A Handy Guide to Renaming the New Jersey Turnpike Rest-Stops

New Jersey is so fucked, its Department of Transportation is considering selling off Turnpike rest-stop naming rights to generate extra cash. But which rest-stop names get cut, and which get kept? We figure it out.

Many people would consider it an insult to be posthumously commemorated with a highway rest stop. Those people are snooty lames. In New Jersey, it's the highest honor, better even than being "made" in the "mafia," or moving to New York. There is no better way we can think of to sing the praises of someone like Walt Whitman (southbound milepost 30.2), the father of American poetry, than by placing his name over a TCBY franchise. Plus, he was gay, and it's a "highway rest stop," so, you know. It makes sense.

But while it's a huge insult to the memory of America's favorite bearded poet to consider removing his name from his own personal roadside monument to American ingenuity and obesity, who cares if shitty writer Joyce Kilmer (northbound milepost 78.7) or possibly-nonexistent mythical personage Molly Pitcher (southbound milepost 71.7) get the boot? Take a trip with us down the Turnpike rest stop name list, and decide who gets honors-and who gets confined to the landfill of New Jersey history.

Woodrow Wilson
Argument For: One of only two U.S. presidents from New Jersey. Gave women the right to vote.
Argument Against: Vicious racist.
Best Concession: Quiznos.
Verdict: Total asshole, but at least he was president, right? Wilson can stay.

Richard Stockton
Argument For: Was a signatory on the Declaration of Independence. Has a college named after him.
Argument Against: Possibly signed oath of obedience to the King during the revolutionary war. Stockton College sucks.
Best Concession: Blimpies.
Verdict: What did this guy every do for New Jersey, besides provide it with a college and represent it at the Continental Congress?
Suggested Replacement: Talk-show host and walking plastic surgery warning Wendy Williams of Asbury Park.

Grover Cleveland
Argument For: One of only two U.S. presidents from New Jersey. Only president to be elected to two non-consecutive terms.
Argument Against: Can anyone name even one thing this guy did, besides, you know, "Be President"?
Best Concession: Nathan's.
Verdict: If Wilson stays, Cleveland stays, but New Jersey, seriously, you need to start raising better presidents.

John Fenwick
Argument For: Founded Salem, NJ. Once owned half of New Jersey.
Argument Against: Sold half of New Jersey... to Pennsylvania.
Best Concession: TCBY.
Verdict: Anyone who betrayed New Jersey to Pennsylvania doesn't deserve a spot on its Turnpike.
Suggested Replacement: Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig of Lodi.

James Fenimore Cooper
Argument For: Wrote Last of the Mohicans. Came up with name "Natty Bumppo."
Argument Against: Was utterly owned by Mark Twain in a hilarious essay .
Best Concession: Popeyes.
Verdict: Cooper? More like, the DoT made a blooper, when they named a rest stop after this overrated hack.
Suggested Replacement: Taxi star Queen Latifah of Newark.

Joyce Kilmer
Argument For: Wrote one of the most famous poems in the English language.
Argument Against: Wrote one of the worst poems in the English language.
Best Concession: Sbarro.
Verdict: Kilmer's name should be removed in the hopes that it will lead the planet to forget about his awful poem.
Suggested Replacement: Small actor Peter Dinklage of Morristown.

Vince Lombardi
Argument For: Led the Green Bay Packers to the first and second-ever Super Bowls.
Argument Against: Kind of a dick about "working hard."
Best Concession: Popeyes.
Verdict: Keep the name, but on the plaque only refer to Lombardi's time coaching the Giants. And call them the "New Jersey Giants."

Alexander Hamilton
Argument For: The United States Treasury Department? Ever heard of it? This guy invented it.
Argument Against: Not a very good shot.
Best Concession: Carvel.
Verdict: Keep, but build a rest stop on the northbound side and name it after Aaron Burr.

Thomas Edison
Argument For: Light bulbs? You ever heard of them? This guy invented them.
Argument Against: Was not very nice to scientific bad-ass Nikola Tesla.
Best Concession: Carvel.
Verdict: Keep. Come on.

Molly Pitcher
Argument For: Seems to have won the revolutionary war single-handedly.
Argument Against: Probably not a real person.
Best Concession: Freshëns Smoothies and Frozen Treats.
Verdict: The turnpike needs more female-named rest stops, but aren't there real women from New Jersey?
Suggested Replacement: Ex-convict Martha Stewart of Nutley.

Walt Whitman
Argument For: Wrote tons of great poems. Was the model for Count Dracula.
Argument Against: Inspired tons of awful poems.
Best Concession: Nathan's.
Verdict: Keep. Like we said, Whitman would approve of it.

Clara Barton
Argument For: Founded the Red Cross.
Argument Against: How can you argue against a nineteenth-century female abolitionist who founded the Red Cross?
Best Concession: Cinnabon.
Verdict: Keep. The Red Cross, guys!

[Philly Inquirer]