By Jessica Allen
“School days, school days/Good old-fashioned rule days,” goes the nursery rhyme. Alas, said rhyme mentions nothing about the humongous amount of school supplies today’s kids need. And, in addition to things like pencils and notebooks, kids no doubt also need (want?) new bags to carry all that cool new stuff. Here’s where to go to make sure your child is fully prepared as the school year starts.
Barclay School Supplies
166 Livingston St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Your one-stop shop for back-to-school supplies, for sure. For more than 50 years, Barclay has helped NYC students get psyched for school. At this superstore in downtown Brooklyn, you’ll find everything from rulers to tape to stickers to reading guides and flashcards. You may even run into a teacher or two, as the store has an unparalleled assortment of educational materials, classroom supplies, and teaching aids, including certificates, welcome banners, and puzzles. If it helps students learn, then it’s probably here somewhere, among incredibly well-stocked shelves.
Fountain Pen Hospital
10 Warren St.
New York, NY 10007
Want to take better notes? Consider using a better pen. One of the last remaining fine pen stores in the city, the Fountain Pen Hospital has been helping folks write for more than 70 years (it’s currently run by two of the founder’s grandsons). In addition to getting your writing instruments refilled, polished, and tweaked (it is, after all, a hospital), you can browse an astonishing array of pens, from $3,000+ collectors’ items to your more workaday ballpoints and rollerballs. The Tribeca store also carries every accessory you could possibly imagine, including boxes and fine paper.
258 Elizabeth St.
New York, NY 10012
In 1983, Manhattan Portage made its first messenger bag, with the tagline “New York Tough.” While the city’s changed a lot since then, Manhattan Portage holds true to its mission of producing durable, high-quality gear—each bearing the tell-tale skyline logo. Today the company makes lots of different types of bags, including backpacks, laptop sleeves, totes, biker bags, duffels/weekenders, pet carriers, and briefcases, all available at this Nolita shop. Check out the company’s upscale Token line, for when you need a bag that’s as impressive and imposing as your resume.
New York, NY 10003-4805
Back to school means reading, which means books, tons and tons of books. Save yourself some cash by heading to the Strand, where 18 miles of used, new, and rare books await. Yup, you read that right: stretched across the multi-level store is just about every book you could possibly read ever. Family owned and operated since 1927, the Strand has held steady as all kinds of other legendary NYC bookstores have shut down over the years. Maybe it’s just us, but we can’t walk into the Strand without leaving with arms full of good, old-fashioned printed paper.
363 East 149th St.
Bronx, NY 10455
These days most kids are given a long, long list of supplies to bring to school on the first day, a list that ranges from tissues to glue sticks to calculators and crayons, pencils and erasers, folders and notebooks. Don’t despair! Bring your kiddo and his/her list to Tannen’s, and you’ll leave with a child whose bag will be fully stocked—and whose mind will be ready to absorb—come Day 1. This family run store got its start way back in 1938, so it’s witnessed pretty much every school-kid fad since the start of time (Trapper Keepers and Alf lunch boxes, anyone?).