An Ocean of Wonders
December 14, 2010
Beachgoers at Brooklyn’s Coney Island will soon be coming ashore
to see sharks up close—about 40 of them. The design for the New York Aquarium’s
“Ocean Wonders: Shark” exhibit, scheduled to open in 2015, has received
approval from New York City.
The 50,000-square foot building will be a celebration of the
city’s maritime history and of sharks, animals often misunderstood and
threatened worldwide by overfishing. The exhibit will feature whitetip reef sharks and
blacktip reef sharks, sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, Port
Jackson sharks, and wobbegongs. The 500,000-gallon tank will also hold many
skates, rays, sea turtles, and thousands of schooling fish.
But the sharks won’t be the only eye-popping attraction. The
building itself will resemble a shimmering wave. Small aluminum squares will sparkle
in the sunlight and move with the wind along a 1,000-foot-long dynamic wall.
Wrapping around the building, the spiral ramp will transport visitors between
the aquarium and Coney Island’s boardwalk. Along the way are ocean views, a
water play sculpture area, a touch tank filled with local species, and a roof
deck with an interactive gathering space.
“This exciting new shark exhibit will attract people from
far and wide to visit the New York Aquarium,” said Councilman Domenic M.
Recchia, Jr., whose district includes Coney Island. “It’s been a dream of mine
to have a world-class shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium, and this brings
us one step closer to making that dream a reality. The revitalization of Coney
Island is already attracting record-breaking crowds and Ocean Wonders: Shark is
an important piece of our ultimate goal—establishing Coney Island as the
biggest, best year-round tourist destination in the world.”
Dr. Steve Sanderson, WCS
President and CEO extended his appreciation to all partners of A Sea
Change, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the New York City Department of
Cultural Affairs and Department of Parks and Recreation, the Mayor’s Office of
Economic Development, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and
Councilman Recchia. “Ocean Wonders: Shark will
inspire New Yorkers to celebrate the city’s maritime heritage and attract more
visitors and business to Brooklyn’s oceanfront,” he said.
“We aim to fund this
renaissance by harnessing public and private support from all those who wish to
be leaders in this unprecedented effort to reinvent our city’s 114-year-old
Ocean Wonders: Shark is a key component of A Sea Change, a
10-year partnership between WCS, the City of New York, and the Borough of
Brooklyn. The initiative’s objectives are two-fold: renewing WCS's New York
Aquarium with innovative architecture, and exhibits and renewing WCS's commitment
to local marine conservation. The newly launched New York Seascape program will
help WCS protect and build awareness of the Long Island Sound and surrounding waters
from Montauk, N.Y., to Cape May, N.J.
Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin said, “We are
creating an unforgettable experience that will celebrate the oceans and marine
life, educate future conservationists, and advance WCS efforts to protect
seascapes in New York and across the globe.”