By Carol Tannenhauser
Monday, October 17, 2022
Showers. High 65 degrees.
Our calendar has lots of local events! Click on the link or the lady in the upper righthand corner.
New York City is experiencing a blood shortage, according to the American Red Cross. To help out, a group of local real estate brokers is sponsoring its second annual community blood drive on October 30th from 10am to 4pm at the Compass offices at 2150 Broadway, between W. 75 and W. 76 Streets. You can make an appointment to donate here.
In January, 2022, a controversial statue was removed from its pedestal in front of the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West between W. 77th and W. 81st Streets, because it was deemed racist in its depiction of Theodore Roosevelt in relation to his companions: Black and Native-American men. The statue had stood for more than 80 years.
Then, earlier this month, the New York Philharmonic opened its 2022-23 season, and the newly renovated David Geffen Hall, with an original composition by Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles. Called San Juan Hill: A New York Story, it features Charles’ Creole Soul Jazz Band and the Philharmonic. “San Juan Hill was [the neighborhood] razed in the 1950s so that Lincoln Center might rise,” wrote Peggy Taylor, who covered the opening for the Rag. “The Center, once viewed as aloof from the surrounding neighborhoods, is reaching out to those neighborhoods and acknowledging a more inclusive vision of the past.”
Now, Wollman Rink, the public ice-skating facility at the southern tip of Central Park, an institution in its own right, has announced that it will open for the season on October 23rd with a “free public skate” (and rentals) and an elaborate celebration. Amid the music and performances will be presentations of new initiatives to help “provide access for New Yorkers who have not historically been able to afford to visit Wollman Rink,” a spokesperson for the group that runs the rink informed the Rag.
Full-disclosure: this reporter was skeptical when a private group won the Wollman Rink concession in April 2021, edging out the Central Park Conservancy, after the Trump Organization was stripped of all its New York City contracts as a result of the former president’s alleged involvement in the incitement of the January 6th Insurrection.
Still, Wollman Park Partners (WPP) — a joint venture between Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils) and the Related Companies and Equinox — stated in a press release that they were “not seeking or accepting any of the profit from operating Wollman Rink. Any net proceeds generated during the concession term will be reinvested in the facility and through community partners providing services at Wollman Rink.” Furthermore, “we are refining our programming to be inclusive and accessible to all.”
As the second season of WPP’s five-year contract dawns, they seem to be holding to that mission. On opening day, they will announce a new partnership with Culture Pass, which is accessed with a New York Public Library card, offering free admission tickets, as well as the expansion of the Wollman Rink Access Program (WRAP), offering free tickets and a special package deal to those from “impoverished zip codes.” There will also be free skate days for first responders and essential workers, veterans and active service members, and public-sectors workers.
Full disclosure: this reporter’s skepticism has changed to cautious optimism…and excitement!