Trump Organization scrubs name from Central Park skate rinks

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NEW YORK (AP) — Skaters in New York's Central Park may notice something missing from its two ice rinks this winter — President Donald Trump's name.

The Trump Organization still operates the rinks but has removed the Trump name from the outer boards, the skate rental counters and elsewhere.

"Unsolicited, the Trump organization notified us in late August that they planned to change the on-rink branding," Crystal Howard, a city Parks Department spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement Wednesday. No reason was given, she said.

The Washington Post first reported the new look at Wollman Rink near the southern edge of the park and Lasker Rink to the north.

Trump has run the two rinks since the 1980s under a contract with the city that is up for renewal in 2021.

For years, the Trump name in bright red capital letters marked the outer boards at Wollman Rink, and signs at the skate rental and refreshment counters bore the name, as well.

But the Trump name was almost entirely gone as skating season started at Wollman this week.

The board surrounding the rink said Central Park Wollman Rink with no mention of Trump on Tuesday, and the red Trump sign at the skate rental counter had been covered up except for the T.

Trump Organization representatives did not respond to a request for comment on the change.

Geoffrey Croft, the founder of NYC Park Advocates, an organization that supports public parks, said he believes the Republican president's name was hurting business at the rinks.

"The Trump Organization finally got the message," Croft said. "The public is increasingly uncomfortable with using a business associated with him."

City figures show that revenue at the rinks have dropped since Trump took office.

The rinks generated $9.3 million in the operating year that ended Sept. 30, 2016, shortly before Trump's election. Annual revenue dropped to $8.7 million in the operating year that ended on Sept. 30, 2018.

The Trump Organization has acknowledged some hits to its business since Trump took office two years ago but has said many of its properties are doing just fine.

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