The Trump Organization has removed the Trump name from two skating rinks that it operates in New York City’s Central Park.
“It’s a complete rebranding,” Geoffrey Croft of the group NYC Park Advocates told The Washington Post.
“These rinks, which once shouted the president’s name, now barely mention it,” The Post reported.
“They’ve taken [the name] off everything. Off the uniforms, everything,” Croft said.
City officials said they did not push for the change at Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park, which the Trump Organization has operated since the 1980s.
— Wollman Rink ⛸ (@WollmanRink) October 22, 2019
“Unsolicited, the Trump Organization notified us in late August that they planned to change the on-rink branding,” Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for the city’s parks department, told The Associated Press.
She said the city did not seek a reason and the Trump Organization did not provide one.
In its reporting on the matter, The Washington Post said large signs reading “Trump” have either been replaced with smaller ones or covered over, with the exception of the Wollman Rink’s zamboni.
The rinks are a part of Trump’s rise to fame and, in the words of the New York Post, made him a “New York City Hero.”
The rinks had been closed, and minimal progress was being made to fix and reopen them when in 1986, Trump, then known only as a real estate developer, said he could do it faster, better and cheaper.
The Trump Organization has operated them since that time.
“Trump’s success was a tonic to a crime-torn, crumbling city that needed some good news. It showed how private enterprise could handily whip government bureaucracy,” the New York Post wrote in recalling the success.
One commentator said the change was motivated by money.
“You know what this tells me?” Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, told The Washington Post.
“He’s a businessman. He knows the name Wollman [Rink] is better without Trump.”
The president no longer has day-to-day control over the Trump Organization. That was ceded to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, upon Trump’s move to the White House.
Mark Levine, a Democratic city councilman, said the Trump Organization showed political savvy in the move, noting that the city will decide in 2021 about renewing the Trump Organization’s contract to manage the rinks.
“They don’t want the public to associate the Trump name with these properties,” he told The New York Times, reflecting the political realities of awarding contracts in a liberal city.
“They know that there would be too much public pressure against renewal.”
Even some opposed to Trump politically, however, said they did not care about the branding.
“I’m not going to not go because it’s Donald Trump … even though I hate him and I don’t want him to be my president,” New York City visitor Amy Townsend, 57, of Los Angeles, told The Washington Post.
“If I want to ice skate in this beautiful area, I’m going to do that.”
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