Originally posted on Feb. 12, 2010...
You may have seen the menu earlier this week at Bob Arihood's Neither More Nor Less... Starting tomorrow, a group of Ray's devotees/volunteers are starting a new delivery service every Saturday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. So now you can get all of Ray's faves brought right to your door... Two of the organizers — Kyla Raskin and Arianna Gil — answered a few questions for me:
Why did you decide to start this?
An idea about a delivery project had been circulating for a while. Emily Allan had proposed this informally to a bunch of neighborhood kids when she worked at Ray's, and when all the news about his back rent came out we decided it would be a good time to make it really happen. We all really care about our neighborhood, each of us grew up in the East Village and remember Ray's from our childhood. We continue to pay the place frequent late night visits. The idea of Ave. A without Ray's was too scary for any of us to sit by and watch it close. Hopefully this project will attract more customers to Ray's, and help pick up the slow winter nights.
How many delivery people are involved?
There are 10 delivery people signed up for shifts so far: Emily Allan, Kyla Raskin, Arianna Gil, Max Brown, Bobby Yankou, Max Aserlind, Nate Hohouser, Zamber Diekman, Robin Giordani, and Becca Sturcken. These are all volunteer shifts that happen every Saturday from 7 pm-5 am, in two, five-hour shifts with two people per shift. We have had several meetings to organize it and the turn out has been really positive. What's cool about the project is that it has attracted a pretty eclectic group of kids from the East Village.
What does Ray's mean to you?
Ari: Ray's is a place I love for several reasons. First being that it is one of the few things that I can clearly remember existing when I was growing up. I really grew to love it though when I started going there with my friends there late nights after shows and such. Fries and Milkshakes at 2 in the morning was beyond amazing. Most importantly though it is an East Village business that has a tight relationship with the community. I have seen so many businesses move into my neighborhood, even my block, that I never seen people from the community utilizing. The only thing they really contribute to is higher rent. Ray is a true old school New Yorker, he is so warm and positive and that really translates in his business.
Kyla: Ray's started as a place my friends and I would go to after our activity for the night (be it a concert, etc.) was over, but we weren't ready to head home yet. We'd stay for hours and hang out with all the East Village folks that have spearheaded hanging out around the neighborhood. Ray is always inviting, and always such a positive way to end a night — eventually he was teaching me how to make milkshakes (I wanted to impress a boy who loved his milkshakes), and later, my friend and I started spending time on the other side of the counter, helping Ray out in the after-hours shifts, making fries as the sun came close to rising.
Ray and Arianna testing out the phone system [Via Bob Arihood]
What was Ray's reaction to your idea?
When we brought Ray our proposal he received it really well. His main concern was if people were really going to show up for their shifts. We printed out an old school facebook of all the people involved to show him how many people had committed. We told him how they were all kids who grew up in the neighborhood, he said "oh beautiful" with a smile. The only thing he seemed reluctant about was that he'll get calls when he doesn't have a delivery person handy, but we set up the Internet phone so that that was impossible. Saturday nights, we'll always have one person sitting by the computer and one out making the deliveries. Our biggest fear is that it won't generate enough profit to be a substantial project, so CALL US! (1-718-473-9636).
For further reading:
Bob has updates on Ray receiving help with obtaining his Social Security...and other ongoing challenges at the store...