New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, reversed his decision to close two Central Park ice rinks weeks early on Sunday after angry New Yorkers slammed him.
De Blasio announced last month that the city is cutting ties with the Trump Organization because of its affiliation with former President Donald Trump. The mayor had planned for the rinks’ final day of the winter season to be on Sunday, weeks earlier than the rinks’ traditional close date in April.
New Yorkers expressed outrage with the mayor’s decision to take the ice rinks away because of Trump, pressuring de Blasio to reverse his decision on Sunday. As The New York Times reported:
Wistful skaters descended on Central Park on Sunday for what they thought would be their last outing on the ice for the season, after the Trump Organization abruptly announced that the two ice rinks there would close as the city moved to end its contracts following the Capitol riot.
But after complaints mounted throughout the day over the loss of a precious venue for outdoor entertainment and exercise during the pandemic — and as some New Yorkers, despite former President Donald J. Trump’s unpopularity in his home city, faulted City Hall for ending the contracts early — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said on Sunday evening that the rinks would stay open for the season.
Lee Klausner, whose two daughters skate in the ice rinks, told the New York Post that de Blasio’s decision was hurting thousands of children during the pandemic.
“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,” Klausner said.
Last month, the mayor said the city was cutting its contract with the Trump Organization over the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by a crowd of Trump supporters. De Blasio claimed the city is within its rights to sever the contracts because Trump “incited a rebellion against the United States government” on January 6. The Trump Organization, run by the former president’s children, has promised to take legal action against the city.
De Blasio press secretary Bill Neidhardt announced the mayor’s reversal in a statement: “New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year. The Wollman and Lasker rinks will stay open under current management for the few weeks left in this season. But make no mistake, we will not be doing business with the Trump Organization going forward. Inciting an insurrection will never be forgotten or forgiven.”
Eric Trump, son of the former president and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, thanked de Blasio in a Sunday tweet.
“Mr. Mayor – Thank You for keeping Wollman and Lasker Rinks open — you’ve just made countless NYC families (along w our 250 employees) incredibly happy. This is a bright moment for New York and please know we appreciate it. I look forward to saying ‘thanks’ in person,” Trump said.
.@NYCMayor Mr. Mayor – Thank You for keeping Wollman and Lasker Rinks open — you’ve just made countless NYC families (along w our 250 employees) incredibly happy. This is a bright moment for New York and please know we appreciate it. I look forward to saying “thanks” in person.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) February 21, 2021