Coming through just before the holiday season, NYC Parks secured a new operator for Central Park’s Wollman Rink ahead of the chilly months after the city broke ties with the Trump organization in January of 2021.
Wollman Park Partners (WPP) – a mix of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Related Companies, and Equinox – will reopen the rink by Nov. 14 after being selected through a request for proposals process and released new details, the group announced Tuesday afternoon.
“The second I learned about Wollman Park Partners’ plans for Wollman Rink NYC I knew I had to become involved to support one of New York City’s most historic destinations,” Stefanie Tomlin, the newly appointed general manager of Wollman Rink, said. “Wollman Rink NYC is the crown jewel of Central Park, and we have a unique opportunity to make it more than just a skating rink, but one that’s an inclusive, accessible cultural hub for everyone to enjoy, regardless of background.”
The partners are currently performing redevelopment of the rink and clubhouse as it is primed to run the attraction – once boasted as a public service project for halo effect by former President Donald Trump – for the next five years as allowed in the contract.
All ties between the former president and the city were severed following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capital.
“For decades the Wollman Rink has provided New Yorkers and visitors alike with a spectacular setting for winter fun. I am delighted to see the rink begin its next chapter, and commend Wollman Park Partners for their commitment to reinvest any net profits in the facility, community partners, and our city,” Upper West Side Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal said. “Ice skating has been integral to Central Park since the mid 19th century — it’s wonderful that the rink is now being led with a civic spirit and will be welcoming to all.”
According to WPP, the proceeds from the operation will not be counted as profit, but will be reinvested in the facility as part of their capital program to address long-deferred maintenance.
“This is a non-profit endeavor with the goal of upgrading Wollman Rink and making it accessible to all of New York in a way that it hasn’t been previously,” a WPP statement said regarding pricing. “The rink requires significant investment to modernize and upgrade. We have kept pricing the same for children and seniors, while introducing new discounts for first responders and our community partners. We have proposed a small increase in the adult admission, which will then allow us to provide free or low-cost programming to non-profit groups and youth who would not otherwise be able to have access to the facility. This is about creating a pricing structure that achieves accessibility, allows for long overdue upgrades to the site, and serves New Yorkers from all walks of life.”
The price of admission initially caught the eye of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in July. She stated that a family of four (with children over the age of 11) paying almost $100 for the day should not be considered “affordable.”
Nonetheless, the partnership is touting a dedication to ‘introduce skating to a more diverse audience, particularly children and families from underserved and marginalized communities.”
Groups such as Figure Skating in Harlem and Ice Hockey in Harlem will get free time on the ice, which will also be available to all on opening day. The WPP is also considering a Tuesday afternoon pay-as-you-wish model and a Wednesday after school special that bundles admission, skates and hot chocolate.
More details will be released in the weeks before the official opening.