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Central Park Ice Skating Rinks Close Sunday As NYC Severs Ties With Trump Organization

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Two ice skating rinks in Central Park were set to abruptly shut down at 4 p.m. Sunday with weeks left in the season.

It's all because of a fight between the city and the Trump Organization.

It was a picture perfect winter wonderland in Central Park on Saturday, if not for the heartbroken skaters.

Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink on the park's North End will close after Sunday's sessions because the city is severing ties with the Trump Organization that runs the rinks.

"Everyone was absolutely devastated, every kid, their parents, their coaches," said Malik Garvin, director of Ice Hockey in Harlem. "Kids are paying the price for something they had nothing to do with."

Garvin broke the news to 200 players, among them 12-year-old Vaneshka Caraballo.

"It's going to be a nightmare since I'm literally stuck at home having nothing to do," the 7th grader told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff.

The de Blasio Administration announced it would cut ties with Trump after the Capitol riot, terminating leases on Feb. 26.

Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, released the following statement --

"This is purely a political stunt that only hurts New Yorkers. Instead of focusing on a dying city which everyone is leaving because of rising crime, high taxes, closed businesses and totally incompetent leadership, the Mayor is painting signs in front of Trump Tower and trying to destroy the only outdoor activity available to children during a pandemic. When does this nonsense stop. What are the priorities of our city? This leaves another 250 incredible people out of work in New York, a city with soaring unemployment. Why - to try and get back at a person who sits on a different side of the political aisle who now lives in Florida. Let's cancel kids hockey programs, skating schools and shut them down 6 weeks early... that will show Trump."

They'll shut rinks Sunday to allow time to move out.

There's no word yet on refunds on season passes, lessons or hockey clubs.

"It's a blow to all of New York," mother Caitlin Baer said.

"It's purely politically motivated. It's not going to harm Trump at all. Who it's going to harm are these young kids," father Ted Henning said.

With just a month and half left in the season, high school seniors who grew up on the ice are hoping their petition can save Wollman.

"So much has been taken away from us this year, and this was one thing that was kind of holding us all together," skater Mya Henning said. "It's only, like, six weeks more that we're asking for."

"This rink isn't about Trump. Trump doesn't come here. Trump, he's never here. It's about us," skater Jacey Hootstein said.

It's not just the two rinks; a spokesman for the mayor said in January the Trump Organization has been "impeached" from operating the carousel in Central Park and its golf course in the Bronx, too.

The city is looking for replacement concessionaires. No comment from the mayor's office yet on impact on thousands of families.

The Trump Organization is appealing the contract terminations.

UPDATE: NYC Changes Course, Now Says Central Park Ice Rinks Will Remain Open Until The End Of The Season


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