New Yorkers who commuted to the Belmont Stakes on Saturday hoping to see the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years had nothing likely faced disappointment twice after both California Chrome and the trains home were a bit of a letdown.
More than 102,000 people — the third-highest recorded attendance ever — went to the 146th annual race to see California Chrome run for the Triple Crown only to see challenger Tonalist crowned champion.
The day only got worse for those New York City residents who took the Long Island Rail Road up. The commuter rail, in conjunction with the New York Racing Association, promoted its services for days before the event and prepared extra trains specifically for the event.
— MTA (@MTA) June 5, 2014
— MTA (@MTA) April 30, 2014
But when the race wrapped up, some commuters found themselves stranded as the trains struggled to keep up with the flood of bodies looking to get back home. For many, a one-hour journey became a five-hour ordeal that soon became obvious over social media.
— Kaitlyn Cronin (@k8_cro) June 8, 2014
— Chris R. Vaccaro (@ChrisVaccaro) June 8, 2014
— Michael Monday (@michaelmonday) June 8, 2014
— Gina (@GinaAntonEsq) June 8, 2014
@LIRR you guys are terrible!!!!! Horrible what you did to all the people at Belmont today.
— Bob Montgomery (@theonlyemmett) June 8, 2014
— Alicia Schiro (@AliciaMSchiro) June 8, 2014
Tons of @LIRR problems getting out of Belmont. Amazing breakdown of infrastructure again. Tempers would be hot as lava if it were hot/humid.
— Long Island Weather (@liweatherman) June 8, 2014
One New York Times reporter even predicted the situation.
33,810 people have taken LIRR to the Belmont “so far,” per MTA. Trains carry about 1,000 people. Trip home should be fun for everyone.
— Matt Flegenheimer (@mattfleg) June 7, 2014
But train commuters weren’t the only ones to suffer. Poor crowd management ensured that most people who took their own cars up would also be stuck for hours.
Hour 3 of @TheNYRA Belmont abandonment in parking lot. Still no way out. We are about to elect our own government.
— Rob Westervelt (@slakboy) June 8, 2014
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