Sunday, March 23, 2008

Coney Aquarium Redesign is Dead

We knew the resdesign of the Coney Island Aquarium was pretty much dead, so the story in today's City Section of the Times doesn't break much new ground in that regard. However, it does contain some definitive statements and details on why aquarium officials want to invest in a new shark exhibit rather than put any money into revitalizing the facility's depressing and awful very basic design. Here is some of the logic:
Early last year, the city chose a winning design: an airy, whalelike shell, spangled with thousands of pinpoint lights, that seemed to engulf the aquarium.

But last week, city officials said the whale design was essentially dead. “We are not proceeding on that concept,” said Madelyn Wils, the agency’s executive vice president for planning and development. Instead, she said, the city will contribute about $50 million for a new shark exhibit. Aquarium officials said their shark population would more than triple, to at least 40, and the exhibit would include an arching, 300,000-gallon tank that visitors could walk beneath. The aquarium, on Surf Avenue in Coney Island, is operated and partly financed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, a nonprofit group.

The earlier concept was scrapped, Ms. Wils said, because the city was concerned about both the cost of the whale design and its practicality. “Once you built it, how would you make improvements inside of it?” she asked. “If you wanted to make a new exhibit, how would you do that, now that the space is covered?”...Said Ms. Wils: “Does the public want to look at a whale engulfing the aquarium? Maybe. But would more people enjoy the aquarium if there was a new shark exhibit? Probably.”

GL Analysis:

Count GL among those that would have liked to see the whale "engulf" the aquarium. Hopefully the Conservation Society will do something so that its facility does not continue to be an embarrassing visual blight on that part of the boardwalk. We love the aquarium, but its current design is an embarrassment to a world-class city like New York and a slap in the face to Coney Island.



Blogger Alexander said...

They would've gotten more visitors with "The Whale".

7:11 PM  

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