EAST RUTHERFORD — The price for parking at the American Dream complex in the Meadowlands has changed again, but this time in favor of customers.

When the Nickelodeon Universe theme park and ice rink opened at the end of October, parking was free for the first 29 minutes and went up to $3 after three hours and in increments of $1 up to eight hours. Parking for eight or more hours was $24 maximum.

That, however, is not the case for the moment.

“Parking is free," reads the parking information page on the shopping and entertainment center's website, with a few exceptions.

The exceptions are game days, which are $30 for the Giants and $45 for the Jets and $10 for optional valet parking.

American Dream spokeswoman Dana McHugh said that the rates never went into effect.

"Parking has been free since we opened," McHugh told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.

McHugh did not say how long parking would remain free or why the policy is in effect.

Visitors to Nickelodeon reported that Nickelodeon was validating parking because not all of their 35 rides were open.

The cost of parking generated concern for the mall being able to compete with other area shopping areas at a time when malls and retailers are struggling. Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the matter during an interview with News 12 New Jersey.

“I have some sympathy, I have to say, on the question of $30. That sound like you’re taking it through the nose. I have to agree with you there,” Murphy said in response to a viewer question.

The mall is opening its retail outlets in phases with about 350 retail stores and 100 eateries scheduled to open in March.

Whoopi Goldberg opened a "pop up" store on Monday featuring her sweater line. It will stay open until January. The three-story candy store It'Sugar is scheduled to open on Thursday.

DreamWorks Water Park, with more than 40 water slides and 15 attractions, will open Wednesday, Nov. 27, followed by the BigSNOW  in December.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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