Aquarium on Track to Help Spark Coney Island Comeback from Hurricane Sandy

Coney Island, Brooklyn, April 5, 2013 -- The Wildlife Conservation Society will partially reopen the New York Aquarium on Saturday, May 25.

This partial reopening will come about 7 months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the 14-acre aquarium campus, severely damaging its buildings, exhibits, and the facility’s aquatic life support systems.

The partial reopening will include: Glover’s Reef (featuring the sea life found in Glover's Reef, Belize); Exhibits in Conservation Hall (Coral Triangle of Fiji, Great Lakes of East Africa, and the Flooded Forests of the Amazon;) Outdoor spaces of Sea Cliffs (walrus, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and penguins); And a fully re-modeled Aquatheater with a new sea lion demonstration.

"We are ready to welcome New York families and tourists back into the WCS New York Aquarium," said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO. "We have worked nonstop to ensure that the marine life in the aquarium was safe and secure. We want to share this progress with New Yorkers and be a part of the Coney Island comeback following Hurricane Sandy. The aquarium is an important economic engine for the community, providing jobs and sparking commerce. We have been encouraged by the outreach from the city and across the country urging us to reopen."

Added Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium, “I want to thank all of our Coney Island neighbors for supporting us through these difficult months since the hurricane. The community spirit has inspired the WCS aquarium staff to work hard every day so we can reopen and again bring economic stimulus to Coney Island and to share the wonders of the oceans with New Yorkers and tourists."

New York City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr said, “The reopening of the aquarium is an exciting milestone in Coney Island's recovery from Superstorm Sandy. As one of the area's few year-round staples, the aquarium serves as a vital economic and educational engine for the community and all of New York City bringing in over 750,000 visitors and $58 million dollars in economic revenue. I am so grateful for the remarkable efforts of the aquarium's staff and community partners who have all worked tirelessly to reopen this important cultural icon.”

In conjunction with the partial reopening of the aquarium, education programs will resume on a limited basis at the facility. This will include the teen docent program, summer camp for students, and training for educators. In addition, aquarium staff will continue to work closely with the WCS Global Marine Program on the WCS New York Seascape initiative to conduct conservation research from Cape May to Montauk.

WCS is continuing to develop a detailed scope and budget for full restoration, and is continuing to work with the City of New York to plan for the aquarium expansion, Ocean Wonders: Sharks!

Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428;
Max Pulsinelli – 718- 220-5182;
Steve Fairchild – 718- 220-5189;