AQUEDUCT MURALS

URBAN WALL DECAL AT IT’S BEST

Urban Wall Décor & Graffiti Wallpaper Murals

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THE ORIGINAL AQUEDUCT MURALS FESTIVAL

The Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens, is the city’s final racetrack. It has its own subway stop across the Belt Parkway from Kennedy Airport, and it has been derided almost since its inception in 1894, as the low-rent cousin of the upscale tracks that once dotted New York City, such as Jerome Park and Morris Park in what is now the Bronx, and the extant Belmont Park on the border of Queens and Nassau County.

Aqueduct is largely ignored by Thoroughbred racing’s main marketing and broadcasting organizations. Only practical, not decorative, hats are found there: baseball caps or, more generally, wool hats to keep the hardy who visit the track from November to April wet. The celebrities so coveted by the sport’s promoters are hard to come by.

Instead, you’ll find an ethnically diverse crowd, mostly men, who hold Aqueduct near the top of the monthly handle league table during the winter months. People who arrived on the A train don’t seem to mind that they won’t be greeted with a red carpet. Horseplayers can be found.

This weekend, you’ll be able to see original street art designed by 11 national and international artists as part of the Aqueduct Murals project, which is currently being installed and will open on Saturday afternoon.

The New York Racing Association’s corporate development department’s Paul Kelleher said, “Aqueduct is my favorite track.” He is the one who came up with the idea for the project.

“I like the gritty feel of Aqueduct; it has a city vibe,” he continued. It was the ideal place, he reasoned, for displaying street art, which often takes the form of murals on city buildings. Joe Iurato, a well-connected acquaintance, agreed to curate the event after he approached him.

This week, between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., the artists took over the track, using stencils and spray paint to create art on the track’s walls, incorporating racing scenes, horses, and jockeys. On Twitter and Instagram, Iurato is filming the installation.

In a press release, Iurato said, “Part of the beauty of street art is its impermanence.” “A work can last an hour or a few years, but every artist recognizes that it will not last indefinitely. It’s not every day that you see an exhibition like this, where large-scale works are shown indoors. It retains a little piece of New York history that would otherwise be lost to time.”

The recent painting over of the Five Pointz graffiti and Banksy’s recent visit to New York, both unrelated to the Aqueduct Murals project, have highlighted the ephemeral nature of street art.

He said, “We didn’t match our event with those.” “We had no idea Banksy was going to be doing installations in New York, and Five Pointz is mostly graffiti art, while this would be murals.”

“However,” he added, “it turned out to be extremely well-timed.”

The artists reflect a variety of styles and creative backgrounds, hailing from New York, Baltimore, Newark, South Africa, and Berlin, among other places. Chris Stain hails from Middle Village, which is about a five-mile drive from the racetrack.

He told the New York Racing Association, “When I was asked to do the show, it instantly reminded me of my grandfather.” “I’ve always heard him talk about the racetrack and the horses, so it has nostalgic meaning for me, and it’s a way to learn more about it.”

The show is free and accessible to the public, and it will open to the public on Saturday, November 23 from noon to 4:30 p.m. The first race starts at 12:20 p.m.

The public is invited to an evening reception from 6 to 10 p.m., which will include the opportunity to meet the artists, a DJ, a sponsored bar with discounted drink rates, and art prints for sale. The event’s proceeds will go to the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s Take the Lead and Take 2 services, which help horses retire and retrain after their racing careers are over.

Although Aqueduct regulars like Kelleher appreciate the track’s gritty nature, he’s looking forward to a shift in the track’s interior, one that reflects Aqueduct’s urban sensibility.

“With a modern city feel,” he said, “the exhibit will be a new interpretation of the sport of kings.”