Coney Island

Brooklyn Museum, NY Aquarium are coming back!

August 21, 2020 Raanan Geberer

As the city gradually recovers from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, two of Brooklyn’s greatest cultural and scientific institutions, well-known to borough residents and tourists alike, are gearing up to open.

In the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent edict that museums, bowling alleys and aquariums are now allowed to open, the Brooklyn Museum is slated to open to the public on Sept. 12, and the New York Aquarium at Coney Island plans to open to the public on Aug. 27 after a few days when members will get the first peek at its new attractions.

Both institutions have instituted COVID-19-related restrictions. For example, the Brooklyn Museum still is not resuming tours and indoor public programs, and its café and restaurant, The Norm, will remain closed. The Aquarium is limiting visits to those who buy tickets in advance and has instituted contact-less admissions procedures.

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Both institutions will require masks and are distributing hand sanitizing lotion throughout their buildings.

One of the highlights of the reopened Brooklyn Museum will be “Night Magic,” an exhibit about the opulent 1970s New York disco and all-around hangout, Studio 54. Among its celebrity partygoers were Mariel Hemingway, Farrah Fawcett, Jocelyn Wildenstein, Richard Gere, Jack Nicholson, Reggie Jackson, Rick James, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Tommy Hilfiger, Diana Ross and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. For “regular people,” it was fairly difficult to get in, unless you had the right look.

The exhibit includes fashion, photography, drawing, film, never-before-exhibited costume illustrations, set proposals and designs.

In addition to the Brooklyn Museum’s gallery offerings, outdoor art activities, programs, and screenings will be presented to encourage continued use of the museum’s popular public plaza and front steps, which have remained a place of gathering and idea-sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum will also continue to offer a range of virtual programs for children and adults, online and through its social media channels.

The glittering facade of the New York Aquarium is called a shimmer wall. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The glittering facade of the New York Aquarium on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo: Lore Croghan/AP

Meanwhile, on the Coney Island Boardwalk at the Aquarium, an exhibit called “Spineless” will focus on invertebrates, or animals without backbones, such as sea anemones, octopi, jellyfish and more. It isn’t every day you can see a giant octopus, unless, of course, you visit the Aquarium. Other invertebrates that can be seen here are more commonplace, such as the common cuttlefish.

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“They are sort of the unsung heroes of the animal world,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, director of the Aquarium, who added that the majority of life forms on Earth are invertebrates.

There will be some changes from the last time you probably visited the Aquarium, according to the institution’s website. There will be limited seating at the Aquatheater, and the 4-D Theater will temporarily remain closed.


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  1. The Bridge Aint Over

    Disappointed the Museum did not extend memberships for the time it was closed. BAM , for example, made a number of offers to Members right away, like free Mubi. Will give more there than here.