Commentary

Trump Branding Put On Ice At New York Skating Rinks

The Trump branding that once dominated two skating rinks in New York’s Central Park that the President has been fond of citing as examples of his business acumen and civic responsibility has been quietly been removed from all but a few nooks and crannies.

Trump’s company still runs Wollman Rink in the southern part of the park, and Lasker Rink at the park’s northern end, reportThe Washington Post’s Philip Bump and David A. Fahrenthold in breaking the story. But it’s far more discreet than before about acknowledging it.

advertisement

advertisement

“These rinks, which once shouted the president’s name, now barely mention it,” they write.

“It’s a complete rebranding,” Geoffrey Croft, of the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates, tells WaPo. “They’ve taken [the name] off everything. Off the uniforms, everything.”

Well, it’s still prominent on the Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine -- for now -- and can be found here and there in a far-less-bombastic size than before. But displaying the Trump name apparently has become detrimental to business in his home town. 

“Mr. Trump’s unpopularity among many New Yorkers has led to his name being stripped from some private properties in New York, including the Trump SoHo hotel, now the Dominick, and some former Trump Place condominiums in Manhattan,” Ed Shanahan points out for The New York Times.

“But the rinks -- two of several public concessions that the Trump Organization, Mr. Trump’s main business vehicle, operates in the city -- continued to flash the name prominently through last spring,” he adds.

“Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, tells the New YorkDaily News’ Chris Sommerfeldt the Trump Organization notified the city in late August that it planned to remove the name. “The Trump Organization did not ‘provide rationale’ for the change, which had not been requested by the city, Lalor said,” Sommerfeldt reports.

A few people reading about the decision on Yahoo Newsascribed the decision to petty politics. 

“how far are the vengful democrats going to go to try to get trump...in the past 3 plus years they have wasted over 50 million tax dollars and haven´t worked to america,AND have a WANABE PRESIDENT as house speaker,,america has to wake up to this treason or america will fail,” writes Frank.

The way Trump tells the story, as he did at some length in this video clip of a speech from 2016: “Everyone knows the Wollman Skating Rink. They now study it in all the business schools. They’re all nodding their heads. They all studied it. I didn’t study it. But I did it. But it’s in all the business schools about what private enterprise can do …” 

If you didn’t study it in business school, here’s what happened in a nutshell, according to Irwin Kula and Craig Hatkoff in a 2015 story for Forbes:

“Having fallen into utter disrepair during the New York City fiscal crisis, unable to make ice, the city’s Parks Department embarked on a total refurbishment of the facility in 1980, estimating it would take two years to complete. After six years and having flushed $13 million down the drain, the city announced they would have to start all over again and it would take another two years to complete.

“In late May of 1986, the 39-year-old Trump made an offer to Mayor Ed Koch. Trump would step in and take over the construction and operation of the project for no profit and have it up and running in time for the holiday season. Koch tried mightily and quite sneakily tried to reject Trump’s offer. A very public Trump-Koch feud ensued; Donald ultimately prevailed, taking on the responsibility to finish the rink in less than six months for no more than $3 million. …

“Instead of failing, Trump finished the job in just four months at a final cost 25% below the budget. It wasn’t rocket science according to Trump. It was common sense and ‘management.’ But the incident also demonstrated Trump’s mastery and command of public relations and how to attract massive amounts of free press,” Kula and Hatkoff add.

“In January 2018, Trump used the example of the ice rink as proof he would deliver his Mexico border wall on time and below budget,” Bill Bostock writes for Business Insider.

Considering that history, “it’s quite a moment when the Trump brand is too toxic for the Trump Organization,” writes Elliott Hannon for Slate. “… Given that there is no product too schlocky for Donald Trump to put his name on, in gold and all caps, it seems unlikely the Trump Organization would have removed his name for any reason other than that it was costing him money.”
Next story loading loading..