Central Park’s Wollman Rink and Carousel Get New Operators After Trump Organization Pushed Out

The New York Parks Department has chosen 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 upgrade the rink, which is located in Central Park around 63rd Street, and work with community organizations to open it to a broader cross-section of users. All net proceeds will be reinvested into the rink, the Parks Department said. The contract would be for five years; there will be a hearing on it on July 21 at Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center.

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

“As the primary caretakers of Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy remains committed to working in collaboration with our City partners and with their concessionaires to make sure the Park is a beautiful, clean, and welcoming community space for all Park visitors,“ 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 inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and said the city didn’t want to do business with him anymore. Others, including Council member Mark Levine, had been pushing for Trump to lose the concession beforehand.

The fight over the concession nearly derailed the skating season, after the Trump Organization said it was locked out. The 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, the chairman and founder of Related, which owns Equinox, was previously criticized for raising money for Trump. 

Lasker Rink, at the northern end of the park, is being reconstructed, and won’t be open this coming winter. It had also been operated by the Trump Organization.

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

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 18 comments | permalink
    1. OldDimerNYer says:

      Did a little digging here…
      Real Estate Weekly says Central Amusement International runs Luna Park and Victorian Gardens.

      https://rew-online.com/related-jv-tapped-to-replace-trump-at-wollman-ice-rink/

      I’ve been to both fairs, they are HUGE rip offs!! Bummer that the Carousel will be run by a group of greedy folks. I have to admit though, it’s better than being run by the old guys.

      • RAL says:

        “WPP would not seek or accept any of the profit from operating Wollman Rink. Any net proceeds generated during the concession term would be committed to community partners, programming, and capital improvements at the licensed premises.”

    2. Juan says:

      I despise Trump and I have no link to Stephen Ross, but why is it that every time he is mentioned here, his fund raising for Trump is mentioned? Unlike Trump, Ross happens to be one of the most philanthropic people around, including raising a lot of money for minority communities.

      Give it a rest.

      • Brandon says:

        If Ross didn’t want to be associated with Trump, he shouldn’t have raised funds for him. And it’s relevant here, given that Trump’s company is the operator that Ross’ company is helping to replace.

        • Phil says:

          Agreed not relevant, give it rest. What is relevant and of interest to the community is that the new operator keeps the Figure Skating, and learn to skate programs, which have been a fixture at Wollman Rink for decades. Anyone have any information on programming.

      • Otis says:

        Stephen Ross is no angel. In the midst of the pandemic he was suing his struggling commercial tenants for not paying rent while at the same time he was not paying rent on his Equinox locations.

        His Hudson Yards project was from day one highly dependent on enormous government subsidies and handouts. I hate sounding like a liberal but HY was basically government funded luxury housing for the 1% and subsidized offices for large and wealthy corporate tenants.

        Whatever alleged amounts he is giving to charities are basically being funded by these taxpayer subsidies.

    3. Chuck d says:

      I hope they do away with that stupid temp fun fair that’s there in the summer. Roller skate would be so much better

      • OldDimerNYer says:

        They’re planning on having concerts during the summer according to the press release and photos. Same people as Summerstage.

      • Carlos says:

        Clams on the half shell and roller skates. Good times!

      • UWS Dad says:

        I hope to see the back of the funfair too. However my kids, and many other people’s kids, will be devastated.

      • Ann Lurie Berlin says:

        Good

    4. Ruth says:

      So nothing has really changed – These “public” amenities will continue to be run for the profit of the 1% which have close ties to Trump, if they’re not actually ghost companies for that empire. The City just washed its hands of the stain of such an obvious, transparent aliance to the great orange hatemonger.

    5. Joey says:

      Good luck to the new concessionaires they have a tough act to follow. Hope they can meet the set standards.

    6. Just a by-stander says:

      I am curious what the author means by “ open it to a broader cross-section of users”. Were there users who were denied access? It has become customary to use the PC jargon on equity and inclusiveness even when it is meaningless. The rink is open to the public in a city park, for God’s sake.

      • Brandon says:

        Ice Hockey in Harlem serves a different set of kids than any other hockey program in the city as does Figure Skating in Harlem. They are displaced from Lasker Rink while it is being rebuilt (and when it returns as one big rink instead of 2 small ones who knows how much ice time these programs will get). Ice Hockey in Harlem, besides teaching hockey, also provides academic support for the kids year round. There was nothing like this at Wollman, They had a different population of kids signing up for learn to skate and learn to play hockey.

      • Bill Kraemer says:

        We are an over-served community and should be more introspective as to why we choose not to be more inclusive.

    7. UWSConcerned says:

      Such a bummer that the carnival hasn’t opened and carousel hasn’t been running. Good job though DeBlasio, you really showed Trump.

    8. J Rivkin says:

      I happen to know that Related and it’s partners have nothing but the best intentions here! An important franchise like this deserves operators who do it for a living. And YES they’re reinvesting profit for the benefit of the rink and are committed to community partnerships! A terrific deal. I grew up on UWS and skated there at least once/week. I feel relieved.