NYC rinks to stay open for now despite dispute with Trump
NEW YORK (AP) — Two Central Park ice rinks that were set to close after Sunday because New York City is cutting ties with the Trump Organization that operates them will stay open until the end of the season.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, said in a statement Sunday that the rinks will stay open for the remaining weeks of the season but added, “make no mistake, we will not be doing business with the Trump Organization going forward. Inciting an insurrection will never be forgotten or forgiven.”
De Blasio’s administration announced last month it would terminate business contracts with President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The rinks were expected to close after Sunday’s sessions.
In a tweet Sunday evening, Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, thanked de Blasio and wrote, “you’ve just made countless NYC families (along w our 250 employees) incredibly happy. This is a bright moment for New York and please know we appreciate it. I look forward to saying “thanks” in person.”
Earlier, Eric Trump had called the move to close the rinks “purely a political stunt that only hurts New Yorkers.”
“Instead of focusing on a dying city which everyone is leaving because of rising crime, high taxes, closed businesses and totally incompetent leadership, the Mayor is painting signs in front of Trump Tower and trying to destroy the only outdoor activity available to children during a pandemic,” Trump said in a statement.
De Blasio said the Trump Organization earns about $17 million a year in profits from its contracts to run the skating rinks, as well as a carousel in Central Park and a golf course in the Bronx.
He said the city would seek new vendors for all the attractions.
“We are working diligently through our competitive RFP process to secure new operators for these great amenities so as not to impact the respective seasons,” Parks spokeswoman Crystal Howard told the New York Post.
The rinks are used by youth skating and hockey programs.
“Everyone was absolutely devastated, every kid, their parents, their coaches,” Malik Garvin, director of Ice Hockey in Harlem, told CBS. “Kids are paying the price for something they had nothing to do with.”