A Rahway by any other name…

This photo has nothing to do with today’s post but I finally got an updated photo of the Fulton-Irving street realignment as promised. As you can see, it was a race against the sunset too.

An idea to change the name of the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority to disassociate it from Rahway because of the skyrocketing bills the past few years has been dropped. The RVSA plant is located in Rahway and handles wastewater for the city and a number of surrounding towns.

It’s been almost 20 years since the name of Rahway State Prison was changed to East Jersey State Prison, and most people still associate it with Rahway — especially out-of-towners. The old Rahway Valley Railroad has nothing to do with Rahway and in fact goes nowhere near the city.

With the changes going on in Rahway these days, maybe it’s time the city changes its name, rather than these other entities changing theirs? A few Garden State towns have tried to change their names in a quick-fix effort to change their perception. Two that come to mind were South Orange trying to become South Mountain (disassociate with the other Oranges in the process) and West Paterson trying to drop the Paterson from its name. And no, they weren’t going to be called simply “West” but I can’t recall what they came up with; something associated with Garret Mountain perhaps. It happens in business too; see Phillip Morris and Altria Group.

Rahway once was called Spanktown (which everyone gets a kick out of for obvious reasons). OK, so changing the city’s name is just a silly idea — who’s got the money to waste changing all those Parkway and Turnpike signs, for starters — but maybe you have some suggestions, for conversation’s sake?


Those of you who still hold out hope for a brewpub downtown, grab a pint and check out this New York Times piece in the meantime. The Times‘ list of Jersey brewpubs includes a number of towns that Rahway aspires to be, in the sense of a thriving, walkable downtown at least: Montclair, New Brunswick, Princeton, Red Bank, South Orange. Coincidence? I think not…

22 thoughts on “A Rahway by any other name…”

  1. I don’t think a name change will change how people view Rahway. It’s going to be a matter of it getting to a point where it can seriously attract some outside attention. I can see how it would help South Orange in the sense that there are great areas within the Oranges as well as crappy ones. I myself didn’t want to make the mistake of ending up in the wrong orange during my apartment search, so I stayed away completely. Rahway is in a different place in the sense that it’s reputation mostly comes from itself not necessarily the towns around it. There isn’t a bad West Rahway but a really great South Rahway. So for me I need to see this redevelopment through and see how it changes the image of the town itself, without needing a name change. Hey if you look at Brooklyn, there are a few neighborhoods that were not so good a few years ago but are now turning into some great neighborhoods due to gentrification. Not saying Rahway will change in the same manner…but you never know.

  2. OK, just for fun (because I agree, a name change will never happen):Milton Lake, NJStathattan, NJRahboken, NJSilconville, NJDoslineasdetren, NJ

  3. I like the name Rahway, but purely for fun, here are a few possibilities:St. George, NJRobinson, NJMattano, NJA local brew pub would be a great idea. It’s stuff like that that will get people downtown. Then we could come up with cool names for the local brews as well …

  4. Didn’t Rahway at one point used to be called Bridgetown? That would be a good name, I think.Bridgetown, NJor Rivertown, NJI also agree that a brew pub would be great to have downtown. That along with a coffee shop.

  5. For fun:Eastfield (Westfield eat your heart out)Rahway Prison Town (I say embrace it)Spanktown (I love that name)McGreevy Point (…nah, maybe not)Penn Station (confuse out of towners)East Bumblefu…(nah, too vulgar)New Jersey (hey, NY, NY can do it so can we!)I agree with everyone else. I think Rahway is a cool name. As the town changes so will people’s perceptions. Whenever I tell someone I’m from Rahway they always ask, “Isn’t that where the prison is?” So I always tell them a joke I heard, I think it was Chris Rock:“Nobody in this country wants to live near prisons. I don’t understand that. If I live next to a prison and someone escapes you think they are coming to my house to hide. Nope. My house will be the first one the police come look at. That guy is gonna want to get as far away from my house as possible. He’s going 5 hours away from the prison…to your house.”

