Holograms of rapper Wyclef Jean and astronaut Mark Kelly will help make Newark Liberty International Airport a “satellite museum outpost” of the New Jersey Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday at an airport press conference. Among those speaking and/or in attendance were Jean, Gov. Chris Christie, legendary rocker Tommy James, former Yankee and Met Al Leiter and former New York Giant Bart Oates (both Leiter and Oates are Hall officials).
Posters that show various Hall of Famers — including Bruce Springsteen, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Buzz Aldrin and Toni Morrison — and share inspirational quotes by them, will also be displayed. Springsteen’s quote is: “When it comes to luck, you make your own.” And videos will be shown on an interactive, 6-foot-by-8-foot “Wall of Fame.”
At the hologram stations, people can push buttons to ask various questions (such as, for Jean, “What are your memories of New Jersey?,” “How did education inspire you?” and “How can I make a difference in the world?”). There will eventually be 10 holograms, but only the Jean and Kelly holograms were displayed on Tuesday.
Leiter called the airport “a place for many people who don’t know New Jersey” and added “that … we were able to get something in the 14th busiest airport in the United States — 37½ million people come through here (annually) — to show off the great people, and their accomplishments, from our state … I’ve been very proud of it.
“I was in the big leagues for about 19 seasons, and had a lot of friends from around the country, and yes, we occasionally were the butt of some jokes. And I used to find myself defending it. And I just think, now, we can have a place to have our great people and accomplishments be shown off.”
“New Jerseyans fascinate America,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
“I can tell you, as I travel around the country, I get asked all the time about some of our great folks here, who have culturally taken over areas of this country, not only with their talent, but with their personality. Whether you’re talking about the late James Gandolfini and what he did as a Rutgers alum and the star of ‘The Sopranos,’ or whether you’re talking about the late Whitney Houston, who charmed the entire world with her extraordinary gifts and talents, added to all these other folks we’ve talked about, New Jersey has put forward to the public, not only from an intellectual perspective, but from a cultural perspective, some extraordinary folks.”
The Hall currently has a mobile museum, but a permanent home will be announced next year, said Steve Edwards, chairman of the Hall’s board of trustees.
Next year’s induction ceremony will take place in May, with honorees to be announced soon. Nominees include Tom Cruise, Stephen Colbert, Antonin Scalia, Steven Van Zandt, Phil Simms, Millicent Fenwick, Harlan Coben, Janet Evanovich, Steve Forbes, Nathan Lane and George Segal.
Here is a photo gallery with shots from the press conference and of some of the items to be displayed.