In Sandy's Wake, Aquarium Struggling to Stay Afloat

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The New York Aquarium on Coney Island is closed indefinitely after it was pounded by Sandy's storm surge. The boardwalk aquarium is home to 12,000 marine animals.

During the storm, water filled basements that housed tanks of fish and knocked out crucial electrical and mechanical equipment. The aquarium is now struggling to recover.

Jon Forrest Dohlin is the Vice President of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the director of the New York Aquarium. He gave WNYC an update on the aquarium's status.

To help, visit the aquarium's website.

This story was produced in partnership with Tumblr's Storyboard.

Jeremy Johnstone for WNYC/Tumblr

Staffers say Mitik, the baby walrus, remained happy and unscathed, in spite of the storm. “It takes a heckuva lot more than Superstorm Sandy to make a walrus get uptight,” says Dohlin.

Jeremy Johnstone for WNYC/Tumblr

Floodwaters remain on the floor of the aquarium’s main exhibit building. Five of the six exhibit buildings were flooded.

Jeremy Johnstone for WNYC/Tumblr

Murky fish tanks in the Sea Cliffs area of the 14-acre complex, home to Mitik the walrus. It was one of the structures most severely damaged in the storm.

Jeremy Johnstone for WNYC/Tumblr

The aquarium is home to 12,000 creatures, the vast majority of which survived the storm. However, there were a few fish casualties: in particular, freshwater fish whose tanks were flooded.

Jeremy Johnstone for WNYC/Tumblr

Under normal circumstances, a tank like this is almost clear -- with a slightly blue tinge. The aquarium's fish tanks are all open on the top, so many of them were doused with sea-water and rain.

Jeremy Johnstone for WNYC/Tumblr
Scuba gear hangs outside the Aquatic theater, where the sea lions perform.


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