NYC replaces Trump Organization as operator of Central Park’s Wollman Rink

Posted On Wed, July 7, 2021 By

Posted On Wed, July 7, 2021 By In City Living, Policy

All renderings: VStudios, co-designed by Gensler and Rockwell Group

A joint venture made up of businesses and some nonprofit groups will run Central Park’s Wollman Rink, officially replacing the Trump Organization as the operator, the city’s Parks Department announced on Tuesday. Earlier this year, the agency issued requests for proposals to operate and manage Wollman Rink and the Central Park Carousel, both of which were formerly run by President Donald Trump’s company. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would terminate any agreements with the organization following the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Wollman Park Partners, LLC is made up of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (the firm which owns the New Jersey Devils and Newark’s Prudential Center), Related Companies, and Equinox. Community partners include Great Performances, Melba’s Restaurant, YMCA, Ice Hockey in Harlem, Figure Skating in Harlem, The Boys’ Club of New York, and Green City Force.

Parks sought an operator to maintain the rink seasonally and offer summer activities and food service. Following a “competitive RFP process,” the agency selected Wollman Park Partners (WPP) to operate the rink for a five-year term, with the option of a six-month extension. As of now, WPP says it could open the rink for the winter season on November 15.

The bid is set to enter the public review process. A public hearing on the concession agreement will be held on July 21 at Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center.

The firm’s bid reinvesting any profit generated by the rink in the community partners, programs, and capital improvements. WPP plans to make necessary upgrades to equipment, systems, seating, and landscaping. The firm plans to offer a wide range of programming and events, including skating programs tailored to undersized communities.

“Now is the time for New York City to think big. As we plan for our City’s future, our cultural institutions are at the forefront of imagining and revitalizing the type of urban experience we aspire to, one that’s inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all New Yorkers,” Josh Harris and David Blitzer, co-founders of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, said. “That’s why Wollman Park Partners is committed to restoring Wollman Rink to a place of joy, pride and community development in the City.”

Following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would terminate agreements with the Trump Organization for the operation of the Wollman and Lasker Rinks, the Central Park Carousel, and the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point.

While the contracts for the ice skating rinks were already set to expire this year, the agreement for the city-owned golf course was not set to end until 2032.

In response, the Trump Organization sued the city last month, claiming the cancelation of its Bronx golf course contract earlier this year was politically motivated. The lawsuit argues the mayor had a “pre-existing, politically-based predisposition to terminate Trump-related contracts, and the city used the events of January 6, 2021 as a pretext to do so.”

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Renderings: VStudios, co-designed by Gensler and Rockwell Group

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