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New York Aquarium to reopen after Hurricane Sandy

The Wildlife Conservation Society, owner of the aquarium in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, estimated damage at $65 million and announced the reopening on Tuesday, declining to be more specific about the exact reopening date.

Sandy made landfall on October 29, killing more than 130 people with a record storm surge that destroyed low-lying coastal areas of New York and New Jersey. Coney Island fronts the Atlantic Ocean.

The aquarium, which said it attracts 750,000 visitors a year, is seeking private donations. Public officials called the aquarium's recovery an important for the revitalization of South Brooklyn and a marker for storm recovery.

Atlantic water surged over and under the Coney Island Boardwalk to completely or partially flood all the buildings at the 14-acre park, destroying or damaging infrastructure including aquatic life support systems, the aquarium said.

"Losses in the collection were minimal and limited to fish and invertebrates housed in a few tanks," the aquarium said in a statement.

Most of the sea creatures remained safe in their tanks, although a baby walrus named Mitik was happily swimming through storm surge waters on the first floor and a 3-foot American eel was found alive in a staff shower stall, The New York Times reported.

Among the casualties were freshwater koi, the Times said.