  6. Guess I’ll continue the rathole of this discussion by steering it towards beer.So who’s going to convince the proprietors of the The Waiting Room to throw in some copper vats and become the Rahway Brew Pub we’re all longing for? Why do some of these ideas seem so obvious to us, yet we just don’t see anything of the sort come about? Where are all the investors?Better yet – I think the Rahway Rising blog community should form a corporation, pool some cash and turn this dump (I say this endearingly) around into our vision of a perfect town. I mean clearly, we have no differences of opinion that would cause any problems with this relationship. Unless you go back to the slight disagreements on the recent real estate discussion.

  7. Why is it difficult to get someone to open a brew pub. I’m sure many of us have thought about brewing beer right from our homes with one of those home brewing kits (I know I have). Maybe we should go off of larry’s idea and create a “Rahway Rising” brew pub. So everyone start spilling those recipes…

  8. Elmwood Park changed its name from East Paterson in 1973, although I don’t think it’s made any difference. I would camp out at the Skyview office with my deposit check if Rahway decided to go with:Milton MeadowsDornochtownWestfield JunctionBernakevilleHazelwood HeightsLower Brigadoon

  9. I will be moving to Rahway soon and would love to see the place continue to modernized. I’m not saying make it into Manhattan however the downtown area should offer all the services that residents need. A great supermarket, a coffee shop, a dry cleaner, some quaint eateries, etc. I’m excited to see what changes are to come for this small town….adding more mom and pop stores will give it a great small town feeling. This will help draw more residents and more visitors and commerce for this town.

  10. Does anyone know the way of transportation from Rahway if you work in the Wall Street area? I know the NJTransit train puts you at 41st and 8th Avenue….just figured I would ask to see if there is an easier way to get from Rahway to Wall Street.

  11. Some possible names for the local brew …Spanktown StoutCarriage City AleLenape LagerPrison Break PilsnerMilton Lake MeadThe old Franklin Station firehouse on Seminary Ave. would look pretty cool with a couple of vats of local brew behind those large doorways …

  12. The NJ Transit train doesn’t leave you at 41st street, it leaves you at Penn Station New York, which is between 31st and 34th streets, and between 8th avenue and 7th avenue.From there, you can take the 1/2/3 subway trains down to the Wall Street area.Alternatively, you could take the NJ Transit train from Rahway headed toward New York but get off at Newark Penn Station, and from there take the PATH train to the World Trade Center (last stop) and walk about 10 minutes down to Wall St.

  13. HA! I like Doslineasdetren, realist. How about I seem to recall that Rahway has the same Lenni Lenape root as Rockaway, meaning something like the ‘place of the sand’ because of the sandy banks of the Rahway River. As for a brewpub? Talk about a bad time to start one! You’d need some deep pockets to weather the current storm. Grain prices have almost doubled in the last year, hops prices have tripled. Small breweries are getting killed right now. Still, I think I’m gonna go home and make up a recipe for some Spanktown Porter. I’d make NJT Pale Ale, but it would always show up 20min late.

  14. Putting on my bear suit again for some beverage ideas…Skyview Upside-Down PorterZero Down ZinfandelBubblelicious Kool-AidHighly Leveraged LagerBitter Renter BittersRiverwalk Short Sale Ale ($5 a pint until one hour before close, when the price would drop to $3.50)I’d go in on a brewpub, provided we only accepted 401k debit cards, euros, or crude oil as payment.

  15. The present Arts Guild (when the building was still the Claude Reed Center) was looked at by some investors for use as a brew pub back in the early 1990s, but they declined to move ahead on the project.But did you know that Rahway once had its own brewery? Many communities sited along rivers boasted a local brewery to quench the thirst of farmhands and factory workers. Geyer’s Brewery was located on St. Georges Ave. across from Franklin School in the 19th century.

  16. How about Homietown,Homeless town,hobo town,bumtown and just add ale,larger,or indian pale ale to those name and ya got a drunk bum town.,

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