Wollman and Lasker Rinks to Stay Open After de Blasio Changes His Tune; Trump Flag Confrontation

Photo by Stephen Harmon.

Mayor de Blasio said on Sunday that the city will allow the Trump Organization to continue operating Wollman and Lasker Rinks in Central Park through the end of the season, after an outcry from some skaters.

de Blasio had decided to terminate the city’s contract with the company after the Capital riots on Jan. 6. Normally the skating season runs until early April, but the city ended the contract as of Feb. 26, according to the Trump Organization. The company had said it would stop operating as of Monday.

But parents quickly organized and even held a demonstration on the ice on Sunday morning, holding signs that said “5 more weeks” and “Save Our Rink.”

Other city politicians also spoke out, with Comptroller Scott Strinegr calling on the mayor to change his mind.

A spokesman for the mayor then said the city would keep the rinks open through the season, according to the Times.

“New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year,” the mayor’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, said in a statement. “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.”

On Sunday, some of the political tensions came to a head on the ice.

“At Wollman, near the park’s southern end, an employee tackled a man who was skating with a 20-foot “Trump 2024” flag, wearing what appeared to be a “Make America Great Again” cap,” the Times reported. “Several witnesses said the man had cursed at employees and refused to leave the ice.”

NEWS | 34 comments | permalink
    1. John Plumber says:

      This city’s administration has zero foresight. Embarrassing

    2. ST says:

      De Blasio really is a dolt. Over and over again. Less than ten months left!

      • New boss same as old boss says:

        Why count down? He is only likely to be replaced by an equally feckless and inept person given NYC Voters’ current trend of voting into city govt office a very similar crowd to what exists now and yet miraculously hoping for better governance.

    3. Spence Halperin says:

      I understand the impulse 100% but wished they had not roughed the guy up.

      • UWSer says:

        When I saw that, I thought, “That is definitely a lawsuit.” But then I realized that if the Trump supporter sues, then he’s suing the Trump Organization which employs the guy who tackled him.

        • Boris says:

          The first thing that pops into your head is whether this action merits a lawsuit? I can think of several more important principles than that one. No wonder the system is broken.

          • UWSer says:

            Please feel free to list the “several more important principles.” Would love to hear your take on this. And why are you assuming that my sole thought about the video was a potential lawsuit?

    4. Adam paul says:

      I mean…

      Trump is an incompetent, narcissistic ass…

      …but holy hell. You do not tackle people and kick them out of public spaces for carrying political flags. What is going on???

      • Jason Redeson says:

        Sorry, buster, but that isn’t a political flag. It is hate speech and it isn’t protected.

        • Upper West Side Parent says:

          Since when did flying the flag of a candidate you don’t like become “hate speech?”

          • Peter says:

            Since the said candidate openly and proudly endorsed and associated with neo-Nazis, white supremacists, domestic terrorists, murderous foreign dictators and proven criminals.

            Other questions?

            • Upper West Side Parent says:

              Look, I think the former president was not a good president nor is he a good person at all (in my opinion). I also agree with you that he associated and, to some degree supported all of the horrible groups of people you describe.

              But a supporter flying a flag in support of his candidacy is not hate speech and will never be labeled hate speech and you know that.

            • JL says:

              @UWS parent-
              Never say never. The Trump era in US history is not over yet because of the support from the right. The crimes he has committed will keep the DoJ busy for a long time. How symbols are used in culture changes with time.


              We would ALL like to think we would be in the 10% (overwhelming minority) of Germans who opposed Hitler in the 30s. Also remember thousands of Jews served in the German military during WW2.


              Btw, not that facts matter anymore. The ice rink video shows the man was approached and a short conversation preceded the physical encounter.

            • JL says:

              Self edit second paragraph:
              We would like to think we would be in the 10% (overwhelming minority) who opposed Hitler in 1930s Germany.

              What I meant to say was evil doesn’t announce themselves as such. Humanity’s connectedness also increases our capacity to do great harm.

