Perhaps as expected, leaving Belmont Stakes was not easy on Saturday night.
Multiple reports including tweets from Newsday's Jim Baumbach and Laura Albanese described an absence of lights, employees, security personnel or police officers in the parking lots outside the grounds as thousands upon thousands of attendees attempted to leave Elmont, N.Y. following the 146th annual Belmont Stakes on Saturday. There were reports of a "standstill" of cars for approximately three hours in the parking lots, with some people reportedly abandoning their vehicles in search of other transportation options.
Footage from bystanders showed a portion of the large crowd gathering outside the Long Island Railroad waiting for train officials to allow them to board. Antoine Gara, a reporter for TheStreet.com, tweeted at 9:37 p.m. -- several hours after the last race had ended -- that a police officer said the trains were closed. The Long Island Railroad Twitter account showed trains running late, but there was no statement or indication the railroad was closed altogether.
According to a report from the New York Racing Association on Saturday night, more than 102,000 people attended the 146th annual Belmont Stakes this year.
Line to get to LIRR leaving Belmont Park. A cop just said the trains were closed. The best way out is on horseback.. pic.twitter.com/Vx65r5IfDG
— Antoine Gara (@AntoineGara) June 8, 2014
The Belmont parking lot is at a standstill. It looks like a dirt-covered refugee camp out of a zombie apocalypse.
— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) June 8, 2014
People straight up leaving their cars since there hasn't been movement in about half hour. I'd sleep here were I not afraid for my life. — Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) June 8, 2014
Worst part: no lights, no employees, no security, no police, no concrete. You're on your own. Unacceptable for a major event. — Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) June 8, 2014