“Manhattan’s only family home preserved intact from the mid-19th century,” the Merchant’s House Museum, hosts afternoon tea—specifically, “Scottish scones with jam and cream, and decadent sweets” (eek, relapse!)—followed by psychic readings, which the museum’s personal astrologer, Roberta Alessandra, explained to us would involve “mini-readings, astrology, there will be people doing tarot … I’m not positive if someone’s going to be doing tea leaves.” Come again, sister? “Forms of divination that died out in the 19th century, such as reading tea leaves. It’s kind of fascinating, actually.” More pressingly: We’re not really the horoscope type ourselves; in fact, we’re kind of a cynical bitch. So why, then, are we so very like our fellow Libras? “What makes you share those characteristics, and what enables the solar system to reflect them, is that we are all one in a very spiritual sense,” she said. “If you study anything about quantum physics, it indicates that subatomic particles vibrate very much the same whether that particle is a human or an inanimate object or a planet or an animal. So there is a commonality. … It’s not something of which we are aware and yet we are subtly influenced by this.” (Are we high?) “In that way everything is alive,” she continued. “Including a rock.” A rock? Hot damn. Ms. Alessandra was the first to admit that her particular type of physics can be hard to swallow. “There is a bit of difficulty accepting that this is actually real,” she said. “But what is happening is that science and belief are coming to some sort of a confluence, so that we are at least partially able to express why certain methods of divination are effective and in fact not just superstition. ….We didn’t understand it for hundreds of years and we thought it was malarkey, but now we’re seeing that there is a possible base in this to science.” Yes, we are definitely high. Pass the cornbread!
[Afternoon Tea at the Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street, 212-777-1089]