Nancy Stark Raouls Tarot Reader Psychic New York

Grandlife interviews

Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future

back to list

Raoul’s in-house psychic invites us into her Chelsea home and shares some of her favorite memories—as well as a few projections.

Raoul’s has been a Soho institution for more than 40 years but only one woman has had a table reservation for nearly all of them. Four nights a week, Nancy Stark climbs the black spiral staircase at the Prince Street bistro, just as she has for the past three-plus decades, and waits for curious diners to finish their steak frites and ascend for a tarot reading. Petite, with elegant grey waves, heavily lined eye-lids and an all-black ensemble, she looks every bit the Manhattan clairvoyant. Raoul’s may be a perfectly preserved time capsule of 1970s New York but upstairs, its eyes are firmly fixed on the future.

Here, Stark shares some of her favorite memories—as well as a few projections.

How did you start Reading at Raoul’s?

Nancy Stark: I met this man [founder Serge Raoul] at a chiropractor’s office and we started talking and found that we had the same guru. That was an immediate connection. At the time, I was freelancing in advertising and I needed another source of income. I told my friend about this and he said I have two restaurants, would you like to read at one? It’s turned out so well. For a few years I was the only one here but so many people wanted readings he asked me to bring on more readers. That’s how it all started.

Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future

Raoul’s is a bit of a celebrity haunt. Have you had any memorable visitors?

NS: I remember one guy with a beard came up for a reading. After I’d done his reading, he sent a lot of his girlfriends up to me. Later, one of the guys downstairs said, “Do you know who that is? That’s Robert De Niro.” I never recognize them. I’ve seen women that work in the movies who are very well known but I don’t recognize them because when you see them on screen, they’re projecting something else. Here, they’re just regular people.

There’s another one, he’s Australian and owns a lot of newspapers.

Rupert Murdoch?

NS: Yes, I did a reading for him and he sent his whole family up afterwards. I’m not good with names.

Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future

How did you find out you had special powers? 

NS: My family was quite psychic. They would do tarot and palms but I think it was mostly intuition. This was in my country; I was born in Chile. I came to New York when I was 13 and forgot all about it until I went to a dinner party in my early twenties. A friend brought tarot cards so we could read each other’s fortunes and a book to help us interpret them. I didn’t use the book, I just said whatever occurred to me when the cards were pulled. A year later, the friend who I’d read came back to New York and I met him for dinner. He told me that everything I had said had happened.

I find tarot so profound and beautiful. People say, “You’ve opened my mind—and you were easier to understand than my shrink!” I think it’s simply because I’m so interested in people. We’re fascinating creatures.

Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future

Do you feel like a New Yorker? 

NS: Oh completely. I always felt that New York was where I belonged. I still feel this way. In the ’60s especially, this place gave you the freedom to be whoever you are. 

“Psychic” signs are everywhere downtown. Are New Yorkers always searching for something more?

NS: I think especially in this time and age, people are very confused and fearful. They’re looking for anybody who can give them information, but the information is not about the outside stuff. It’s the inside stuff. How are you going to handle this situation?

You’ve been at Raoul’s for more than 30 years. How has it changed?

NS: Actually, this place hasn’t changed! We even have that old payphone. Of course, it doesn’t work anymore. People find this place very comforting. From the first time I came here, I felt that the energy is special. Have you heard about ley lines? They’re lines of energy that exist throughout the world and I’m convinced that this place must be on one. Every time I come here, it feels like a never-ending party. The place can get pretty rowdy sometimes but I love that. I think it’s because people are really enjoying themselves and feel free to be almost like children.

Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future

Favorite item on the menu?

NS: I have no idea, I’m vegan! 

Favorite places to relax? 

NS: My favorite hangout is my home in Chelsea. I can exercise, read, listen to music, and just get in sync. Another place is Pongal, an Indian vegetarian restaurant where Barry (my partner) and I meet every Friday for dinner with friends and family. Here we always have great conversations, sometimes serious ones about life and spirituality, always dispersed with humor, and give each other support. 

In 1992, the New York Times asked you what would happen with Prince Charles and Princess Diana and you predicted that they’d have affairs and eventually divorce. What do you see for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?

NS: I feel meeting each other made it possible for them to open another chapter in their lives that has made them able to dedicate their lives to something greater as a couple. I think they are aware of their good fortune to have found each other, which makes their relationship special. It opens the door for intentional spiritual growth and continuing the work that Princess Diana started.

This interview has been edited for length.

 WORDS Anne Fullerton

PHOTOGRAPHY Sally Griffiths 

Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future
Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future
Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future
Psychic Nancy Stark on Downtown Past & Future

You May Also Like

Chi Chi Valenti Johnny Dynell New York nightlife Mother Jackie 60 Patrick McMullan 90s Keith Haring Night of 1000 Stevies

Nightlife Legends Chi Chi Valenti & Johnny Dynell Talk to Richard Boch

art & design
bars & nightlife
stories
Club nights, invention, and after-hours mischief—stories of NYC nightlife at its best.
David kaplan death & co new york summer cocktail

Summer Cocktails with David Kaplan

bars & nightlife
stories
From the archive: The founder and co-owner of Death & Co. shares his favorite NYC bars and a couple of summer cocktail recipes to try at home.
Keegan Sanford New York illustrator art director T-shirt covid-19 robin hood relief fund

We Are New York: In Conversation with Keegan Sanford

art & design
stories
The senior art director and illustrator on the power of words, the T-shirt he created to make a difference, daily rituals and more.
Talking Heads Chris Frantz Tina Weymouth David Byrne Memoir Remain in Love

New York Stories: Talking Head Chris Frantz Talks to Richard Boch

art & design
music
stories
The man responsible for keeping dancefloors moving as the drummer for Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club has been hard at work on his memoir. From art school to CBGB’s & beyond—we get the lowdown. 
Graham Fortgang Julian Kahlon Our House TV Broadcast Covid-19 Artists Performance

Everyone is Welcome in [Our House]

art & design
stories
We catch up with the founders of the 24/7 digital channel to talk creative expression, building the platform in a week, and the festival to mark on your calendar. 
No Shame in Uggs: André Leon Talley on NY Fashion

No Shame in Uggs: André Leon Talley on NY Fashion

art & design
fashion
film
stories
From the archive: The celebrated fashion landmark on the inclusivity of NY style, his friendship with Anna Wintour, and the cultural draw of Harlem. 
Debi Mazar New York Actress Interview Richard Boch Covid GrandLife

New York Stories: Debi Mazar talks to Richard Boch

bars & nightlife
film
stories
The actress and Queens native on her early years in the city, working underage at the Mudd Club, meeting Madonna in an elevator, and her hopes for New York post-Covid.
Sarah Bassett Interview Creative Director Adidas Originals We Are New York

We Are New York: In Conversation with Sarah Bassett

art & design
stories
The creative director on supporting the people who showed us how to see the world differently, her newfound domesticity, and some words to live by.
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600