Wollman Park Partners Finalizes Concession Agreement to Operate Central Park’s Wollman Rink NYC

Grand reopening scheduled for November 14, 2021; redevelopment of the rink and clubhouse are underway

Stefanie Tomlin, previously General Manager of King’s Theatre in Brooklyn, appointed Vice President and General Manager to lead the rink’s daily operations and inclusive and accessible programming

WPP is hiring for multiple positions, interested applicants can apply here

NEW YORK (October 12, 2021)Wollman Park Partners, LLC (WPP), a joint venture between Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Related Companies, and Equinox, with official community partners including Great Performances + Melba’s Restaurant, YMCA, Ice Hockey in Harlem, Figure Skating in Harlem, The Boys’ Club of New York, and Green City Force, today announced it has finalized the concession agreement to operate Central Park’s Wollman Rink NYC for a five-year term.

NYC Parks selected WPP’s proposal through its competitive RFP process. Redevelopment and construction of the rink is underway, with a grand reopening scheduled for November 14, 2021. WPP is hiring for multiple positions, interested applicants can apply here.

WPP also named Stefanie Tomlin as the rink’s new Vice President and General Manager to oversee operations and guide long-term strategic growth. Tomlin joins with more than ten years of extensive experience in operations, general managing, event management and guest services. Most recently, she served as the General Manager of Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Prior to Kings Theatre, she worked for AEG, a leading sports and entertainment company, and Barclays Center in various capacities.

“The second I learned about Wollman Park Partners’ plans for Wollman Rink NYC I knew I had to become involved to support one of New York City’s most historic destinations,” said Stefanie Tomlin, General Manager of Wollman Rink NYC. “Wollman Rink NYC is the crown jewel of Central Park, and we have a unique opportunity to make it more than just a skating rink, but one that’s an inclusive, accessible cultural hub for everyone to enjoy, regardless of background.”

As the official new operator, WPP has committed to transforming the rink into a best-in-class public space where people of all backgrounds and from all boroughs can feel welcome, a model of sustainability, a platform of opportunity and a symbol of New York City’s resilience. Highlights of WPP’s plans for the rink include:

  • Reinvesting in the community and City – WPP is not seeking or accepting any of the profit from operating Wollman Rink NYC. Any net proceeds generated during the concession term will be reinvested in the facility, and through community partners providing services at Wollman Rink NYC.
  • Creating a space for all New Yorkers – Not only will Wollman Rink NYC reflect the cultural vibrance and diversity of New York, the space will also provide equitable opportunities to visit and enjoy the space. WPP will work with our community partners to:
    • Introduce skating to a more diverse audience, particularly children and families from underserved and marginalized communities
    • Offer a platform for members to enjoy and experience an iconic institution that they might not have been able to otherwise
    • Expand and grow community-oriented programming that brings together neighborhoods, families, children, school children
    • Create fundraising opportunities that allow us to continue to expand the mission
  • WPP’s capital program will address long-deferred maintenance. WPP also envisions earth-first upgrades to seating, circulation, entry/exit and landscaping, focused on sustainability and ease of upkeep.

“Winter is coming, and New York City’s iconic Wollman Rink is on track to have a skating season like no other!” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “We thank Wollman Park Partners for advancing their equitable vision to revitalize this beloved Central Park attraction over the next five years.”

“For decades the Wollman Rink has provided New Yorkers and visitors alike with a spectacular setting for winter fun. I am delighted to see the rink begin its next chapter, and commend Wollman Park Partners for their commitment to reinvest any net profits in the facility, community partners, and our city. Ice skating has been integral to Central Park since the mid 19th century — it’s wonderful that the rink is now being led with a civic spirit and will be welcoming to all,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Manhattan, District 6).

“I want to commend and thank Stefanie Tomlin for her many years of service as General Manager of the historic Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Kings Theater is a wonderful venue that has provided a memorable entertainment experience for many generations of New Yorkers, and I was honored to spearhead its complete renovation in 2015. The 40th District has been so fortunate to have Stefanie Tomlin as a partner because she has embraced the collective vision of providing high quality entertainment and events for people from all walks of life to enjoy. The Wollman Rink in Central Park is most fortunate to have Stefanie Tomlin as its new general manager and I wish her much success in this new endeavor,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene (Brooklyn, District 40).

