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Old 03-12-2016, 08:38 AM   #21
statler
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

I agree that the NEAQ isn't the flashiest or shiniest aquarium in the country, but it is still a huge asset to the city and it closing down would be a tremendous loss.

I would love to see a new aquarium built in it's place but considering how much money they have recently dumped into just doing relatively minor renovations, I just can't see them raising enough money for a complete rebuild in my lifetime.

But hey, if you want to donate to the cause, go for it.
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:50 AM   #22
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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I agree that the NEAQ isn't the flashiest or shiniest aquarium in the country, but it is still a huge asset to the city and it closing down would be a tremendous loss.

I would love to see a new aquarium built in it's place but considering how much money they have recently dumped into just doing relatively minor renovations, I just can't see them raising enough money for a complete rebuild in my lifetime.

But hey, if you want to donate to the cause, go for it.

Before I dump money into any organization I need to see executive compensations .

I want to make sure my money is actually going towards the institution not to the executives lifestyles.
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:01 AM   #23
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

Guys, the Aquarium doesn't end at the fishtank glass.

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Old 03-12-2016, 09:09 AM   #24
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

They also do a ton of oceanic conservation and research as well.

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Endangered Species and Habitats

We have been actively working to protect ecosystems from human impact and conserve threatened animals and habitats for more than 20 years. Our conservation and research projects span the world, from protecting the North Atlantic right whale in New England, and preserving coral reefs in the South Pacific to preventing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and working on issues related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Climate Change and the Oceans

Global climate change is real and it’s happening now. Animals and plants are disappearing from some places and appearing in others. The oceans are a leading indicator of climate change. As an ocean steward, the Aquarium is a supporter of important research on climate change and the oceans and a source of information.

Sustainable Fisheries, Bycatch and Aquaculture

The New England Aquarium collaborates with commercial and recreational fisheries to minimize the environmental impacts of fishing and reaches out to consumers to help educate the public about responsible seafood choices.

Research Project Pages

Aquarium research programs increase understanding of aquatic life and environments, enable people to act, and provide leadership for protecting the blue planet. See overviews of these projects, including the Right Whale Research Program, Coral Reef Ecology, the DIGITS database system and many more.

Conservation Medicine and Ocean Health


We can learn a lot about the state of our oceans by studying the health of marine animals. We investigate health and stress in right whales and other marine life, look for solutions to lobster shell disease and rescue and rehabilitate marine animals across New England.

Marine Animal Rescue

We rescue and rehabilitate stranded, injured and diseased marine animals from throughout the New England coastal region. Established in 1968, our Marine Animal Rescue Team has responded to thousands of calls to provide medical treatment for whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea turtles.

Tools for Conservation

We support conservation and research projects at the Aquarium and elsewhere through Marine GIS technology, the Marine Conservation Action Fund and The Akiko Shiraki Dynner Fund for Ocean Exploration and Conservation.
So I doubt your $27 ticket price is going towards just feeding the penguins or buying someone time on a private jet.
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:59 AM   #25
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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They also do a ton of oceanic conservation and research as well.



So I doubt your $27 ticket price is going towards just feeding the penguins or buying someone time on a private jet.
Yes, this. Their operations are in no way exclusive to that ugly-ass (and, yet, with exhibits under constant renovation!) building. They run a harbor porpoise rehab center in Duxbury and a marine hospital in Quincy. That's where they chose to invest their warchest when the planned late-90's relocation of the main aquarium stalled out. But, you know...not open to the public because hard boring work rehabilitating native Harbor animals to health isn't fun to look at, so let's just pretend that whole pesky "research and conservation" side of the organization doesn't exist.


Also...if you haven't done one of their whale watches, you're missing out on the experience of a lifetime. I have old pictures somewhere of the last one I went out on during peak feeding season, with humpbacks using the side of the boat as a literal fucking dinner utensil to trap schools of fish by letting out a blow wedging the fish in a big meatball against the hull of the boat. I watched from 20 feet away while a female demonstrated this tool-making technique for her newly weaned calf then nudged it to partake in the meal. The fish were literally flying out of the water and flapping against the side of the boat. The whales were making eye contact with us between gulps before they went back under to prepare another meatball against the hull. The onboard staff said they know by time of day when the boat schedule is and where to wait for it, immediately recognize the boat as a "friendly" regular interloper that's safe to approach because it always cut the engine when nearby (vs. some random unknown boat where they will instinctually dive below propeller depth and/or keep a wide berth), and come right on over to chow down. Same individuals year after year, and they have unique personalities such that you can ID some individuals without even seeing them solely by the pattern of bubbles they blow. Whole time this is going on for the crowd's entertainment there's research staff onboard collecting data on who's out and about in the Harbor that day, health, behavior, group dynamics in the pods, and whether there's been any changes that may indicate stress in the social structure. They do that every single day.



