Colorful horses come to Aqueduct racetrack

The Aqueduct Racetrack was painted over with 14 street artist murals. Credit: Aymann Ismail, ANIMAL
Street artists revamped the Aqueduct Racetrack with murals. Credit: Aymann Ismail/Animal

“Horse racing has been the same for decades. It’s time to shake the tradition up a bit,” says street artist Joe Iurato, standing next to his collaborative mural with artist Logan Hicks at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

It’s a dramatic, photorealistic black-and-white image of horses and their jockeys reaching the finish line, applied immaculately through layers and layers of stencils with spray paint over the course of a few late nights last week.

There are more than a dozen murals splashed across the formerly beige walls, between the terminals and above the betting crowds. The racetrack turns 120 years old next year. The New York Racing Association commissioned the project and recruited Iurato, who brought together an international group of 11 street artists from Brooklyn, New Jersey, South Africa, Australia and more to dress up the place with 14 vibrant, graffiti-influenced tributes to racing.

“Very cool,” says Peter, who has been going to the track for 20 years since coming to New York from Jamaica. “Racing is my game!”

No one here tells us their last names, but Peter says Hicks and Iurato’s piece is his favorite. Others say they liked the close-up horse and jockey portrait sprayed in bright red, black and grey by Los Angeles artist David Flores and the abstract, colorful “A” design covering both sides of the escalator walls by Rubin from Sweden.

“Ten times the upgrade,” says Anijah. “It livens up the place!” said one older gentleman who declined to give his name. He comes to the track four times a week.

“They’re here to bet, not to look at art,” a security guard says. “The art is OK, I guess. I used to write graffiti when I was young.”

The betting crowds by the terminals occasionally erupt in chants and stomps. Tiny mountains of discarded betting forms are beginning to gather on the floor. A pigeon flies through the building.

The Saturday night artist reception is almost unnoticeable in the regular bustle. A DJ table is set up near the entrance, a bit far from the main concourse.

“They’re beautiful. They’re beautiful,” says Miguel, nodding. “I like them because I’m also an artist,” his friend chimes in. Their eyes are locked onto the terminal. Miguel points at the murals, still looking at the screen. “They’re making money and we’re losing money,” he laughs.

For more stories like this visit AnimalNewYork.com.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.