Staff and wire reports
After 15 years as Rockefeller Center’s Skating Santa, Paul Chernosky is bladeless — and jobless.
“I was always told in the past that as long as I wanted the job I had it,” Chernosky, a 1982 Brunswick High graduate, told the New York Post. “I felt very appreciated and praised for my work, and then all of a sudden: boom. The rug was just pulled out from under my feet.”
Chernosky told the Guardian that all of his elves also were sent packing, and worse, someone threw out his $900 Santa skates.
According to published reports, Chernosky said he was told less than two weeks before he was scheduled to begin skating that he would not be working anymore for the Patina Restaurant Group, which runs the Rockefeller Center ice-skating rink.
The Post reported that Patina Vice President Eric Kaplan allowed Chernosky to store his skates in a closet after last year’s holiday season ended. When he arrived to pick them up in early February, they were gone.
Chernosky said Kaplan promised to buy him new ones for this season only to fire him instead just days before he started the job.
According to the Post, Rockefeller Center representatives referred calls to Patina Restaurant Group.
Patina spokeswoman Tanja Yokum said: “Our relationship with Paul Chernosky was discontinued this year, when after several discussions about his quality of service as one of our Skating Santas the decision was made to go with another vendor.”
Chernosky told the Guardian there were no conversations about the quality of his work. He said there was some discussion last year about elves changing in the Patina group conference room, but said they had been told to change there and had left no mess.
Reports say Chernosky has started an online petition at change.org to regain his job at Rockefeller Center. It had been signed by more than 1,600 people as of Friday, with many leaving messages of support.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Paul Chernosky has built an amazing international reputation, joyfully entertaining tens of thousands of people at the Rockefeller Center over the years,” wrote Cate McLoughlin.