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Karen’s Quirky Style: Future’s fortune beckons

BY KAREN REMPEL | Storefront fortune tellers are almost as ubiquitous as nail salons in New York. Who among us hasn’t succumbed to the lure of peering into the mists of the future, seeking a hint of reassurance that things are going to be O.K.? Or guidance to make a choice?

Only $10 to gain a moment’s comfort from a wise woman! Well worth the price — even if you don’t quite believe — to have a spirit-seer touch your hand and give you 10 minutes of attention to satisfy your curiosity or narcissistic needs.

I have sought the guidance of psychics, astrologers and mediums at various choice points in my life. Their words of wisdom still resonate in my soul. One seer — many years ago — said she saw me as a medieval town crier, shouting messages that would be heard around the world. I was seeking a career change from accounting, and didn’t know I’d become a writer, but her words helped me move in that direction.

When I was in my early 20s, a past-life channeler at a psychic fair took me back to a village in Zambia where I was a warrior’s wife, to help me see that my journey in this lifetime was not about being a wife and mother. Been there, done that.

The marvelous astrologer David Pond read my charts, also when I was in my 20s, and told me that I wouldn’t find my life love until the second half of life. I’m still waiting to see how that one turns out! But then again…

I fell in love with New York around the midpoint of life (assuming my plans to live to 100 bear out — assured to me by a tiny storefront psychic on Bleecker Street). I was still living in Vancouver but staying here for seven weeks to see if my New York love affair was more than a one-night stand.

I’d devoured “Cosmic Sugar: The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic,” by Leela Jones, a.k.a. Joan Pancoe, and booked a soul reading with her at her garden apartment in the East Village. She went into a deep trance to channel a spirit who would read the Akashic records to tell me about my life purpose. The guidance I received was that my soul would do fine in Vancouver, but thrive in New York.

I didn’t know how I could possibly make it happen, but this advice gave me the courage to set my foot on the path to move 2,400 miles, to another country and another world. I feel I have thrived in every possible way, and the surreal afternoon I spent in Joan’s apartment was the catalyst.

While I haven’t crossed the doorstep or crossed a palm with silver at the psychic storefront in the photo above, it’s beautifully appointed, and spotlit like a diorama at eye level, in a splendid 1910 building on Horatio Street. It’s just around the corner from West Village pastry marvel Aux Merveilleux de Fred. Take a double-dip of comfort some Sunday with a confection of meringue and whipped cream after your sprinkling of stardust.

To see more fun Philip Maier photos, go to

Style Notes

⦁ Vintage French 1980s Free Lance metallic rose-patterned pumps. Edith Machinist, 104 Rivington St.
⦁ Vintage 1950s gold coin necklace. Edith Machinist.
⦁ Vintage 1970s Grecian belt of gold metallic macramé. Edith Machinist.
⦁ Hippie Rose coral ditsy-patterned tiered skirt. Goodwill, 44 W. Eighth St.
⦁ Peach Free People floral ruffled blouse with gathered sleeves. Goodwill.
⦁ Deep red velvet scarf with gold cinches and pompoms. Dress Shoppe II, 83 Second Ave. (now closed).
⦁ Red velvet belly dancing scarf with gold coins. Beckwoman’s Hippie Emporium, 1314 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.
⦁ Black flowered brocade half-corset. The Bay, Vancouver.
⦁ Garnet bracelets. Penny Whillans Designs, Victoria, BC.
⦁ Lucite hoop earrings filled with multicolored sparkle flakes. Gift shop at The Met, 1000 Fifth Ave.


  1. Karen Rempel Karen Rempel February 16, 2022

    Thanks, Anila! Intriguing! I wonder if this is like the beginning of a fairytale, where a witch warned your mother when you were born not to prick your finger or you would fall asleep for 100 years!

  2. A. Cobo A. Cobo February 13, 2022

    Very interesting article, Karen! Believe it or not, I’ve never had a psychic read my palm. I’ll tell you why when we meet in person next time.

  3. Pat Pat February 8, 2022

    These long-lasting yet mysterious NYC businesses are fascinating. Would be interesting to do an interview with one of the psychics who work in them!

    • Karen Rempel Karen Rempel February 16, 2022

      Pat, I agree, the stories they must have about the tortured fears and deep longings of the heart!

  4. Jeff Jeff February 8, 2022

    While I don’t (entirely) believe in psychics and readings, I have encountered a similar storefront soothsayer in New Orleans, who was pretty accurate about my upcoming few months. My boyfriend of the time suggested I should NOT get a reading. Guess he knew all along which direction he would turn my life around sooner than I did, and didn’t want some rando telling me what was to come. I do think people can read your mood and desires to an effect of foretelling your ‘future.’ Being that he was in the room with me at the time, she actually read his intentions and relayed those to me. An emotional empath would be a good description.
    p.s. Love the scarf and pompoms.

    • Karen Rempel Karen Rempel February 16, 2022

      Jeff, this is so interesting. My spidey-senses tell me it did not turn out well with this boyfriend! Yes, emotional empathy can tell us so much about other people. I think you have the gift!

      I got the scarf with pompoms at The Dress Shoppe II, right before it closed in January after nearly 50 years of business. The owner of the shop, Saroj Goyal, was so nice to me and gave me a real deal on the scarf.

      Saroj has moved her business online though, so you can find her beautiful fabrics and garments on etsy:

      And she’s on Insta at dressshoppenyc


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