Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 58.djvu/413

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405
THE NEW YORK AQUARIUM.

THE NEW YORK AQUARIUM.
By Professor CHARLES L. BRISTOL,

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY.

WHEN the municipality of New York transformed Castle Garden from an immigrant station to a public Aquarium, its location alone solved two problems incident to the usefulness and maintenance of such an institution. Its position, at the end of the Island of Manhattan, at the confluence of two great rivers and the harbor, in close proximity to all the lines of communication with all the boroughs, makes it equally accessible to all portions of the population, and provides for an abundant supply of salt water.

The Aquarium has well repaid the labors of those who conceived and wrought out the idea, and has justified the care and personal interest bestowed upon it by President George C. Clausen, of the Park Commission, if one may judge by the delight expressed by the great number of people, young and old, rich and poor alike, who daily enjoy the marvelous exhibition of fishes and other aquatic animals there set before them. Col. James E. Jones—the director—takes great pride, and justly, too, in the unbroken record of an 'open house,' and the general well-being and contentment of his finny charges.

The doors of the Aquarium are open free to all comers every day between the hours of nine and four, and, at this writing, the average daily attendance is more than fifty-one hundred people, while on Sunday this number rises to eleven thousand.

A word about the building before we enter it. It was built just before the war of 1812, and named Castle Clinton. It was then two hundred feet away from the shore, and was connected with it by a bridge; later the shore line was extended to its present location so as to include the building within it. Never very useful, the Federal Government gave it to the city in 1822. As a public hall the city welcomed in it many prominent persons, among whom were La Fayette, whose landing was commemorated in the blue and white pottery of those days; Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot, and the present Prince of Wales. Jenny Lind made her debut there under the management of Phineas T. Barnum, at that time a youth unknown to fame. Then its halcyon days passed, and it became the reception hall for the vast numbers of immigrants who yearly passed through it into the life of the republic. In 1896, it was restored to the people as a place of amusement, and entered upon its second and, let us hope, its permanent career as an