Support WCS’s New York Aquarium: Purchase a virtual tile on the shimmer wall on the future Ocean Wonders: Sharks! building

One year after Hurricane Sandy, online campaign launches to support the transformation of the aquarium

Storm damage b-roll download: New York Aquarium Sandy Damage

Coney Island, Brooklyn - Oct. 29, 2013 –
The Wildlife Conservation Society today launched an innovative online fundraising effort that will give New Yorkers an opportunity to help the New York Aquarium shimmer as it is transformed following Hurricane Sandy.

Virtual tiles of a shimmer wall, which will surround the new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit, are being sold at

Created by WCS’s design team in collaboration with award-winning environmental artist Ned Kahn, the actual wall will wrap the entire exterior of the building in 33,000 4” x 5 ½” aluminum tiles, creating an eye-catching art installation that will transform the Coney Island skyline. Powered by nature, the wall will use wind and sunlight to make it ripple like the surface of the ocean.

Each virtual tile is available for $100 and will fund the aquarium’s transformation taking place alongside post-Sandy rebuilding efforts. The aquarium was devastated by Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012, just days before it was to break ground for Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Surge waters flooded all buildings within the 14-acre park. Damage was significant to the aquarium’s infrastructure and life support systems.

“The WCS New York Aquarium is important to the economy and culture in New York City, to the education of our city’s children, and to the conservation of the New York seascape,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium. “By purchasing a virtual tile, you will help bring back to our city a ‘new’ New York Aquarium.”

Each virtual tile can be customized by using colors and animal themes. Messages of support for the aquarium can be included on the tiles that will be displayed on the aquarium’s website. The virtual tiles are a lasting way to acknowledge a friend, family member, or colleague who cares about the WCS New York Aquarium and marine conservation. The shimmer wall website was created by eyeball, a NYC-based strategic design agency that has partnered with WCS’s New York Aquarium.

WCS has dedicated tiles to several early supporters of the aquarium, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and longtime supporter and WCS Trustee Barbara Zucker. Tiles have also been named for Ricky Gervais and Annabella Sciorra, WCS friends and conservation advocates.

The aquarium has come a long way in terms of recovery from the storm. After being closed for seven months for initial cleanup, part of the aquarium reopened to the public on May 25. Plans to expand the aquarium through a partnership with the City of New York have become a joint commitment to rebuild and transform the aquarium’s exhibits, programming and campus, including the construction of Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The full re-opening is scheduled for 2016.

“As we mark the first anniversary of the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, I'm excited to see the aquarium making great progress toward both a full recovery and its ambitious plans for growth,” said NYC Councilman Domenic Recchia, who represents Coney Island. “The New York Aquarium has long been a bedrock of the community and a big draw for tourists. With these new plans, Coney Island will be better than ever for residents and visitors alike.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said: “Under the leadership of Jon Forrest Dohlin, the restoration and expansion of the New York Aquarium is going quite ‘swimmingly.’ I am confident in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s commitment to ensuring that conservation, education and recreation remain staples of the Coney Island experience. And just when you thought you've seen everything at the aquarium, we can soon look forward to the opening of Ocean Wonders: Sharks! I’m prepared to give this an early “two fins up’!”

Although progress has been made, the devastation was so severe that much work still needs to be done to fully restore the New York Aquarium. Parts of the aquarium remain closed because complex electrical and life support systems for the animals need to be replaced. These areas include Explore the Shore, Alien Stingers, and underwater viewing areas at Sea Cliffs. WCS is working with city, state and federal governments on full restoration and transformation of the aquarium.

Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428;
Mary Dixon – 347-840-1242;

Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium is open every day of the year. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Fall/winter/spring hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Admission is $9.95 per person; children under 3 years of age are admitted free. Fridays after 4 p.m. in the summer and after 3 p.m. in the fall, admission is by pay-what-you-wish donation. The aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the WCS New York Aquarium, a beloved part of Brooklyn and all of the City of New York. Due to Hurricane Sandy we are partially opened. Check our website for more information

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.