There are bad zoos/aquariums and there are good ones (and the seventh circle of hell ones like Sea World). It's not a subjective ranking; they are vigorously accredited by multiple veterinary and conservation organizations. The American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the gold-standard such accrediting organization, has such strict standards for animal care that only 10% of the zoos and aquariums in the United States earn their much sought-after certification. And have to have their accreditation renewed once every 5 years. Both NEAQ and Franklin Park Zoo are AZA-accredited, BTW.

NEAQ actually did slip up and lose their accreditation from 2003-06 because of the staff they had to cut during the budget crisis brought on by the quadruple-whammy of cancellation of their then-planned expansion, post-9/11 economy hurting receipts, Big Dig construction on their doorstep hurting receipts some more, and Aquarium station's closure/renovation hurting receipts yet more. They've been back in AZA's good graces ever since, but not even mitigating circumstances well out of their control matter for the accreditation process; AZA does not fuck around.


I totally get that some people are opposed to any sort of animal captivity. It's a complex issue that's hardly cut-and-dried. But, please, spare the hyperbole if it's not going to be backed up by citations. The foremost marine biologists on the planet put facilities like this through intense scientific scrutiny, and they are hardly a monoculture of industry yes-men. Us armchair Internet assholes don't have one iota the expertise to make whole-cloth claims about anything related to aquarium operations; those claims have to be backed up by a modicum of corroborated evidence cited from someone who knows surgically what they're talking about re: good aquariums vs. bad.

Last edited by F-Line to Dudley; 03-12-2016 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:12 AM   #26
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

I understand that the NEAQ actually does have multiple things going based on your response.
I think my point is NEAQ has the opportunity to work with the developer to make the area very positive. Instead the executive team does not want the garage to go. WHY? Its awful for the area.

My point is NEAQ should be the best Aquarium in the country with everything going on in Boston/Mass:
Why isn't the NEAQ drawing affiliates or partnerships with these sectors to raise funds to create a grand vision of what the Aquarium could actually accomplish in this area.
#1 Education
#2 Biotech Sector
#3 City & State Funds

I think the overall vision that the NEAQ has is very WARPED especially if they really believe that leaving the Garage on the Greenway is much more rewarding for them than the overall situation.

I'm not crazy about animals held from captivity but their are animals that can't fend for themselves and I believe that their environment should be as positive as possible especially when you are making money off their freedom.
That is why I'm calling out the organization executives.
WHY not develop a GRAND vision for yourself in the area.


I also agree that the Aquarium is a popular destination spot for families.
That being said the NEAQ was poorly designed and I think it should get an F in design.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:32 PM   #27
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

Unless it's already slated to be developed, the perfect spot to relocate the NEAQ would be in the Seaport district, way down past Bank of America Pavilion. There is currently there a huge empty area there, currently used as a Cruiseport "cellphone waiting lot". Think it's called Kennedy Ave....there are empty, abandoned factory buildings down there as well. What a great spot, nearby the cruise ship area. (instant/captive tourist audience!) It's sort of a peninsula that looks on Google earth like a great spot, with lots of potential. Maybe even Massport owned. (?) At the very least, not a postage stamp lot that the current NEAQ sits on, and directly on the water, I could imagine a world class facility out there.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:55 PM   #28
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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Originally Posted by lapradetom View Post
Unless it's already slated to be developed, the perfect spot to relocate the NEAQ would be in the Seaport district, way down past Bank of America Pavilion. There is currently there a huge empty area there, currently used as a Cruiseport "cellphone waiting lot". Think it's called Kennedy Ave
If I'm correct, I believe that area is designated for port use only; while it's a great spot for development, it'd be quite the process to get an aquarium there. We talked in depth about this on the Boston 2024 page. (I think it starts at post #2011, and F-Line has a good explanation of why it can't happen at post #2045)

Also, the traffic going to and from a new aquarium in the Seaport would make the traffic situation there ten times worse. There'd definitely be a need for better, reliable transit or substantial updates to the roads/traffic flow in the area, two things the city has been struggling to get done.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:53 PM   #29
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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If I'm correct, I believe that area is designated for port use only; while it's a great spot for development, it'd be quite the process to get an aquarium there. We talked in depth about this on the Boston 2024 page. (I think it starts at post #2011, and F-Line has a good explanation of why it can't happen at post #2045)

