The Trump name, once conspicuously splashed across the New York real estate holdings of the Trump Organization, has been scrubbed from yet another pair of city destinations.
Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink, the ice skating attractions at the south and north ends of Central Park, have been operated by the Trump Organization since the 1980s under an agreement with the city. But the popular winter attractions are returning for the season noticeably lacking the president’s surname on its branding.
Gone is the Trump name from the boards surrounding the rink and the employee uniforms. The effort, it seems, is comprehensive-ish. The Washington Post, who first reported the rebranding, writes:
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.
A 2018 analysis of tourism to Trump-owned attractions by The New York Times found that revenue at Wollman Rink dipped five percent between the years before Trump was elected president and the time of the study.
Though the Trump Organization didn’t return the Post’s request for comment, the New York Times notes that executives of the company have said in the past that public opinion of the president has not affected the company’s business.
The Parks Department says the Trump Organization notified it of the rebranding in late August, and gave no explanation for the change. A rink employee speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Post that they believe the decision was made because the Trump name is affecting business.
“I do believe that’s the answer. It was hurting business,” the employee said. “A lot of the schools, you know, liberal private schools up here, come to parties up here. That was a big income earner up here Monday and Tuesday night.”
The Trump name still appears in much smaller print on a sign listing Wollman Rink’s hours and fees, and is still very much emblazoned across the rink’s Zamboni, though its been speculated by park employees and Geoffrey Croft of watchdog group NYC Park Advocates that the name will be removed from there, too.
The Trump Organization’s contract for the rinks is set to end in early 2021, City Council Member Mark Levine told the Times. The rebranding is meant to ease the organization’s path in renewing those contracts, Levine believes.
The rinks are far from the first properties in New York to lose the Trump name. In 2018, the condo board at 200 Riverside Boulevard—formerly branded as Trump Place—voted to remove the name from the building’s exterior, following in the footsteps of 140, 160, and 180 Riverside Boulevard which voted to remove the name the year prior.
The Riverside Boulevard buildings are managed, not owned, by the Trump Organization. The rebranding of Wollman and Lasker rinks marks the first time that the organization has chosen to remove its name from branding. The Trump Organization is also reportedly weighing a decision to rebrand the Trump International Hotel and Tower to a stylized version of its address, One Central Park West.