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How candy it’s!

Loved East Village fixture Ray’s Sweet Retailer used to be spared from shutting its doorways after its 89-year-old proprietor fell at the back of on his expenses thank you to almost $50,000 in donations from his sweet-toothed consumers, Aspect Dish has realized.  

The shop’s proprietor, Ray Alvarez, has been slinging egg lotions and fried Oreos for 49 years to consumers from Bruce Willis and Madonna to Kim Kardashian and native police officers, firefighters and youths.

He even stored the doorways open all through the notorious 1988 Tompkins Sq. Park riots, announcing the “warring parties” had been his consumers. 

However Alvarez were given slammed first by means of the pandemic after which by means of inflation. The expenses started piling up, together with $18,000 from ConEd. 

“All my prices doubled, from cooking oil and potatoes to electrical energy,” Alvarez informed Aspect Dish. 

The hire may be top, he tells Aspect Dish, even if his residential hire — he lives above the shop — is round $564 a month. 

“Hire is a killer. After I began in 1974, I paid $125 and now I’m paying $6,185 a month. When I paid my hire and the electrical energy, I didn’t have any cash for my well being,” Alvarez stated.

Ray Alvarez
“Everybody loves Ray,”says Nicolas Heller, a 33-year-old Williamsburg resident who has been coming to the store since he used to be a young person.
Gregory P. Mango

He borrowed $10,000 from two sisters – elderly 74 and 64 – who paintings for him. After he burned via that, Alvarez borrowed $1,000 from a chum. But if he wanted extra money, the following good friend Alvarez requested stated he couldn’t lend him any cash however may just arrange a GoFundMe web page. The pal has asked anonymity. 

The function used to be to boost $19,740. As a substitute, it raised $48,986 – in a single week, Alvarez stated.

“Everybody loves Ray,” stated Nicolas Heller, a 33-year-old Williamsburg resident who has been coming to the store at 113 Road A by means of Tompkins Sq. Park since he used to be a young person, basically for the ice cream.  “He used to be at all times a fixture. Ray has been this previous guy operating within the wee hours of the night time, conserving the lighting on for his trade for so long as I will be able to be mindful.” 

Heller posted about Alvarez’s plight and the GoFundMe power on “New York Nico,” which chronicles town and its characters on Instagram, and boasts a million fans. 

The donations and tributes got here pouring in.

One individual donated $2,000. Every other donated $10, writing: “Ray you’re an East Village icon! Thanks such a lot for the a long time of pleasure you’ve delivered to 1000’s of other folks alike, and your soulful dedication for your neighbourhood. We adore you!!!!!!” 

Ray's Candy Store
“Hire is a killer,” Alvarez says. “After I began in 1974, I paid $125 and now I’m paying $6,185 a month.”

Alvarez holds his signature egg cream drink.
Alvarez holds his signature egg cream drink.

Antique cash register inside the store.
Vintage money sign up within the retailer.

Added a $15 contributor: “We adore you, Ray, and we’ll at all times be right here for you as you’ve at all times been there for us..glad early birthday!”

Alvarez, born Asghar Ghahraman, used to be a tender Iranian army sailor when he actually jumped send in The us within the early Nineteen Sixties. The penalty for desertion used to be loss of life. He lived as an unlawful immigrant for as regards to 50 years earlier than gaining American citizenship in 2011. His existence used to be chronicled in a documentary by means of fellow Iranian-born filmmaker Arya Ghavamian, in 2018. 

Due to the beneficiant GoFundMe marketing campaign, Alvarez says he plans to stay Ray’s open completely – proceeding to place in 20-hour days, seven days per week. He frequently works the in a single day shifts and may also be discovered slumbering within the again. 

Ray Alvarez
Alvarez says he plans to stay Ray’s open completely – proceeding to place in 20-hour days, seven days per week.
Gregory P. Mango

“Folks assist me. Once in a while, they purchase one egg cream, give me $100 and say, ‘Stay the alternate,’” he stated. 

Laura Stassberger, 64, has been coming to Ray’s for “the ice cream and shakes” for the previous 40 years. She works as a better half and lately popped in with Orin Soloway, 81, a retired newspaper journalist. 

“I’ve been coming right here since my 20s.  I really like Ray. He has the most efficient egg lotions and I really like when he tells me he loves me. However as of late he handiest had love for Orin and gave her loose ice cream,” Strassberger stated with a grin. “Ray’s has the most efficient egg lotions and it’s a local staple. I might hate to look it pass.”

Alvarez stated he has no want to promote the shop – whilst he turns 90 in January. 

“A couple of other folks need to purchase it, however it’s my lifeline. I’m alive as a result of the sweet retailer, and if I promote it, I can die. I don’t need to sit down house and watch TV. My existence is attached with the sweet retailer,” he stated. “If I promote my trade, I can die day after today since the sweet retailer is my existence. We all know me and is derived by means of and says hi and we discuss tune, and if I promote, then I can be by myself, on my own.”

Swing by means of the shop and also you’ll most probably see Alvarez’s signature transfer, smiling as he shouts out the window to passersby, “I really like you!”

The sensation has been mutual for 49 years. 

Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, Savannah Guthrie and Stephanie Ruhle at the Citymeals 35th annual power lunch.
Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, Savannah Guthrie and Stephanie Ruhle on the Citymeals thirty fifth annual energy lunch.
Eric Vitale

Citymeals can pay tribute to Greene

We listen…that Citymeals on Wheels raised $3.7 million at its thirty fifth annual energy lunch on the Plaza Resort ultimate week — together with a marvel donation of $2.5 million from the property of a overdue supporter. The ones in attendance, which incorporated Citymeals volunteers Jenna Bush Hager and her dual sister Barbara Pierce Bush, had been teary-eyed at a couple of occasions all through the development — the primary for the reason that passing of its mythical founder, eating place critic Gael Greene previous in November.

“Gael had a presence that used to be higher than existence. She used to be sorely neglected,” stated restaurateur Penny Glazier, who has been attending the development since 1992.

Emceed by means of MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, others on the match incorporated Citymeals govt director Beth Shapiro, Daniel and Katherine Boulud, Sienna Miller, Deborah Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch.

Citymeals has delivered greater than 67 million foods since its founding and has turn into the biggest nonprofit foods on wheels program within the nation. One in 10 older New Yorkers face meals lack of confidence. Round 14% of Citymeals recipients live to tell the tale simply the only meal an afternoon the gang delivers. 


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