West Side Rag »Wollman Rink and Central Park Carousel Get New Operators After Trump Withdrawal

Posted on July 7, 2021 at 9:41 p.m. by West Sider

The New York Parks Department selected new operators for Wollman Rink, months after the mayor said the Trump Organization could no longer operate the rink.

The new operator is a joint venture between Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, related companies and Equinox. Harris Blitzer owns the New Jersey Devils. The city says the group will modernize the ice rink, located in Central Park around 63rd Street, and work with community organizations to open it up to a wider range of users. All net profits will be reinvested in the rink, the parks department said. The contract would be for five years; there will be a hearing on this on July 21 at the Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center.

The Central Park Conservancy had criticized the process for selecting a new operator and said the city should have chosen a nonprofit like the conservancy.

“As the primary custodian of Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy remains committed to working with our city partners and their dealers to ensure the park is a beautiful, clean and welcoming community space for all visitors. of the park, ”the conservancy said in a statement after the announcement of the new operator.

The Trump Organization lost the concession because Mayor de Blasio accused Trump of instigating the Jan.6 uprising on Capitol Hill and said the city no longer wanted to do business with him. Others, including board member Mark Levine, had pushed Trump to lose the concession beforehand.

The franchise fight nearly derailed the skating season, after the Trump Organization said it was on lockdown. City ended up extending the contract until the end of the season.

Although Trump is leaving, some of the new owners have been linked to him in the past. Stephen Ross, president and founder of Related, owner of Equinox, had previously been criticized for raising funds for Trump.

The Lasker Rink, at the north end of the park, is being rebuilt and will not be open this winter. It had also been exploited by the Trump Organization.

The famous Carousel concession in Central Park, also formerly operated by Trump’s company, is expected to be awarded to Central Amusement International. Thanks to Upper West Sider for the tip.