NJ Hall of Fame honoring Van Zandt, Streep, Leiter & ‘Cake Boss’
What do Little Steven Van Zandt, Debbie Harry, Meryl Streep, baseball pro Al Leiter and "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro have in common? They're all being inducted into New Jersey's Hall of Fame with the class of 2017. A total of 21 inductees will be honored at a ceremony in Asbury Park at the Paramount Theater on May 6. This is a celebration of the hall's 10-year anniversary.
The full class, with their Jersey roots:
-Gloria Gaynor (Newark)
-The Four Seasons (Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Joe Long) (Newark start for the group)
-astronauts, twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelly (West Orange)
-historic nurse Clara Maass (East Orange)
-Meryl Streep (raised in Basking Ridge and Bernardsville)
-Steve Forbes (longtime Bernardsville resident, raised in Far Hills)
-historic politician Millicent Fenwick (Bernardsville)
-real estate executive Jon Hanson (Far Hills)
-Little Steven Van Zandt (Middletown)
-author Harlan Coben (Ridgewood resident, born in Newark & raised in Livingston)
-retired World Champion runner Mary Decker (Bunnvale native)
-author and journalist Anna Quindlen (raised in South Brunswick)
-"Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro (Montville resident, raised in Hoboken & Little Ferry)
-Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry (raised in Hawthorne)
A 'NJ Unsung Hero' also will be announced in April. Streep, Harry and Valastro already appear as inductees online, after being voted in earlier. All three have missed induction as part of an official ceremony, until now.
The official 2017 Public Vote Ballot contained 50 nominees – 10 in each of five categories: Arts & Letters, Enterprise, Performance Arts, Public Service and Sports. Amid public voting, the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees also weighed in to help determine this year’s class.
NJHOF will also recognize recipients of the third annual Arête Scholarship. These scholarships are awarded in partnership with the NJEA to high school seniors. Students can apply online, here, until March 17.
Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.