“Ice Hockey in Harlem is thrilled to be a Wollman Park Partners community partner of the new, reimagined Wollman Rink NYC. We are grateful they are providing Wollman ice for our kids, filling the huge void of Lasker Rink closing for renovations, and providing the opportunity for Ice Hockey in Harlem to still call Central Park home,” said Todd Levy, Co-Founder, Ice Hockey In Harlem.

“Wollman Rink NYC will soon become the inclusive, accessible cultural hub that New York City deserves, and one that we are ecstatic to support as an official community partner,” said Sharon Cohen, Founder & CEO of Figure Skating in Harlem. “We congratulate Stefanie Tomlin on her appointment as General Manager and look forward to working with her to introduce skating and Wollman Rink to even more New Yorkers and children across the five boroughs.”

“Wollman Park Partners has made diversity and inclusion one of its main pillars for Wollman Rink NYC’s revitalization and is one of the significant reasons I’m delighted to lend my support. Together, we will offer a diverse array of local vendors and businesses to ensure a true representation of New York City’s incredible spectrum of delicious food and beverage offerings,” said Liz Neumark, Founder of Great Performances.

“Stefanie brings an incredible amount of experience to Wollman Rink NYC, having previously served iconic New York institutions like Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre and Barclays Center,” said Melba Wilson, Founder of Melba’s Restaurant. “I’m thrilled to bring some of our signature dishes from Melba’s to the epicenter of Manhattan. Together we will make Wollman Rink more than just an ice skating rink, but a culturally vibrant community space that celebrates New York and everything it has to offer.”

“The YMCA is thrilled that Wollman Park Partners will become the official operator of Wollman Rink NYC,” said Sharon Greenberger, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “WPP’s commitment to revitalize the rink and expand community access through a partnership with the Y will introduce thousands of families and children to ice skating and other spring and summer outdoor activities at the rink. By providing transportation, access, and true partnership, WPP is creating an impactful outdoor experience for all and making an important investment in New York City’s youth.”

“As one of New York City’s most recognizable landmarks, Wollman Rink NYC should offer equitable access to all children,” said Stephen Tosh, Executive Director and CEO of The Boys’ Club of New York. “As the new operators of the rink, Wollman Park Partners’ mission to promote inclusivity and equity will increase access to a remarkable venue for New York City’s boys and young men.”

“Green City Force’s work is centered around making New York City a more equitable and resilient city. The plan to sustainably revitalize Wollman Rink NYC is an example of the initiatives that help us to reach that outcome,” said Tonya Gayle, Executive Director of Green City Force. “Through our partnership with Wollman Park Partners, we’ve identified employment opportunities for our community as a next step following our composting and recycling training programs. We fully support the partnership’s plan as they work to open the rink this winter.”

“Reimagining the rink is an honor. As New Yorkers, we recognize the importance the rink has to our community and hope to make it more accessible to all. We plan to provide a civic space that is inclusive and inspires healthy lifestyles” said Joseph Lauro, Principal and Managing Director with Gensler. “With an emphasis on hospitality and a welcoming visitor experience, the impact of the renewed rink will be measurable.”

Renderings of Wollman Rink NYC’s proposed improvements can be found here.

Wollman Rink first opened on December 21, 1950, thanks to a gift from philanthropist Kate Wollman. Its creation continued the tradition of ice skating in Central Park, which dates back to the 1850s. Visiting Wollman Rink NYC has since become a beloved winter activity for New Yorkers and tourists alike.

About Wollman Park Partners, LLC

Wollman Park Partners (WPP) is a coalition of New Yorkers representing decades of experience across multiple sectors; including sports and entertainment; finance; health and wellness; diversity, equity, and inclusion; real estate; culinary; non-profit; youth development and sustainability. The companies and organizations that make up WPP include Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Related Companies, Equinox, Ice Hockey in Harlem, Figure Skating in Harlem, Great Performances, Melba’s Restaurant, YMCA of Greater New York, The Boys’ Club of New York and Green City Force.

With this expertise, and a deep passion for New York City, WPP offers an energized, year-round experience of Wollman Rink NYC to both New Yorkers and visitors alike, with an emphasis on creating a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive space that promotes equitable economic opportunity and recovery in our City.

Media Contacts

Wollman Park Partners, LLC