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The Atlantic Service Area on the Garden State Parkway in Galloway has been renamed in honor of Frank Sinatra, the famously blue-eyed crooner from Hoboken whose unsurpassed voice and singular style made him one of the biggest stars of 20th century American popular song.
The name change became official early this morning when “Frank Sinatra Service Area” signs were installed on the Parkway.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced last year that Parkway service areas would be renamed to honor New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees in the arts, entertainment, and sports.
Atlantic is the fifth service area to be renamed so far. Cheesequake has been renamed for rock star Jon Bon Jovi, Forked River for salsa star Celia Cruz, Brookdale North for baseball legend Larry Doby, and Monmouth for children’s author Judy Blume.
Other New Jersey Hall of Fame members who will have Parkway service areas renamed in their honor in the coming months include actor James Gandolfini (Montvale), journalist Connie Chung (Brookdale South), and singer Whitney Houston (Vauxhall).
Born in Hoboken in 1915, Sinatra rose to stardom during the swing era as a vocalist first for Harry James and His Orchestra and later for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. As a young heartthrob to legions of bobby soxers, as an Oscar-winning star of motion pictures, as the “Chairman of the Board” of his own record label, as leader of the fabled group of show biz buddies known as the “Rat Pack,” and as an eminence who could still fill a house in Las Vegas well into his 70s, Sinatra exerted a powerful influence over American popular culture for more than half a century. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide.
Although he moved west as a young man and is most closely identified with Southern California and Las Vegas, he remained connected to his native state through his career, appearing at the casinos in Atlantic City and at other concert venues around New Jersey. Among those venues was the PNC Arts Center on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel, about 75 miles north of the service area that now bears his name. Sinatra did a dozen concerts there between 1979 and 1994 – when it was known as the Garden State Arts Center -- and was the headliner at a 1992 show honoring the venue's 25th season.
Ten years after his death, Sinatra was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame with its inaugural class in 2008.