Tuesday, July 16

Trump’s name removed from two New York ice rinks



At two of President Trump’s oldest businesses a pair of ice rinks in Central Park, which Trump has run since the 1980s Trump Organization employees did something unusual in the past few weeks.

They started removing the Trump name. Now, as skating season begins, the president’s name is gone from the boards around each rink where large red “TRUMP” signs once surrounded skaters. It is mostly gone from the desk where visitors rent skates: There, the white tarp used to hide the Trump name wasn’t quite big enough for the job, so a “T” still sticks out.

And where the president’s name remains, it is largely relegated to the fine print. The welcome sign out front of one rink used to say “Trump” at the top; now the name is at the very bottom, under the phone number. “Operated by the Trump Organization,” the sign says.

Trump’s company still runs these two ice rinks. For them, then, the changes in branding mark a milestone: For the first time since Trump took office, two of Trump’s own businesses seem to be trying to downplay their connection to his name.

It’s a complete rebranding, said Geoffrey Croft, of the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates. These rinks, which once shouted the president’s name, now barely mention it. They’ve taken [the name] off everything. Off the uniforms, everything.

Trump has run the rinks since the 1980s, under a concession from the city of New York. The rinks actually played a major role in the creation of Trump as a national celebrity: In the 1980s, he took over a languishing city-run renovation project and famously finished the rink himself, on time and under budget.

Officially, the two rinks have other names: Wollman Rink in the southern part of the park, and Lasker Rink at the park’s northern end. But Trump displayed his name as prominently or more prominently than the official names.

The two rinks had been heavily branded with the Trump name through last winter’s skating season. But this summer, a city spokeswoman said, the Trump Organization decided to make a change.

The Trump organization notified us in late August that they planned to change the on-rink branding, Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for the city parks department, said in an email message. She said the city did not ask for the change and that the company did not explain why it did it.

When a Washington Post reporter visited Wollman Rink on Tuesday, the only prominent appearance of the Trump name was on the Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine. Employees weren’t sure if it would stay there, either. Croft, the parks watchdog, said an employee had told him it would come off.