SARAH MASLIN NIR
When Central Park Tours leads groups to an ice skating rink they reach a point where big red letters spell out the name of the facility’s operator: “Trump.”
“We say, ‘Hey guys, you want to stop for pictures?’ And they are like, ‘No, no, no, let’s keep going,’ ” said Teodor Panterov, the tour company’s president.
The number of visitors to New York City has broken records every year since 2010. But business is not thriving at the four concessions owned by the city and operated by the Trump Organization. At each, sales have dropped or been flat since President Donald J. Trump’s political rise.
The Trump Organization attributed any dips to bad weather. “There is no connection to politics and usership at our facilities here in N.Y.C,” said Ronald C. Lieberman, an executive vice president with the Trump Organization.
But others involved with the concessions suggested that Mr. Trump’s unpopularity was having an impact. And the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is examining whether the legal troubles of Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, are grounds for canceling the contracts.
Christopher Brown, a golfer who works at the Golf Club at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, won’t set foot at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, the city-owned course the Trump Organization runs in the Bronx. “He being who he is, why would you give your money to him?” Mr. Brown asked.
From roughly April to June of 2018, the Trump course grossed just under $2.3 million, according to city data. Three years ago, the course grossed over $1 million more for the same period.Last year, the course was the site of a protest over immigration policies. A vandal spray painted lines from the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty across the greens.
The Trump Organization said that while overall attendance was down, rounds booked by city residents were up this year. Those rose less than 2 percent.
The Trump Organization’s two city skating rinks — Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink, both in Central Park — seemed to be prospering in the winter of 2015-2016. But the following year, revenue dropped 5 percent, following Mr. Trump’s campaign. The carousel in Central Park has been operated by the Trump Organization since 2011, when it “implemented significant changes and received tremendous praise for returning the famed carousel to its original grandeur,” according to the organization’s website.
For the year beginning May 1, 2017, the Trump Organization turned a profit of just over $30,000 on the carousel, a decline from over $188,000 two years earlier, according to city data. For a time the name “Trump Carousel” was on a sign. Last May, the sign was replaced, the word “Trump” swapped with a picture of a horse. The organization said the changes were not a response to concerns about the name.
Private entities have stripped Mr. Trump’s name, including the Trump SoHo hotel, now the Dominick. But some legal experts said the city was unlikely to be successful.
“The city does have rules about allowing the city to decide not to contract with people who don’t pay their taxes or who are convicted of bid-rigging or things of that kind,” said Ross Sandler of New York Law School. “It doesn’t sound like it’s really related to anything other than ‘We don’t like Donald Trump.’ ”
Fewer visitors at places named for the president.