Belmont Park's Train Terminal
Belmont Park Train Terminal
The History of the Terminal
Belmont Park's early success had be lead by the convenient access
to the Long Island Railroad terminal. The terminal also served as a
switch over, from the diesel trains from the city, to the
steam-powered trains from the LIRR. The original location of the
terminal was south of Hempstead Turnpike.
is to be believed that the area known as the Locustwood Estates was
once originally part of this massive terminal, that Belmont one time
hoped to be the Penn Station equivalent on Long island. As we know
now, that did not occur, as much of the transit system eventually
merged together, forming today what is the MTA. Belmont endeavors in
mass transit went to the creation of the subway system. Even in the
original blue prints of the Train Terminal, there was a plan to
connect a subway line to it.
The Terminal served as an integral component of transportation in
1910, as over 150,000 individuals attended the International Aviation
Tournament held at Belmont Park, during the time horse racing was
outlawed in New York State.
In 1917, part of the Terminal was damaged due to the great fire,
that destroyed most of the park, including the luxurious clubhouse and
horses. Adjacent to the original terminal until the 1920s was a
steeplechase course track, named the Belmont Park Terminal.
When the Greater New York Association, then renamed to New York
Racing Association the following year took over in 1955, the train
terminal was moved to its present location north of the turnpike after
the 1956 season.
current terminal still helps to bring patrons to Belmont Park during
the racing season. It has helped to secure Belmont Park's legacy in
the history books as record holder of the largest attended sporting
event and the only US venue to hold over 100,000 individuals in both
centuries. As regular attendance declined since the 1970s, due to the
establishments of Off Track Betting, and later technologies such as at
home racing television channels and the internet, one thing still
continued. When the races really mattered, people continue to show.
In 2002, 103,222 people attended Belmont Park to watch the Belmont
Stakes, and then that record was broken two years later in 2004 with
120,139 in attendance. In comparison, the number is almost
doubled of that who attended the Super Bowl that year. The benefit of
having a train station immediately adjacent to Belmont Park surely did
help to attract large crowds.
Despites the rail system deterioration, and often comical stories
of the train's inability to move back and forth from the station. The
terminal still stands, on the Queens border, continually helping
Belmont Park for its contributions to the history of sports and for
its continual legacy.