Hall of a Deal

Plenty of New Jerseyans have influenced the world, and now there’s a place to honor them, at least virtually.

The New Jersey Hall of Fame (njhalloffame.com) plans to welcome its first class of inductees—Sinatra? Robeson? Einstein?—in a ceremony next fall.

An expansion of the former state Sports Hall of Fame, the new hall was created in September 2005. Each year, a total of 30 inductees—either New Jersey natives or longtime residents—will be named in five categories: arts and entertainment, historical, general, enterprise, and sports. Nominees will be chosen by a group of experts in various fields, then turned over to a voting committee composed of 100 of the state’s most prominent movers and shakers. Starting this month, the public also will have a chance to vote for the nominees. Voting will continue through January, and the inductees will be announced early next year.

Hall of Fame chairman Bart Oates, who played center for the 1986 Super Bowl–champion New York Giants, views the hall as a way “for people to take pride in the accomplishments of the people of New Jersey.” Hall of Fame administrators hope eventually to move from cyberspace to a 50,000-sqare-foot museum in the Meadowlands (estimated cost: $10 million to $15 million), so visitors can tour in person.

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