The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the aquarium, unveiled new designs for a $150 million expansion designed by New York firm Edelman Sultan Knox Wood.
Opened in 1896 inside Castle Clinton at Battery Park, the New York Aquarium was the first in the nation.
At its height, the aquarium attracted 2 million visitors a year, almost three times as many people as now visit.
The Battery aquarium closed in the 1940s and moved out to Coney Island boardwalk the following decade. A groundbreaking was held in 1954.
The facilities have grown over the years, a complex of different attractions.
A seal pool was added in 1979, for example.
The diminutive entrance to the aquarium. The boardwalk was not always a savory place, so access was limited to keep out the riffraff.
As such, perhaps the aquarium's best-known attraction is the imposing wall that runs along the boardwalk. It is adorned with a pleasant mural but is still not entirely inviting.
In 2006, the WCS held a competition for a new aquarium that would integrate it better with the boardwalk and neighboring amusements. This entry is from West 8 and WXY Architecture.
The new aquarium was envisioned as part of a larger redevelopment effort for the entire boardwalk led by the Bloomberg administration. This entry was designed by Smith-Miller Hawkinson.
The aquarium chose its winner in 2007, selecting the work of WRT and Cloud 9. It looked like a whale or a giant net or a fluttering jellyfish or any other number of aquatic images.
Ultimately, the plan—seen here from the boardwalk—was set aside because it was deemed too expensive.
The ultimate design, while not as flashy as some of its predecessors, remains a creative, affordable option that will provide views of the boardwalk and the ocean.