It looks like Mayor de Blasio has flinched from abruptly closing the skating rinks operated by the Trump Organization. Hizzoner had announced they would be shut down before the Trump contract ended. It was to be a protest against President Trump’s speech January 6, even though the Senate determined that Mr. Trump wasn’t guilty of incitement. It seems, though, an outcry by skaters turned the mayor around.
“New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year,” the New York Times quotes the mayor’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, as saying. “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.” Nice to see the mayor come to his senses.
Ordinarily we might not write about this, but it happens to be the issue on which we started covering Mr. Trump. That was in July 2015, after the New York tycoon who would become the 45th president and his wife Melania descended the golden escalator at Trump tower to declare he would run for the GOP nomination in 2016. The City Council lit up with the idea of ending the city’s contracts with the Trump Organization.
We found that shocking. We wrote about it at the time in the New York Post. The idea of severing business ties to Mr. Trump was being pressed by the then speaker of the Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito. There had been no finding of wrongdoing by any authority. There had been no legal proceeding. She just didn’t like his position on immigration. Neither did we, but we liked the City Council overreach even less.
It signalled, we felt, a new intolerance on the left. And also a kind of hypocrisy that we, for one, found glaring. It contrasted with the reaction of the left when the city tried to cut funding to the Brooklyn Museum. That happened when the museum put up a show celebrating a painting of the Christian Madonna which was splattered with elephant dung and plastered with pornographic pictures clipped from magazines.
Mayor Giuliani, who understood how offensive the painting was to religious taxpayers, reacted by proposing to cut the city’s funding to the museum. The museum went to court arguing that to cut funding would be a violation of the First Amendment. It won in a ruling from a United States district judge named Nina Gershon. She reckoned that the city couldn’t stop funding the museum just because its art was offensive.
One could argue that round, in our view, or one could argue it flat. We can see Mr. Giuliani and the City Council’s position in their fight with the Museum. And we can see the Museum’s position. It would be hard to credit, though, the left insisting that the city can’t stop funding a private institution like the museum because of what it says, while insisting it can cut off another private institution, the Trump Organization, because of its owner’s politics.
The Trump Organization is reported to be planning to appeal the city’s termination of its contract, which could not only close the skating rinks but also end the Trumps' management of the golf links at Ferry Point. If the case ends up in federal court, it would be wonderful to see it land before Judge Gershon. Would she be able to deal with the gander of the skating rinks and golf links the same way she ruled on the goose of the Brooklyn Museum?