NEW YORK (AFP) – New Yorkers, said to always embrace the next new thing, will have a chance this summer to sample rides and amusements enjoyed by fun seekers a century ago.
Beginning this weekend and running through September 29, the inaugural Fete Paradiso fair will recreate the festival from a long bygone era. These include such attractions as a vintage French bicycle carousel and a meticulously restored pipe organ.
The first fair takes place on New York’s Governor’s Island this Saturday — one day before France’s Bastille Day national holiday — and features a dozen rides and attractions popular from around 1850 to 1950.
The antique attractions belong to two avid collectors of French fairground arts.
French native Francis Staub made his fortune manufacturing cast iron casserole pots that bear his name.
The other collector, Regis Masclet, was a successful advertising executive in Rennes who now spends his time restoring antique rides.
“These are all collectors’ items,” Masclet told AFP.
“For example, we have a rare ride — a velocipede — which runs by pedaling. It was built in the late 19th century to promote cycling, at the time horses disappeared from cities,” he explained.