Usually, New Yorkers can find all the culture they need a few steps away from their apartments and offices. But every so often we have to look beyond the subway to get us to an enlightening destination.

Recently we boarded a ferry chugging its way to Governor’s Island, a rare spot of green off the tip of southeastern Manhattan. We were en route to the Parisian Ball, a celebration of Bastille Day and the debut of Fête Paradiso, a summer-long event billed as “the world’s first traveling festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels.” (Side note: HELL YES. Second side note: Recognize a theme? We love anything that involves corndogs and theme parks.)

We put on our nautical stripes and joined other revelers in nibbling bistro eats from Le Gamin and taking spins on the restored carousels, carnival rides, and the dance floor (housed in a vintage, open-roofed gazebo).

If a quick weekend to Paris isn’t on your summertime agenda, this is the next best thing. Bonus: no jet lag.

Fête Paradiso will continue on Governor’s Island (with free admission!) every weekend until September 29, 10:30am to 6:30pm. The festival is accessible via a free ferry from either Manhattan’s Battery Maritime Building or Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6.  

Photos: Olivia Fialkow

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