For the past few months I’ve been volunteering once-a-week (more or less) at Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co, part of 826NYC, a national chain of non-profit youth tutoring centers. You see, BSSCo poses as an unassuming (actually, it is quite, explicitly, assuming) storefront in Park Slope, Brooklyn. At first glance, it appears to be nothing more than your basic, mom-and-pop superhero outfitters, but the initiated few who are lucky enough to travel through the secret entrance to the store’s back room are treated to witness 826NYC’s true purpose.
826NYC organizes field trips and after school drop-in tutoring programs (and now, even birthday parties) that teach kids the fundamentals of composition and hatching a narrative. Depending on the program, most kids are challenged to collaborate with fellow students on a story arch and see it through to fruition, all before climbing back on the school bus they came in.
My job is to mind the store, which is its own kind of secret story, as for the time I’m there I get to see children and adults alike, catching inspiration and, often, bewilderment, at the point of encountering creativity that exists solely for its own sake.
Most adults who visit the shop aren’t aware of the secret entrance to the back or the programs for kids 826NYC provides. They think it’s just another quirky shop in Brooklyn, which who can blame them when you’ve got artisanal mayonnaise merchants practically next door (no disrespect to artisanal mayo: I’ve had it and it’s superlative). So, it’s my great pleasure three hours a week, as a volunteer shop-keep of a superhero supply company to delight visitors (mostly European tourists, god bless ’em), with tell of the programs and mission of the organization and then direct them to our collection of super powers and laboratory supplies, such as “Chaos” and, for the beach-body-conscious, “Diet Chaos” (pictured above).
So, if you’re in the neighborhood, head on down to see me at BSSCo, and restock your superhero provisions. We’re open Monday through Friday, 11AM – 5PM.
Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., 372 5th Ave. Brooklyn, NY. 11215 www.superherosupplies.com