NYC seeks new operators for Central Park ice rink and carousel after canceling Trump contracts

February 5, 2021

Photo of The Wollman Rink by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr

New York City on Friday issued two requests for proposals to operate an ice rink and carousel in Central Park formerly run by the Trump Organization. Following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would terminate agreements with former President Donald Trump’s company for the operation of the Wollman and Lasker Rinks, the Central Park Carousel, and the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. The city’s Parks Department this week announced it is looking for new companies to operate and manage the Wollman Rink and the Carousel.

According to a press release, the request for proposal for the operation of Wollman Rink, located in the park between 62nd and 63rd Streets, involves maintaining the rink seasonally and offering summer activities and food service. The Parks Department is looking for a company to operate the rink for five years, with the option for a six-month extension.

For the Central Park Carousel, the city is looking for a concessionaire to operate the site for up to five years. The city is encouraging the new operator to operate a “non-motorized pushcart for the sale of gifts and souvenirs and up to three non-motorized mobile food units for the sale of snack food items,” according to the release. The contracts are worth $45 million, as the New York Post reported.

As 6sqft reported last month, each contract involves a different termination process. The termination of the contract for the Carousel was effective 25 days after the city’s notice and the agreement for the Wollman and Lasker Rinks ended after 30 days written notice. Notably, the contracts for the ice skating rinks were set to expire this year anyway.

The process for terminating the Ferry Point contract “is more detailed and is expected to take a number of months.” The agreement for the city-owned golf is in effect until 2032, according to the contract.

“The President incited a rebellion against the United States government that killed five people and threatened to derail the constitutional transfer of power,” de Blasio said in a press release announcing the contract cancellations. “The City of New York will not be associated with those unforgivable acts in any shape, way or form, and we are immediately taking steps to terminate all Trump Organization contracts.”

The Washington Post reported that the city concessions have brought the Trump Organization about $17 million in revenue per year.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer this week wrote a letter asking de Blasio to award the ice rinks contract to the Central Park Conservancy. According to Brewer, if Wollman and Lasker Rinks are sole-sourced to the Conservancy, as they were with the Trump Organization, any revenue made from the rinks would be reinvested in the park. Plus, Brewer argues the Conservancy would be able to offer more community programs and invest in capital improvements at Wollman Rink.

“The City made the right decision in terminating the agreements with the Trump Organization, but it is critical for the residents of New York City that there is no disruption in the operations of the rinks and that the rinks are managed with a community-first ethos,” Brewer wrote to the mayor.

‘With that in mind, we strongly urge the City to enter into an agreement with the Central Park Conservancy to operate the Wollman and Lasker facilities. It is time these precious assets are managed by an entity that has shown its commitment to the City and the Park, that shares the values of all New Yorkers across the five boroughs, and that will invest in the Park on behalf of those who need it most.”


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