The Secret Tutor

Brooklyn Superhero Supply has a hidden identity

In a quiet corner of Park Slope, Brooklyn lives a unique store filled with creativity and imagination. Brooklyn Superhero Supply is a one-stop shop to suit all of your superhero or arch villain needs.  From X-ray vision powder, to grappling hooks, to an array of different colored capes, the store is filled with everything and anything super. It even has a wind machine for testing superhero capes, a mind-reading chair, and a de-villainizer machine, to restore shoppers from their evil state.

But the store, like any real superhero, has a secret identity. Behind one of the bookshelves lies an education center offering free tutoring and creative writing programs. The program is a branch of the national nonprofit 826, which has similar educational programs all over the country. To help fund the center—and also attract kids to the store—826 created unique storefronts, including the Pirate Supply Store in San Francisco, the Secret Agent Supply Company in Chicago, the Time Travel Mart in Los Angeles, and many more in development.

The 826NYC program offers an after-school program with homework help for kids from ages 6 to 18, and even publishes some of their creative writing in books that are sold in the store. Joshua Mandellbaum, the executive director for 826NYC, said that the store encourages imagination through the superhero theme, but then the students form great connections with the tutors. The after-school program has around 15 kids at a time who come from all over the city, so they can sneak through the secret bookcase door and let their creativity run free.

“Besides having the secret door, I think my favorite part is really seeing our students work,” said Mandelbaum. “Seeing how they progress, seeing the sort of imaginative things that they are able to put out.”

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