The Trump-owned Wollman and Lasker ice-skating rinks in New York City's Central Park have undergone significant rebranding that included the removal of the president's name from nearly all locations.
The Trump Organization, which has owned the rinks since the 1980s, has been scrubbing the once-prominent presence of Trump's name from the walls of the rinks, park signs, and the skate rental counter. Donald Trump became the concessions operator for Wollman after he made a deal with NYC Mayor Ed Koch to fully fund a restoration for the rink in 1986.
Trump, using his own money, finished the project two months ahead of schedule and $750,000 under budget. The future president also donated the profits of the rink to public works and to several charities including United Cerebral Palsy and Partnership for the Homeless, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The highly publicized renovation project in the 1980s is credited by many as having launched Trump into celebrity status.
The removal of Trump's name from the rink and facility is a decision made entirely by the Trump Organization as they prepare to open for the season. A representative for the city parks department confirmed the organization's plan to rebrand. "The Trump organization notified us in late August that they planned to change the on-rink branding," said Crystal Howard. She did not elaborate on why the change was being made.
One ice rink employee speculated that the Trump branding was hurting business. "I do believe that’s the answer. It was hurting business,” said the employee. “A lot of the schools, you know, liberal private schools up here, come to parties up here. That was a big income earner up here Monday and Tuesday night."
Other visitors to the park dismissed the notion that the Trump branding would keep them away from the ice rink. "I’m not going to not go because it’s Donald Trump," one tourist said. "Even though I hate him and I don’t want him to be my president ... If I want to ice skate in this beautiful area, I’m going to do that."
"You know what this tells me?” said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at local New York University. “He’s a businessman. He knows the name Wollman [Rink] is better without Trump."