The Hoboken of Union County

From the New York Times:

Can a Face Lift Offer a New Identity?

WHAT is the first thing that comes to mind when this city’s name is mentioned? For many outsiders it may be the Rahway State Prison.

“It’s so unjustified,” lamented Glen Fishman, who grew up near here and is now a developer working on a comprehensive redevelopment of Rahway’s downtown. “That prison isn’t even in Rahway.”

The prison is actually in adjacent Woodbridge, and its name was changed eight years ago, at the request of Rahway officials, to East Jersey State Prison. But unsavory associations are not so easy to erase, and the prison continues to be commonly known as Rahway.

The new Rahway will be a pedestrian-oriented, distinctly upscale commuter mecca, sort of the Hoboken of Union County, according to the plans.

Mr. Kennedy, who has been in office for 16 years, cooked up his vision some 20 years ago, when merchants were discovering that the city’s already deteriorating downtown could not compete in an increasingly affluent suburban marketplace.

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