Central Park ice rinks won't close early after all

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- Two Central Park ice rinks operated by the Trump Organization that were set to close early will instead remain open for the rest of the season.

The decision is a reversal from Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration that announced last month it would terminate business contracts with President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The Trump Organization said this week that that meant the contracts for the Wollman and Lasker rinks that were set to expire in April, instead would end after Sunday.

Then the mayor's Press Secretary Bill Neidhardt said in a statement Sunday:

"New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year. The Wollman and Lasker rinks will stay open under current management for the few weeks left in this season. But make no mistake, we will not be doing business with the Trump Organization going forward. Inciting an insurrection will never be forgotten or forgiven."

Trump's son, Eric, thanked de Blasio in a message on Twitter.

"You've just made countless NYC families (along w our 250 employees) incredibly happy," Eric Trump wrote.

He had previously called the move to close the rinks early "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," Trump said in a statement.

De Blasio said the Trump Organization earns about $17 million a year in profits from its contracts to run the skating rinks, as well as a carousel in Central Park and a golf course in the Bronx.

He said the city would seek new vendors for all the attractions.

The rinks are used by youth skating and hockey programs, many of which serve low-income children and people with special needs.

"This has been part of his Saturday ritual. It's just been an amazing experience and when we heard the news yesterday that this would be the last practice it was just devastating," Bryan Kimes, the parent of a youth skater, said.

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