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Old 02-20-2021, 09:39 AM
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Default NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks to kids to freeze out Trump Organization

https://nypost.com/2021/02/20/nyc-sh...ice-out-trump/

NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks to kids to freeze out Trump Organization
By Lois Weiss, Elizabeth Elizalde and Nolan Hicks
February 20, 2021 | 12:00am | Updated

Skaters arriving at Central Park’s two ice rinks are in for a cold awakening next week — the rinks, which are both managed by the Trump Organization, are being shuttered by City Hall to punish the former president for the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, The Post has learned.

The Trump Organization says its last day of operating the iconic Wollman Rink and the smaller Lasker Rink at the park’s northern end will be Sunday.

The rink contracts had been set to expire in April, but Mayor de Blasio has moved to ice Trump out a month early, effective Feb. 26.

The Trump Organization is closing its doors after close of business on Sunday, so it will have time to pack up its belongings — including some 1,700 pairs of ice skates — and move out.

The city is terminating all four of its Trump Organization concession contracts.

“Trump has been impeached from operating the ice rink ,” a de Blasio spokesman had said Jan. 31 in announcing the concession terminations for Wollman Rink, along with Lasker Rink, the Central Park Carousel and Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx.

On a typical season, the two Central Park rinks operate through March and into early April. The carousel never opened for the season and remains closed due to the pandemic; the golf course closed for the season in December.

“Despite our appeals to the City to allow us to continue operations through the duration of the skating season — which would not only save the jobs of nearly 250 individuals who work or otherwise provide services Wollman and Lasker Rinks, but also allow us to continue to provide the numerous public skating sessions and skating and hockey programs that we host on a daily basis — the City rejected our efforts,” the Trump Organization told The Post in a statement.

Executive Vice President Eric Trump, the former commander in chief’s son, slammed de Blasio for being “petty” in ending the contracts, and said he was saddened that kids would be kept off the ice.

“The city is saying in effect, ‘We don’t care if it destroys the skating season; we want you out now,'” Trump told The Post. “This is one of the only things that kids can do” for outdoor winter recreation, he noted.

“De Blasio is now shutting down skating season while New York dies. It’s horribly sad,” he said.

“The mayor is absolutely petty. This isn’t about us, this is about the people of the city who come here to skate and disabled kids who joined hockey teams and others who joined skating school and take lessons every week,” Trump added.

The Trump Organization is appealing the contract terminations, including the city’s attempt to kick it out of the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, a contract worth millions and which has 18 more years left to run.

“This is purely a political stunt that only hurts New Yorkers,” Trump said. “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 destroying more jobs along with the only outdoor activity available to children during a pandemic. Why? To get back at a person who sits on the other side of the political aisle and now lives in Florida? Let’s cancel kids’ programs six weeks early, that will show Trump.”

Donald Trump rebuilt the then-run-down Wollman Rink at the park’s southern end in the summer of 1986, and it has since been a haven for families looking to skate and play hockey.

The Mayor’s Office could not immediately explain why the rinks were being closed without replacement concessionaires in place when asked late Friday.

The Parks Department confirmed to The Post that it had delivered a termination notice to the Trump Organization on January 15 with an effective date of Feb. 26 for both rinks.

The department is still looking for concessionaires to fill the gap, a spokeswoman said.

Companies have a March 19 deadline to submit their proposals.

“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 said.

The smaller Lasker Rink had already been set to close for renovations, the department said, as part of a $150 million rebuild also encompassing the Lasker Pool, but ground breaking was not slated to begin there until the spring, according to the Central Park Conservancy website.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks to kids to freeze out Trump Organization

https://nypost.com/2021/02/20/nyc-ic...-punish-trump/

Central Park ice skaters outraged at de Blasio for closing rinks to punish Trump
By Sara Dorn and Sam Raskin
February 20, 2021 | 7:38pm | Updated

Skaters at Central Park’s two rinks are devastated that this weekend will be their last on the ice this season — and angry at Mayor de Blasio for closing the Trump-run rinks early to spite his political nemesis.

The Post broke the news Saturday that Lasker and Wollman rinks will shut down Sunday, six weeks ahead of their typical April closing dates.

Last month, Hizzoner announced he was nixing the city’s contracts with the Trump Organization, alleging then-President Trump had encouraged rioters to storm the Capitol.

Trump’s business group, run by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, has operated the rinks for more than 30 years.

Skaters hitting the ice Saturday told The Post that they felt like pawns in de Blasio’s political game.

“The real people they’re hurting are the 2,500 children that have been benefiting from the skating program this season and 250 innocent employees who have been keeping this going for us,” said Lee Krausner, 49, while watching her two daughters skate.

Also Saturday, the Trump Organization posted a letter about the closing on a door at Wollman Rink.

Next to the letter was a notice about a petition to stop the rink from closing early. The petition, started by figure skater Sabrina Sabet, had more than 1,700 signatures by Saturday afternoon.

“I was so upset. I’ve literally skated here since I was 3 years old. …. We know everyone here, it’s like a second family,” said Sabet, 18, who was at the rink Saturday. “This is our senior year. So many things have already been ruined.”

Marc Weitzman, who has taught figure skating at Wollman for 12 years, told The Post that de Blasio’s decision will affect the young skaters more than Trump.

“I understand politics, I get it, but I think in this particular situation who ends up getting hurt are the children and all of us that teach here,” said Weitzman, 44.

The parks department is seeking a new concessionaire to operate the rinks, but proposals for the job aren’t due until March 19. The city also plans to sever contracts with the Trump Organization for the Central Park Carousel and Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx.

The mayor’s office could not explain Friday why another concessionaire wasn’t found before closing the rinks, and did not respond to questions from The Post on Saturday.

“I wish someone from the city would pick up the tabs. Bloomberg, or anybody, one of the big corporations so the kids don’t have to suffer,” said Francois Ragot, 50, whose son has been playing hockey at Lasker for the past decade.

“It was very sad,” he said. “Last night, the kids were playing hockey and we figured out there are no games for the rest of the season.”
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