Disaster Preparedness & Response workshop - Day 2
The second day of the Disaster Response and Preparedness Workshop took us to areas of the New York Aquarium at Coney Island that were fully under water during Hurricane Sandy. Basements, aquatic viewing rooms, and utility areas were flooded to the ceiling during the storm leading to significant loss of architectural finishes and damage to vital mechanical and electrical systems. Astonishingly, the majority of the aquatic collection survived the event, and with the foresight of preparation and a motivated team working together quickly and efficiently, the outcome looks promising and the Aquarium was even able to re-open in May.
During the workshop, we were given a full briefing on the response plan that was implemented at the Aquarium, and got a peek into the resilience report that the City has put together as an analysis of the disaster. Hurricane Sandy hit the South Brooklyn area hard, and the extent of damage from the storm surge flooding left the Aquarium vulnerable to greater risk while they continue to implement their recovery efforts. Thankfully, with an abundant outreach of support from the community and wildlife conservation organizations they expect to make a complete recovery, although more can always be done.
Our tour of the facilities was as enjoyable as it was informative! We were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the flooded underground exhibits to see the recovery work underway. As we made our way through the exhibit rooms, we were also a little distracted by a few new underwater friends: this included a sizable female walrus with an even bigger moustache, and another curious fellow named Slippy--a young sea lion pup who was actually conceived during the dark days of Sandy and coincidentally born the day the Aquarium reopened! He is seen today as a perfect example and symbol of the resilience of New York City.
After our talks and walkthrough of the aquarium facilities, we took advantage of the perfect weather and continued the tour down the boardwalk along the famous sights of Coney Island such as Luna Park’s Wonderwheel, the historic Cyclone rollercoaster, the recently renovated incredible parachute structure. And of course, any visit to Coney Island wouldn’t be complete without a few turns around the fully restored 1920’s historic wood carrousel!