Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens is the last racetrack in New York City. Across the Belt Parkway from Kennedy Airport, it has its own stop on the subway, and virtually from the day of its opening 1894, it has been disparaged, the down-market cousin of the upscale tracks that used to populate New York City, tracks like Jerome Park and Morris Park in what is now the Bronx, and the extant Belmont Park, on the border of Queens in Nassau County.
The major marketing and broadcast arms in Thoroughbred racing pretty much ignore Aqueduct. The only hats you’ll find there are utilitarian, not decorative: baseball caps or, more commonly, wool hats to keep warm the heads of the hardy who frequent the track from November to April. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the celebrities so prized by the sport’s promoters.
Instead, you’ll find an ethnically diverse crowd, mostly men, whose wagering dollars keep Aqueduct near the top of the league table of monthly handle during the winter months. You’ll find people who have arrived on the A train and who don’t much care that no red carpet awaits them. You’ll find horseplayers.
And this weekend, you’ll find original street art, created by 11 national and international artists, part of the Aqueduct Murals project that is being installed this week and that will open on Saturday afternoon.
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