09/13/13 6:26am
Fete Paradiso, an amusement park that's actually amusing (to kids and parents). Credit: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Possibly the cutest amusement park ride ever. Credit: Meredith Craig de Pietro

In Greek mythology, patience is probably a virtue when crossing the river Styx. Take this advice when waiting to shuttle across the East River to Governors Island. We arrived at the dock at Pier 6, just as the hour’s free ferry was chugging away, which meant a 55-minute wait before the next one. Instead of crying, this was an opportunity to load up on picnic supplies at a neighborhood fave, Iris Cafe Willowtown Store. Avocado sandwiches, breakfast baguettes, and homemade pastries all ended up being eaten before we even got on the ship. Twenty minutes later and the line of strollers, bikers, and hipsters already looped back around the pier. Seriously though, this is part of the charm—passing through Purgatory has never been so rewarding with a preschooler. Once onboard, the ride is quick, smooth, and full of sights (The Statue of Liberty!  The Freedom Tower! The Staten Island Ferry!) and here we are.

Governors Island is known for having great green spaces, lovely bike paths, and car free roaming. But this month there are countless other reasons to make the trip. In fact, there are so many, it would be impossible to see and do everything in just one afternoon. We started our odyssey at Fête Paradiso: A Festival of Vintage Carousels and Carnival Rides, a magical area of jaw-dropping beautiful rides of yesteryear ($3 a ride), many of which are suitable for very young children. My son chose first, a little carousel full of miniature VW buses, swans, and sportscars. He sat on a tiny orange tractor with a spinning steering wheel. (Keep in mind these truly are vintage rides, and most do not have seat belts, but parents are encouraged to stay with their child if needed.) Next up was an antique boat swing. All this was set to the soundtrack of an accordion player, who blended into the dream of the 1900s in his suspenders and hat. (more…)