Something is fishy at the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Back in 2008 Mayor Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro introduced the public to two gorgeous, 10-ton tropical fish tanks at the St. George ferry terminal. A year later only 10 percent of the 400 original fish survived and were replaced, but still people seemed to enjoy the addition. But now, three-and-a-half years in, those $750,000 tanks are looking worse for wear. A concerned commuter wrote in today to point out, "It's now 2011 and the fish tanks are more atrocious than ever. They were originally meant to brighten up the commute and make it more pleasant for riders, but every morning I only see slow death in those tanks."
Of course, finding out who is in charge of cleaning the tanks is a bit tricky. The DOT manages the Ferry Terminal, but not the tanks. Instead, when they get complaints about the fishes they call up the Staten Island Zoo, which is supposed to be in charge of their care. "We have a contract with the Zoo," Borough President Molinaro told us today. "They should be in there twice a week to clean—in the tanks themselves. They're big tanks though, tough to maintain. One of the problems is the light. Since the light is coming in so bright it can cause the corral to get darker. We've talked about getting curtains for the tank, but that hasn't happened yet."
Contract or no contract, we're told by our commuter sources that Zoo folk haven't been in for a cleaning in some time. And when we called to find out when the next cleaning might be there was some confusion about the issue. "We don't handle that anymore," one Zoo administrator told us, then quickly added, "Oh wait, maybe we do!" Then we were told to call back tomorrow to talk to someone who would know more about the tanks. Don't they get how URGENT this issue is?!
So, while we wait for the next sunrise, we double-checked with the DOT, which assures us that the tanks will be cleaned (and maybe the fishes will be replenished) soon enough. Meanwhile, what does it look like when a giant tropical fish tank gets cleaned? Why, good thing you asked! It looks like this: