Why Trump’s Ice Rink?

Jan Alex

This Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Inter-Residence Hall Council’s 10th annual Flurry will be held at the Wollman Rink in Central Park. Although the admittedly beautiful location of Wollman Rink has been the traditional venue for the Flurry event for the past 10 years, it is surprising to me that the IRHC continued to use a Trump venue this year. Given the level of student outrage at many of Donald Trump’s administration’s policies and actions, it is certainly a questionable decision on behalf of the IRHC, and I would not be surprised if certain students chose not to attend.

Wollman Rink itself is in many ways a monument to Trump’s egoism and supposed business prowess. Trump took over management of the rink in 1986 after the city had tried and failed to renovate it. To much acclaim, Trump was able to get the rink renovated and operational in four months and did so while spending 25 percent less than the provided budget. This deal made headlines in New York City and played a big part in solidifying the image and brand behind the Trump name. Of course, Trump did go about business in his trademark Trump style.

Every press conference was an event for the cameras and for congratulations, with Trump at center stage. Art Nusbaum, the president of the construction firm that Trump hired to do the work, noted that renovating the beloved rink was a good thing, but that “he chose to pollute it, with his ego getting in the way of everything.” None of this is surprising, but the important part of the story is that although Trump initially refused to accept the rink’s profits, he has since began taking two-thirds of the profits while leaving the city only a third. Not quite a fair trade-off when it was city funds that paid for the 1986 renovations and compensated Trump for his management.

In essence, the Wollman Rink symbolizes two very important things. First, it’s a symbol of the misguided belief in Trump’s success and philanthropy in the business world, and secondly it is a symbol of Trump’s perpetual failure to keep his hubris in check. It might be an extreme statement, but by hosting a large event at the rink, the event organizers are tacitly supporting the Trump brand. Though business should indeed never be mixed with politics, we all know that in that area Trump is often found skating on thin ice.

It would seem to me that the event organizers either ruled the relationship between Wollman and Trump insufficient to warrant changing the venue, or that the venue was perhaps the only one in the city large enough to accommodate the NYU community. The IRHC’s Facebook page for the event does have approximately 1,000 confirmed attendees, so the latter is possible. Regardless, the IRHC should consider changing the venue in the future. Too many members of the NYU community are put at risk due to Trump’s policies and words; the least we could do is avoid paying him.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. A version of this appeared in the Monday, Nov. 6 print edition. Email Jan Alex at [email protected]

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