late “Sopranos” star Gandolfini, while Cheesequake’s spot will now be known as the Jon Bon Jovi Service Area and Vauxhall will double as an ode to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” singer Houston.

Other public figures being recognized with their own service areas include a who’s who of New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees: journalist Connie Chung, singers Frank Sinatra and Celia Cruz, authors Toni Morrison and Judy Blume, and baseball player Larry Doby.

“This is about putting New Jersey greatness on full display,” Murphy said in a statement about the move. Other “New Jersey heroes” will be honored in the future, according to Murphy, including service members, science and technology leaders and historical figures.

As part of the effort, the renamed rest stops will feature “Hard Rock Cafe-style exhibits” that will include posters, artifacts and a life-sized video monitor that highlight all of the Garden State’s Hall of Fame inductees.

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) July 27, 2021

Following Murphy’s announcement, some social media users balked at the absence of one notable New Jerseyan: Bruce Springsteen.

Reps for the governor’s office didn’t immediately return ITK’s request for comment about The Boss not being included among the big names. But a New Jersey Hall of Fame spokeswoman told local news site that Springsteen “respectfully declined” the rest area honor.

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