“I had a lot of fun,” he said. “It wasn’t very crowded, but the aura was very energetic and enthusiastic. I didn’t bet, but even people that didn’t bet would start yelling right before the finish line and root for the horses that were in the lead.”
Mangano had predicted that the event would be even bigger and more popular this year, generating more revenue for surrounding businesses, bars and restaurants in particular. The crowds on Hempstead Turnpike were noticeable, but how far race fans traveled from Belmont Park was hard to measure. Bars in surrounding towns, such as Franklin Square and Floral Park, reported that the big race did not seem to have much of an effect on their business.
“It’s been steady and normal,” said a hostess at Brews Brothers Grille in Franklin Square. “There haven’t been any more people coming to this part.”
Tavonia Madison Taylor, 25, of Elmont, said she thinks the Belmont Stakes has a positive effect on the area. “I think that the Stakes are great for the community,” Taylor said. “I don’t like the traffic at all, but it’s worth the recognition of our community.”