February 12, 2015
That Time the New York Aquarium was in the Bronx Zoo Lion House
- as seen by -Madeleine Thompson
In the fall of 1941, the New York Aquarium moved out of its home in Castle Clinton, in Manhattan’s Battery Park – having been told to vacate by the city in preparation for the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.
The problem? A new site wouldn’t be ready for sixteen years, when the New York Aquarium at Coney Island would open. So, after sending some of its collections to other United States aquariums, the New York Aquarium opened up on February 12, 1942 in a surprising location: the Bronx Zoo Lion House.
While big cats peered on from the one side, the building’s other side was converted to house tanks and their complex aquatic systems, and artists Helen Tee-Van and Walter Addison painted beautiful graphic underwater scenes on the surrounding walls.