SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Skaters expecting to hit the ice for free at the Seaport’s new rink are getting the freeze after the rink changed the admission price to $10 per head.
Seaport developer Howard Hughes Corporation pledged in early November that the rink would be free, like the one in Bryant Park. But since launching on Nov. 29 at Fulton and Front streets, Howard Hughes has charged $10 per skater, plus additional fees to rent skates and check bags. The company said previously that it planned to charge for skate rentals.
"At the time we were not sure of our pricing," Alex Howe, a Howard Hughes spokesman, said in an email. "No intention to mislead."
Some skaters said they were disappointed to see an admission charge at the rink.
“I was actually really excited to have a free rink right by my office,” said Susan Horwitz, a lawyer. “If it was free, that meant I could skate daily during lunch — in the winter, and especially with Pier 17 now closed, there’s really no place to move around a bit, as a break from the office, in the Seaport.”
The rink — which is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. — charges $6 for skates, $6 for a helmet and $8 for bag check, taking costs up to as much as $30 per person.
Howard Hughes offers a 50-percent discount on admission to those who live in the area, and admission is free to children under 5. Also, through Thursday evening, the 50 percent discount is being extended to all skaters as part of a promotion, Howard Hughes said.
Horwitz said she was glad to see the discounts, but she won't be a frequent skater at the rink.
“I was hoping to bring my kids here after school," she said. "But that's not really practical when it will cost us $30 each time we skate."
Other skaters said free is always better, but they didn’t find the price very steep.
"This seems like the norm in the city," said Kelly Topsacalian, a Midtown resident who brought her 4-year-old daughter to the rink. "We're coming down here hoping to support the Seaport, since it's suffered so much from Hurricane Sandy. And it's not very crowded here."