The Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium today celebrated the groundbreaking of Ocean Wonders: Sharks!, a 57,000-square-foot building that will house more than 115 species of marine wildlife, including sharks, skates, and rays. This historic event marks the beginning of the rebuilding and transformation of the New York Aquarium, post Hurricane Sandy.

The elected officials in attendance included Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; City Council Member Mark Treyger; Former City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.; Council Member Vincent Gentile; Council Member Mathieu Eugene; Council Member Robert Cornegy; and Council Member Alan Maisel.

“We are thankful to our trustees, the City of New York and all of our supporters for making the transformation of the New York Aquarium possible and for standing by us in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO. “Ocean Wonders: Sharks! will provide a magnificent, state-of-the-art home for 25 species of sharks and rays while educating people about wildlife found in New York waters. The exhibits will raise awareness about the threats facing marine species and habitats and educate people about the need for marine conservation in New York and around the world.

"This groundbreaking today is a real sign that Coney Island is coming back post-Sandy. At WCS, we are committed, through the New York Aquarium, to contribute to the economy, education and conservation of all of New York City. Ocean Wonders will become an iconic structure enhancing the Coney Island skyline and the transformation will enhance the community."

Said WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium, Jon Forrest Dohlin: “This is an historic day for the New York Aquarium. From its first days at Battery Park dating back to 1896, to its comeback after Hurricane Sandy, the aquarium has had an amazing past. Today, we broke ground on its future.”

Ocean Wonders: Sharks! is a public-private partnership made possible through the generous support of the City of New York and the Borough of Brooklyn. Special thanks to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn City Council delegation, Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. This project would not be possible without their leadership and generous support.