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New York Aquarium

About this listing

Oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Coney Island
Institution, Education

Place Matters Profile

Written by Anna Kwiatkowska

As I took my first step into a strange new world filled with alien creatures, I hardly could contain my excitement. I found myself holding my breath as I walked into the semi-dark space, with the only light source emanating from above and entering strange glass boxes I had never seen before. I clasped my grandfather’s warm hand. It guided me as I walked through these glowing portals that transported me to a submarine chamber of wonder. I peered with curiosity at these deep blue canvases interrupted with kaleidoscopic splotches of vibrant, bright color flickering in what seemed to be graceful harmony before my eyes. I reached out into the magical abyss instinctively, my sweaty palm meeting the cold glass, as crystal-like jellyfish danced enchantingly, intermingled with their own scattered shadows. Their silent presence echoed with infinite mysteries of the ocean, inviting my childhood self to...

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Brunner, Bernd. Ocean at Home : An Illustrated History of the Aquarium. New York, NY, USA: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. Accessed March 22, 2016. ProQuest ebrary.

"History of The New York Aquarium." History of the New York Aquarium : NYC Parks. Accessed May 19, 2016.

"Scientific News." The American Naturalist 11, no. 1 (1877): 55-57.

Serrell, B. and Aquarium, J. G. S. (1977), Survey of Visitor Attitude and Awareness at an Aquarium. Curator: The Museum Journal, 20: 48–52. doi: 10.1111/j.2151-6952.1977.tb00528.x

“The New York Aquarium”. 1881. “The New York Aquarium”. Science 2 (35). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 85–85.

"Toshio Sasaki - NYC Department of Cultural Affairs." Toshio Sasaki - NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Accessed March 01, 2016.

Townsend, C. H. "A Collecting Boat for the New York Aquarium." Science 50, no. 1284 (1919): 134.

"Welcome Back! Sandy-damaged New York Aquarium Reopens ." Accessed March 01, 2016.


Anna Kwiatkowska, Nomiated through Dr. Marta Gutmans Children and the City course, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York, Spring 2016

The New York Aquarium harbors memories of family, tradition, and our transmission of values. It reminds me of the times when I bonded with my relatives, especially my grandfather. Now that he is gone I miss him greatly. Yet what has stayed with me was the reminder of the experiences we shared that manifested into a physical space - the space that we explored together. Whenever I visit the New York Aquarium, I experience the familiar feeling of warmth as if I was a child again, searching for my grandfather’s hand to guide me. As I have grown and faced the hardships of adulthood, I still search for that reassuring guidance. The memories of my grandfather and the feeling of comfort that I experience when I visit the New York Aquarium are timeless and irreplaceable.

The New York Aquarium not only educates young people about the environment and provides great entertainment but it also gives an even more long lasting gift. It provides children with something they can hold on to and cherish forever. It provides something that cannot be tarnished and withstands the test of time- a memory. They associate the experience of this place of discovery with the time they got to spent bonding with their friends, loved ones, or in my case - my grandfather.

(May 2016) 

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