NYRA, tear down this fence.
Visitors to Belmont Park and those who see it on TV once a year can't help but delight in its lush garden setting. August Belmont Jr., the financier and supporter of this grand new track back in 1905, wanted it modeled on the great public spaces of Europe and to be as accessible as Manhattan's Central and Brooklyn's Prospect parks.
Belmont is beautiful, but unless it's one of the 90 or so days each year when it hosts racing, the towering black metal fence on Hempstead Turnpike is shut tight and the community shut out. There is much freer access to the grounds at NYRA's famous track in bucolic Saratoga. The Elmont and Floral Park communities tolerate an ugly backstretch and odors that diminish the quality of life. They should share some of Belmont's benefits.