The new operator selected to manage Central Park’s Wollman Rink is jacking up rates for families to skate there this fall — after Mayor Bill de Blasio booted its long-time operator, the Trump Organization.
The firm, called Wollman Park Partners, is a joint venture among Newark, NJ-based Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the New Jersey Devils hockey team, Related Companies and Equinox.
The operator is raising rates on adults — not children. But the bottom line is that a family will pay more to skate at Wollman Rink.
“They told us we’d get a more responsible operator than Trump. This is more expensive than Trump,” fumed Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
“This is a public park! This is public property!”
According to city documents, the weekday skating rates for adults increase from $12 to $14 on weekdays and from $19 to $23 on weekends and holidays.
The rates will remain $6 for kids age 11 and under and $5 for senior citizens on weekdays and $9 on weekends.
Locker rentals increase from $5 to $7 on weekdays and $10 to $11 on weekends. Spectators will pay $6 just to watch instead of $5.
The hikes in skating rates at Wollman were first reported by the West Side Rag.
De Blasio’s move to oust the Trump Organization had nothing to do with the firm’s operation of the iconic rink.
The mayor ordered the move after alleging former President Donald Trump incited supporters who invaded the US Capitol. The mayor claimed Trump Organization owner Trump’s actions violated city contract provisions that bar criminal behavior by operators.
The ice skating rink in Central Park has long been one of Trump’s local claims to fame.
The reconstruction of Wollman Rink in the 1980s had been an embarrassing, multimillion-dollar boondoggle for then-Mayor Ed Koch. But in the summer of 1986, Trump, whose office is near Central Park, jumped into the fray and offered to rebuild the rink in time for the fall with a new, smaller budget.
His contractors ended up completing the project below the $3 million price tag. Even Koch, who was feuding with Trump at the time, joked, “I am now renting him out to other cities.”
The reopening of the rink was a PR bonanza for Trump — and his contract with the city to run it lasted more than three decades.
The operator defended the skating price increases to generate $7 million to spruce up Wollman Rink, a spokesman for Wollman Park Partners said.
“This is a nonprofit endeavor with the goal of upgrading Wollman Rink and making it accessible to all of New York in a way that it hasn’t been previously,” a spokesman for Wollman Park Partners said.
“The rink requires significant investment to modernize and upgrade. We have kept pricing the same for children and seniors, while introducing new discounts for first responders and our community partners.
“We have proposed a small increase in the adult admission, which will then allow us to provide free or low-cost programming to nonprofit groups and youth who would not otherwise be able to have access to the facility. This is about creating a pricing structure that achieves accessibility, allows for long overdue upgrades to the site, and serves New Yorkers from all walks of life,” the Wollman Park Partners rep said.
The Wollman Park also is offering discounted prices for first responders ($11) and community partners ($11), lower than what the Trump Organization charged those groups, the new operator said.
“The reality is that Wollman Park Partners is making the rink accessible to many people and communities for the first time, partnering with Ice Hockey in Harlem to increase our skating program and reach more kids than ever before. A slight rise in ticket prices for adults will help pay for free, sorely needed rink time for underserved children throughout New York who will benefit from advanced academic mentorship, skills training on the ice, and leadership development,” said Todd Levy, co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of Ice Hockey in Harlem.
But Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, said, “What about families who aren’t part of any group?”
The Parks Department defended its selection of the new operator and said pricing is still being finalized.
“Wollman Park Partners’ standout qualities include their commitment to community partners, programming, and capital improvements for the immediate future as operator of Wollman Rink — promising not to take profit and instead invest in the park and the community. As the highest-rated proposer through our competitive RFP process, our selection has been met with great public support,” a Parks Department spokeswoman said.
“We will work with Wollman Park Partners throughout the term of their agreement to ensure that the concession is accessible and affordable.”
The Trump Organization had no immediate comment.