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New Exhibit Of French Amusement Rides Spins On Governors Island

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This weekend is Bastille Day, and if you're inclined to celebrate, you might want to ferry over to Governors Island for a whirl. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

C'est Magnifique! The first festival of vintage carnival rides has arrived on Governors Island, from France.

It's called "Fete Paradiso," and it's a playland of old-time French amusement rides dating back to the mid-1800s.

"It's the first time all the collection is in the same place, and it's like a real big museum of vintage carousel ride and carnival," says Tristan Duval, producer and founder of Fete Paradiso.

NY1 got a peek as crews set up the working museum of amusements.

"This is really art, and the collectors who have really brought this are very clear: these are gorgeous museum pieces," says Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island. "But what they want is they want people to enjoy them the way the were originally designed."

It's a ride back in time and backwards, and just in time for Bastille Day, the VELO, or bike carousel, is powered by the people.

"This one, of course, is my favorite because Governors Island is the car-free bike oasis, and what better symbol of that than a carousel ride introduced when the bicycle was first introduced in the world," Koch says. "Pretty amazing."

Organizers here say the carousel was the first "social networks," and interestingly enough, they say they were originally designed just for adults. Carousels for families came later.

There are nearly a dozen rides, plus music and French food. The rides are $3 apiece. The Governors Island ferry ride is free from the Maritime Building in Battery Park and from Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6. You can express your "joie d'vivre" each weekend through the end of September.

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