Also, the traffic going to and from a new aquarium in the Seaport would make the traffic situation there ten times worse. There'd definitely be a need for better, reliable transit or substantial updates to the roads/traffic flow in the area, two things the city has been struggling to get done.
^I checked it out, and you are correct. Massport owns it, and would not even consider letting it go for the Olympics, so I don't think an Aquarium idea would make them budge either. According to the post, they plan an "Itermodal/Industrial shipping complex". Is that what's next to Castle Island with the ship/container unloading cranes?
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:08 PM   #30
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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^I checked it out, and you are correct. Massport owns it, and would not even consider letting it go for the Olympics, so I don't think an Aquarium idea would make them budge either. According to the post, they plan an "Itermodal/Industrial shipping complex". Is that what's next to Castle Island with the ship/container unloading cranes?
Just have to put together a half Billion dollars in taxpayer money and the city can move that pesky aquarium off the waterfront to make room for Starbucks, a Gucci bag store and a bunch of lawyers.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:21 AM   #31
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

25 years ago NEAQ did take a home-run swing at relocation to a new 275,000 sq. ft. facility at Charlestown Navy Yard. It got turfed by neighborhood opposition and a City Council that decided fanning those flames was more convenient in an election year than backing a proposal they'd backed in a non- election year. The Aquarium lost their shirts on the effort because they needed the sale proceeds of the current site to pay for the construction tab, but the '90-91 recession + downtown real estate crash intervened...then the BRA bravely! bravely! ran for the hills rather than make any effort to help indemnify them for the land swap. We forget now...but the latter Ray Flynn era was not quite yet the dawn of "New Boston".

When the Navy Yard plan was shelved the trustees proposed massively expanding the current site, but their finances were too hobbled to get it going and the Big Dig-era revenue hit put them in debt. The 90,000 sq. ft. East Wing expansion was outright canceled after 9/11 when they couldn't afford to do necessary redesigns for open-space public security. The West Wing expansion was years late. Various renovations had to be stepped out much more slowly, such that projects that were supposed to be done 15 years ago were only completed in the last 2 or 3 years.


I think the Aquarium can be forgiven a little for being gun-shy about going too far out on a limb with a Really Big Thing™ when the City didn't exactly have their backs during multiple past attempts at attempting Really Big Things™. While we're finger-wagging in this thread about how they're supposedly duty-bound to aesthetically live up to the great city they represent, remember that they nearly died because that great city's planning institutions cut-and-ran when they tried to do exactly that. Then sacked them with a decade's worth of starvation upending the Plan B attempt at doing-exactly-that by way of an onerous access-choking government construction project right up in their grill. Likewise with no offer of token flotation device to help them through it.

NEAQ's trustees have had to manage their portfolio ultra-conservatively because they've had no choice. They got burned so badly by BRA and City Hall platitudes about expansion that lacked enough substance to wipe one's own ass with. And it nearly ended them altogether...which I assure you would've been a way, way worse fate for the reputation of this "great city" and all the monocles that are being dropped here about great cities. And much, much worse for the fate of Boston Harbor's ecosystem. The fallout from all that lost them their AZA accreditation for a few years, an embarrassing blemish on their reputation. To keep their organization intact--let alone carve out a new path for grandiose planning--they have had to take a hard line against any debt spending whatsoever, and hunker down on what they can build from within on their current site sans outside help. Because they can't make their donor base any assurances that the City and BRA will fulfill their end of the planning bargain and not bravely! bravely! pull another runner. They can only mount plans they can go alone, because the last quarter century has been them going it alone.

How would YOU manage that situation differently? C'mon...put on your Board of Trustees Chair hat and think through how you get a donor base to buy into this notion that they somehow owe the City a blind leap-of-faith architectural marvel sans safety net because greatness blah blah. How do you sell that to the Board and the donors when the last quarter century has been one big triage of damage control and retrenching to ensure that world-class Boston retains any aquarium whatsoever? Let alone an aquarium that's renowned amongst its zoological peers. Step it out for the thread.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:40 AM   #32
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

1) What is the potential hit to visitors of losing the Harbor Garage either permanently or for the 3 or so years until an underground garage is built? Is it 10%, 30%, is it 50%?

The aquarium will have trouble making any major investments (either based on major donors or debt based financing) in its current location if they have this major uncertainty hanging over it with the increased push for the Harbor Garage redevelopment.

They need to survey their current visitors (if they haven't already done so) and make some realistic projections.

I expect that the Harbor Garage will be torn down in the next ten years or so and it isn't clear there will be much parking. The current posturing and realistic engineering challenges of wedging a multi-level underground parking garage between the ocean and an underground highway will mean a negotiated reduction in underground parking, so I wouldn't put any faith in any current proposals.

