Source: NYAquarium.org

The new exhibit building and shimmer wall. (Source: NYAquarium.org)

Superstorm Sandy dealt some devastating damage to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, and much of it still remains closed today. But the institution says they’re seeing this as an opportunity to launch a new chapter in its history, and it’s forging ahead with plans for the first new facility and exhibit in years: “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!”

The ultra-modern building will abut the boardwalk, hoping to lure in a few new faces with its glitzy look.

But that look is also helping their fundraising goals. The entire exterior is wrapped in a shimmer wall, “a mesmerizing work of art” built of 33,000 aluminum tiles that “use wind and reflective sunlight to create a fluid, glittering surface reminiscent of schooling fish and ocean waves.”

To help raise funds for upgrades and repairs to the entire aquarium, they’re now allowing donors to purchase virtual tiles with their names on it. The virtual tiles will move around the shimmering wall, customized by the donor with colors, animal themes and messages for the aquarium.

Why should you donate? Jon Forrest Dohlin, the director of the New York Aquarium, says in an op-ed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that the institution plays a critical role in supporting the local community, but it’s still suffering setbacks from Sandy:

A beloved Brooklyn landmark, the WCS New York Aquarium was closed for seven months for the initial cleanup after it was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. While many of the complex electrical and life support systems for the animals still need replacement, there is much to celebrate this holiday season.

More than 350,000 people have visited since the aquarium’s partial reopening this past May. We’re also looking ahead to the expansion and transformation of the aquarium as we lead the renaissance taking place in Coney Island.

The aquarium is important to the economy of New York City, to the education of our city’s school children, and to the conservation of New York’s ocean and waterways, and WCS marine conservation efforts around the world.  An economic engine in South Brooklyn, we pump about $58 million into the local economy, see 12,000 kids in our classrooms and reach about 220,000 more students who visit our facility and use our science education programs each year. These roles will grow stronger with the rebuilding of those exhibits devastated by Sandy and the opening of our new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit in 2016.

You can learn more about Ocean Wonders: Sharks! and the shimmer wall here, as well as make a donation.

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