Trump-operated ice rinks in Central Park to stay open for rest of season

Posted On Mon, February 22, 2021 By

Posted On Mon, February 22, 2021 By In Policy

Photo of the Wollman Rink by bekhap on Flickr

Two ice rinks in Central Park that are operated by the Trump Organization will now remain open for the rest of the season instead of shuttering early as originally planned. The Trump Organization announced it would close Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink on Sunday after city officials requested the company cease operations on February 26, ahead of the contract’s April expiration. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the termination of the agreements with former President Donald Trump’s company for the ice rinks and two other city concessions following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a reversal, the city on Sunday said the rinks can stay open for the remainder of the season.

“New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year,” Bill Neidhardt, the mayor’s press secretary, said in a statement to the New York Times. “The Wollman and Lasker rinks will stay open under current management for the few weeks left in this season. But make no mistake, we will not be doing business with the Trump Organization going forward. Inciting an insurrection will never be forgotten or forgiven.”

As the New York Post first reported, the Trump Organization was ordered by the city to close the rinks effective February 26, just over a month before the contract was set to expire. The company said it would close by end of business on Sunday in order to pack up.

Eric Trump, the son of the former president and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, told the Post that the company asked the city to allow for the rinks to remain open for the rest of the season to “not only save the jobs of nearly 250 individuals who work or otherwise provide services Wollman and Lasker Rinks, but also allow us to continue to provide the numerous public skating sessions and skating and hockey programs that we host on a daily basis.”

“The mayor is absolutely petty,” Trump told the Post. “This isn’t about us, this is about the people of the city who come here to skate and disabled kids who joined hockey teams and others who joined skating school and take lessons every week.”

Following the deadly insurrection at the Capitol last month, de Blasio said the city would terminate the agreements for the two ice rinks, the Central Park Carousel, and the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx. “Goodbye to the Trump Organization,” de Blasio said during a press briefing in January. “We’re not doing any business with you.”

The city’s Parks Department earlier this month issued two requests for proposals to operate Wollman Rink and the carousel, contracts that are worth $45 million. 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.

According to the Washington Post, the city concessions have brought the Trump Organization about $17 million in revenue per year.

In a tweet posted on Sunday, Eric Trump thanked the mayor for allowing the company to keep the rinks open. “This is a bright moment for New York and please know we appreciate it,” he wrote.  “I look forward to saying ‘thanks’ in person.”

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