If it is a 10% loss in visitors, then shrug... if 30% to 50%... then hope that everyone has autonomous cars by then and can just get dropped off and picked up on-demand later, else:

Plan C) Move to Quincy where they already operate and can build their own parking garages and destination/working facility at the former shipyard.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:49 AM   #33
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

^^^
I don't think the Aquarium should move from this location.
They don't need to build a 100Million dollar Aquarium or expand. They need a better design and possibly moving the IMAX into a below location or maybe into the development.

At this point I would make a deal with the developer and completely demo the entire site.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime to raise funds, make a deal with the developer to help them accomplish a much better vision for the area.

Raises the funds: Banks, Big Education institutions, City & state funds
Also possibly force the developer to contribute and help them raise the funds for the core development.

There are so many options at this point but the Aquarium Executives need a vision or an idea to make this happen.
Keeping the garage is not an option at this point anymore.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:57 AM   #34
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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Before I dump money into any organization I need to see executive compensations .

I want to make sure my money is actually going towards the institution not to the executives lifestyles.
OK Riff. I'll bite. Why don't you tell us what an appropriate salary is for a Ph.D. running a $50 million business and then I'll look it up.
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:53 PM   #35
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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^^^
I don't think the Aquarium should move from this location.
They don't need to build a 100Million dollar Aquarium or expand. They need a better design and possibly moving the IMAX into a below location or maybe into the development.

At this point I would make a deal with the developer and completely demo the entire site.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime to raise funds, make a deal with the developer to help them accomplish a much better vision for the area.

Raises the funds: Banks, Big Education institutions, City & state funds
Also possibly force the developer to contribute and help them raise the funds for the core development.

There are so many options at this point but the Aquarium Executives need a vision or an idea to make this happen.
Keeping the garage is not an option at this point anymore.
$100 million? I said $400 million, that what just the previously cancelled expansion would cost:


$100 million isn't going to get you a new facility. In 1988 they were going to build a new facility for $150 million. In 1988.

But the point is that there is no point in doing anything at this location if the predominately car driving public can't get there in a reasonable amount of time and park reasonably close. They had to cancel the last expansion when the combination of the Big Dig and the closure of the Aquarium station caused visitors to decline.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:02 PM   #36
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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OK Riff. I'll bite. Why don't you tell us what an appropriate salary is for a Ph.D. running a $50 million business and then I'll look it up.
It would all depend if its non-profit or profit
Anything Non-profit $250-350K Max.
Private corporation (That's up to the board of directors)

The IRS really needs to put out new regulations especially on these Non-profit colleges paying Top management million dollar salaries. Organizations that are non-profit should have a salary cap at certain levels.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:17 PM   #37
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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It would all depend if its non-profit or profit
Anything Non-profit $250-350K Max.
Private corporation (That's up to the board of directors)

The IRS really needs to put out new regulations especially on these Non-profit colleges paying Top management million dollar salaries. Organizations that are non-profit should have a salary cap at certain levels.
I looked it up on Guidestar.org (a nonprofit watch site) by pulling up their tax return for 2014. Need to be a member but its free.

CEO: $142K (but I don't think she was there the whole year) Prior CEO was about $315K from FY2013 returns.
Looks like CFO was about $250K but there was a transition so hard to tell exactly.
VPs in the $125-$150K range. Marketing and fundraising are more - $200K.

Not extravagant for a large institution. Nothing like the MFA
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:48 PM   #38
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

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I looked it up on Guidestar.org (a nonprofit watch site) by pulling up their tax return for 2014. Need to be a member but its free.

CEO: $142K (but I don't think she was there the whole year) Prior CEO was about $315K from FY2013 returns.
Looks like CFO was about $250K but there was a transition so hard to tell exactly.
VPs in the $125-$150K range. Marketing and fundraising are more - $200K.

Not extravagant for a large institution. Nothing like the MFA
Heck the head of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy had a salary of $185k per year to run a merry go round.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:53 PM   #39
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

So if Don C buys the land under the aquarium, then leases it back to NEAQ in perpetuity, he can then fund an NEAQ expansion /renovation like this and have it count towards the facilities of public accommodation for the harbor garage tower, right? (i.e. likely not right, but i'm interested if someone here can confirm that it's not right and also explain why....)
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:57 PM   #40
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Re: What to do about the NEAQ?

^^^
I think if the Aquarium Executives meet with the Developer and have a vision/Idea of their own they might be able to work out sometype of deal that benefits everybody in the grand scheme of it all.

But it would have to benefit everybody-The Aquarium, and the developer.
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