By: Anne M. Raso
I was lucky enough to attend the opening day for Fete Paradiso on Governor’s Island this past weekend. In case you haven’t heard, it’s the first-ever festival of vintage carnival rides that date back as far as 1850. All the rides come directly from France, courtesy of the collections of Francis Staub and Regis Masclet. Included in the collection are numerous carousels, bicycle rides (where the riders supply the manpower since it is non-electrical), flying swings, an early 20th century Music Ball Guzzler and a carnival game that features the images of celebs popular in France circa the 1930s (Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, Charlie Chaplin and more).
All the rides—at least in my eyes seem to be dated between 1850 and 1930 except for one featuring the coolest of vehicles from the 50s including a convertible with wing tip lights! There are a few more games and rides still be assembled so be sure to stop into Fete Paradiso a couple of times. Let me add that there are wonderful crepes being served—so if you’re a foodie, be sure to check out the ham and cheese crepe. It’s no ordinary crepe—it features top quality fresh baked ham, Gruyere cheese and a buckwheat (as opposed to a regular white flour) batter is used. Attendees get to eat under a beautiful and ornate vintage bumper car pavilion with picnic tables set up on the floor.
Fete Paradiso is open every Saturday and Sunday through September 29th and hours are 10:30 to 6:30 daily. Free ferries to Governors Island leave every half hour from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue and from the Battery Maritime Building. For more information, go to www.feteparadiso.com