If you’re 8, 18, or 80, and and decide the next big step in your life trajectory is to become a superhero, the perfect one-stop shop for your success is can be found tucked away in Park Slope on 5th Avenue between 5th and 6th street. Brooklyn’s Superhero Supply company, an unassuming free-standing store, is often mistaken for a hardware store, but actually houses shelves of fun things like cans of Courage, Gumption, invisibility paint, and tools to help you scale walls. A mock seriousness to the store, paired with the Willy Wonka-like fantasy world, creates a delightful place to explore and play.

The store is actually a secret identity of 826NYC, a not-for-profit writing lab that focuses on kids ages 6-18. Accessed via a trick bookshelf (awesome), the lab offers free after school drop-in one-on-one tutoring and fun weeknight/weekend workshops that encourage creativity and writing of all kinds — short stories, films, comics, and even Japanese Manga. 826 will also host class field trips that aid teachers in in planning creative writing exercises. 826 is in several cities through the United States and I’ve volunteered in San Francisco (where it’s a Pirate Store!) and worked in the Superhero Supply Store in Brooklyn.

The trick bookshelf!

The Secret Writing Lab

Superhero Steve tries on a new cape

But beyond the basics- you definitely want to check this place out. If you’re into design, the whole store is filled with examples of coherent, beautiful graphic design. The products, and signs have a kind of tongue-in-cheek playfulness that will definitely bring a smirk or smile to your face. If you love the written word, 826 has shelves of great essay and short story collections written by students of 826, the staff of McSweeney’s, contributors to the Believer and other great modern writers linked to 826’s founder Dave Eggers. If you don’t need any superhero supplies, you can play with several of the stores interactive exhibits: try on a cape and snap a pic for your friends at the store’s cape testing chamber, if you’re feeling like a villain, the store has a cure! A devillainizing chamber that asks you a series of questions, determines your type of villain and takes cares of the problem. Even purchasing something small is an experience, as store rules require you to recite the vow of heroism with every purchase.

826NYC and the Superhero Supply store is located at 372 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215. Scroll down for more fun pictures: