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:

9 thoughts on “The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store

  1. Hi! Like Ari Joseph, I’m also new to the blog and loving it. To add more to Ari’s blog, I also grew up in Park Slope, we lived at 361 5th Ave., right across the street from the Levine Brothers’ store. Actually, the Levines’ were 2 brothers, Julius & Jack Levine. I attended the then called William Alexander J.H. 51 which is right on the next block, and remember the brothers always being right outside the store greeting everyone; they were a “fixture” on 5th Ave. Their store was really something else, it was originally a candy store, then became sort of a mixture candy store/toy store. The store was divided and they had a ramp inside the store that would allow you to go from one to the other. I remember the supermarket being the corner store on 5th Ave and 5th St, as you moved from the supermarket towards 6th St, there was the entrance to the apartments above the supermarket and then, it was the Levine store. However, my sister says she remembers a smaller store being right between the supermarket and the Levine store. She believes it was a “haberdasher” and for some reason, she thinks the name was something like Klonduke. Please, if anyone remember this, let us know as my sister is certain this store existed and I do not. Was there a “haberdasher” next to the Levine Brothers?????? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the great comment and glad you like the blog! I’ve emailed your comment to Ari to see if he remembers! Hope to see you on our Facebook.com/untappedcities or Twitter.com/untappedcities pages!

  2. I’m new to the blog, and very much digging it.

    It’s sort of surreal for me to see this space featured, because its past is as interesting to me as its present. Before the Superhero Supply Shop came to the neighborhood, 372 Fifth Ave. was the home of Levine Brothers Sports, a genuinely old school Brooklyn establishment that had been in the neighborhood for generations.

    Levine Brothers was the stuff of mythic lore. It was dark, cramped and musky, with the store divided up into two halves, each with their own storefront. To get from one half to the other, you had to go out the front door and have whoever was working in one of the divisions unlock the other. If I remember correctly, one half was devoted to footwear.

    The inside of the store had floor-to-ceiling boxes of sports supplies for every possible outing. I used to go to try on baseball mitts at the beginning of baseball season, and a couple of times I actually bought one.

    Levine himself was a seemingly cranky man, but was in fact an incredibly nice guy and neighborhood fixture that would often be seen outside the store greeting the people he knew (or at least the people he liked). Since MS51 is right there, I think he developed a special penchant for yelling at the kids during lunch. And since I was about the same age as the kids who were at MS51 at that time, I would get yelled at from time-to-time.

    My most vivid memory of Levine came from a time shortly after my birthday, where I had gotten a varsity jacket with my name embroidered on the front. I walked in one day looking for a basketball I believe. Levine immediately said, “Hey, Ari, nice to see you!” I was incredibly confused since I had absolutely no idea how he knew my name. He could tell I was confused and kept hamming it up. When I finally asked how he knew my name, he said that someone across the street was calling my name. I couldn’t hear anyone, and when I finally grew tired of the conversation, he pointed at the embroidery on my chest and said, “Well, you wrote your name right there.” Classic.

    It’s a wonderful space, and an all-too-rare example of one great establishment being replaced by another. A one-of-a-kind being replaced by a one-of-a-kind. Brooklyn could use more Levines, and more Local 826’s.

    1. Thanks for that wonderful history on the location Ari! It’s exactly the kind of stories we look for. You don’t perchance have any photos of the Levine Brothers store do you? Your comment is a story in itself!

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