      • Logical person says:

        Frustrating how so many completely miss the point. It is incredibly unsafe to skate on a busy rink with a 20 ft flag pole. He refused to take the flag off the ice. Imagine you get hit by the flag, lost your balance, and crack your head open on the ice.

      • chuck d says:

        I don’t think you can have sticks on the ice, so I imagine it’s a pretty strict safety policy. A real lawsuit would’ve come if they let him keep carrying his stupid flag and he hit someone with it even by accident.

        Anyway, I’m sure that dude is proud of himself.

      • Steen says:

        It’s dangerous to skate on the ice with anything. They don’t even let drinks on the ice. Why do you think this guy should be allowed to carry a flag of any kind? If he fell and dropped the flag in the process, many people would be injured. He was being unnecessarily provocative and was a clear danger to others.

    5. Arthur says:

      Looking ahead, what is the likelihood that the City is capable of reviewing proposals, selecting a replacement vendor and awarding a contract to operate the rinks far enough in advance of the start of next skating season to enable a replacement vendor to order and receive supplies and equipment and to hire and train staff? Hopefully, the City has a plan.

      • Brandon says:

        The contract was set to expire in April. Lasker rink/swimming pool will be demolished and rebuilt. Hopefully they had a plan to get new vuds for vendors for Wollman and can get it open in the fall. It’s a gold mine. There should be plenty of businesses who want to run it

        • Jen says:

          As the previous commentator, I hope they find a good replacement and the plan (with concrete dates), before ruining what is currently functioning.

      • upper west side girly says:

        Mark it down, it will be YEARS before this city gets it’s act together for our children to skate again.

    6. SkaterHater says:

      Disgusting, cowardly, unprincipled, utterly self-entitled New Yorkers, capitulating to a Tyrant over skating rinks?


      • nemo paradise says:

        Which tyrant did you have in mind? I don’t think Cuomo has weighed in on the skating emergency, and de Blasio — well, you can call him many things, but “tyrant” seems excessive for someone so muddled and feckless.

    7. Jess says:

      Sorry … but that guy got exactly what he came for – for better or for worse. He knew full well what the reaction would be so spare us the outrage. Also – regardless of the message, it seems like skating with flag pole in hand in a crowded rink is potentially dangerous.

      On another note, de Blasio should have found someone to take over for the rest of the season if he wanted to chuck the Trump contract. Right now outdoor activities are all we have.

    8. tailfins says:

      People are missing why the guy was tackled. You can’t bring an object like that onto the ice. If he falls, if the flag got caught in high wind, etc., many other people could get injured. And potentially seriously. The ice is slick and hard, and people have blades strapped to their feet.

      The staff doesn’t even allow people to take pictures on the ice. No way they could allow someone to skate around with a giant flagpole.

    9. TH says:

      That flag and pole violate several rink safety rules and were a clear and present danger to everyone around that person. If that skater had fallen or started swing the flag maliciously, and number of innocent skaters around him could have been badly injured !

    10. chuck d says:

      Seems like whomever runs Bryan Park should do that in Central Park as well. It’s a much, much nicer experience. The Trump rinks were in disrepair and falling apart, just like his buildings.

    11. LYJ says:

      One again the incompetent mayor shoots off the cuff some random populist decision, without proper vetting or deliberations, which he then forced to reverse after some noise is made by the residents. Wished he had the best interests of all the residents as the primary consideration during his tenure. The city would have been in a much better shape. The disastrous violence and mess we are now facing are solely his responsibility as result of his continuous negligence and wrong priorities.

      • Ron Obvious says:

        It really is ironic how Trump-like our mayor is when it comes to petty vindictiveness and general incompetence.

    12. babrarus says:

      The best ice skating rink fixer – ever!

    13. carol lazare says:

      The clip above is from Freedom News which was owned by Aaron Kushner (a relative of Jared’s?) until 2015.