Pamela Colman Smith in the early 1910s and eight cards from a 1st edition Rider-Waite deck, originally published in 1909 (photos via Wikipedia and The World of Playing Cards)
If you’ve ever seen a tarot deck, it was most likely illustrated or inspired by the drawings of Pamela Colman Smith, an England-born, Jamaica-raised, Brooklyn-educated artist. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 1897 and became a theater designer who was once hugely influential in the world of esoterica but has been all but forgotten today.
For those of you not in touch: tarot cards are an expanded, occult version of playing cards used to tell fortunes and perform other rituals. They’re believed to have originated in Europe in the late 14th century, and have since become a canvass for a variety of non-traditional illustration themes, including Lisa Frank tarot and Twin Peaks tarot. (more…)
Keep some change in your pocket after those nickel cocktails, because we’ve got more throwback prices for ya. East Village staple Veselka is celebrating their 60th anniversary with a throwback to 1954, [h/t New York Observer] featuring their original menu and prices! And back in the day, nothing was priced over $1.60 (the highest item being bigos and mashed potatoes), a big change from a $14 brunch plate accompanied by an infamous wait on Sunday mornings… (more…)
The most curious aspect of my Bushwick apartment, after the painstakingly hand-painted portrait of Capt. Jack Sparrow on one wall, is the one room that’s about six inches off the ground. A drunken neighbor explained the history of 308: previous tenants turned that room into a grow room and needed floor space for the hardware (the painting, however, remains a mystery). If you don’t have a neighbor with a deep well of hyperlocal history, the New York Public Library is ready to help, as long as you’re ready to dig. Gothamist tells us the library has laid out step-by-step instructions on how to find out who lived in your building, why it was built, what changes were made and other neat things about the ghosts of the city’s past. (more…)