A historic weekend in Queens

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Queens added to its rich past with a historic weekend.

Right on our border in Elmont, Justify clinched the horse racing triple crown Saturday at the 150th Belmont Stakes and became just the 13th horse ever to accomplish the feat, the first since American Pharoah in 2015. Before Pharoah, there had not been a triple crown winner since 1978.

A horse earns the triple crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont stakes. Justify won the Kentucky Derby May 5 and clinched the victory at Preakness May 16.

The scene at Belmont, where there was a crowd of about 90,000 fans who came from across the country, was extraordinary. It’s not often one can see such a historic event in person. Yet thousands became a part of history June 9.

But that wasn’t the only memorable occurrence to take place in our borough last weekend.

A Jackson Heights photographer put a Queens spin on his father’s famous portrait Saturday.

In August 1958, Art Kane, a freelance photographer on assignment for Esquire magazine, snapped a photo of 57 jazz musicians in front of a Harlem brownstone.

The black-and-white photo, dubbed “A Great Day in Harlem,” features Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and other legends and symbolized the neighborhood’s moment as the world’s center for jazz.

On Saturday, Art’s son, Jonathan, recreated the iconic photo in front of the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The shoot was originally planned for May 18, but weather postponed the event June 9. The photo included people from various countries, which shows the diversity of “The World’s Borough.”

Rather than using just one photo to recreate the original image, The Queens Tourism Council will choose 12 of them and publish a 2019 calendar entitled “A Great Day in Queens.”

These special occasions should not be taken for granted. We need to appreciate history when it comes to our borough.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we should be able to look back at these moments and smile, knowing they took place right in our own backyard.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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