The machine stood beside a deli counter, towering over cardboard boxes piled near the entrance to the Iconic Magazines store in SoHo. It had the stature of a standing washer-dryer, with black buttons, rows of blinking lights and gauges labeled with celestial bodies — “sun,” “moon,” and the eight planets — on the front of its white facade.
“It could be something from NASA,” said Tim Wiedmann, a 27-year-old student from Germany who visited the store on a Wednesday night in June.
While Mr. Wiedmann stood in front of the machine, its front screen directed him to “ask the stars.” Using a knob, he cycled through some 100 questions. Among them: How do I get better at my job? Should I leave New York? Should I start a cult?