Lasker Rink, an ice rink at the North end of Central Park, will close for this winter season because of refrigeration problems, the rink’s management announced on its website Friday. The rink, run by Donald Trump, cancelled all of its hockey programs, leaving hundreds of young people and adults in the lurch.
One reader contacted us to voice frustration about the decision, which was made with no warning or explanation.
“The decision about closing Lasker Rink affects many hundreds of children, adults and families on the west side and in Harlem. I am a grandparent of two players and have been at Lasker Rink many nights to see the excitement of the children and adults who participate in the hockey program. The programs seem to important to be dismissed on the basis that the city engineer says the unit needs to be replaced. Time? Money? Lack of Interest? This is November and hockey would continue for several months.”
The Trump organization has not said much about the closure. “The City engineers have been through our facility and realized the refrigeration plant must be replaced,” the rink website stated, before that message was pulled down from the site. Alan Strachan, director of the hockey program, sent around a short message telling people: “All CPIH practices are cancelled, all classes cancelled, all leagues are cancelled and all games for this season are cancelled. Bags should be removed from the equipment room ASAP.”
He wrote that “It is with a heavy heart that I have to deliver this news from above. I am sure you have lots of questions which I do not have the answers for just now. I am sure you might be angry and I hope that it will not be directed towards me.”
It’s not clear why this problem wasn’t discovered earlier, or why the entire season must be cancelled. The rink’s managers have not been getting back to reporters. There’s apparently no sign at the rink to tell people what’s going on. The city parks department said “that it would attempt to fix the rink’s concrete slab and valves to identify and repair the source of a leak ‘in the hope of reopening the rink to the public later this season,'” the Times reported.
“In the meantime, the Trump Organization, along with NYC Parks, will work with the community and other area rinks to try to accommodate hockey and skating groups who call Lasker Rink home,” the statement added. “Refunds will also be issued to any organizations who reserved and paid for use of the rink during the time that it will be closed.”
For casual skating, Lasker is a much less expensive option than Trump’s Wollman Rink (in the park around 63rd street), where admission and skate rental on the weekend can run a family of four $70, and about one-third of the rink is often roped off for private lessons.