Showing posts with label Ray's Candy Store. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ray's Candy Store. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

New at Ray's Candy Store: The corn dog

Photo by Peter Brownscombe 

There's a new menu item at Ray's Candy Store — the corn dog, priced at $3, as the paper-plate signage shows! 

113 Avenue A at Seventh Street

Friday, June 10, 2022

Ray's is ready to crank out the ice cream all summer long

Over at Ray's Candy Store, Ray was busy yesterday working with a just-installed soft-serve ice cream machine. 

As Peter Brownscombe noted, Ray now has four machines of varying vintages working at varying efficiencies. 

Per Peter: "So anyone requiring an ice cream this summer, you know where to go." 

Ray's, 113 Avenue A at Seventh Street.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wednesday's parting shot

A new era for the grilled cheese sandwiches at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A. 

Photo of Ray today with the new grill instructions by Lola Sáenz...

Monday, November 22, 2021

ICYMI: Blank Street debuts on Avenue A

As noted back on Friday, Blank Street debuted its third East Village outpost since late October...  at 149 Avenue A between Ninth Street and 10th Street.

The Avenue A location is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and carries products from local brands, including King Street Baking Co. and King David Tacos

Meanwhile, in other coffee news along Avenue A... Peter Brownscombe reports that a regular cup of coffee at Ray's Candy Store is now $1.25, a price increase of 25 cents.
As it has been widely reported, the price of coffee continues to escalate ("skyrocketing," per Fast Company).

Still, as Peter notes, the cup for $1.25 is an excellent value for your money. And FYI: a regular drip at Blank Street sells for $2.50.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Ray gets his day on Humans of New York

Photo from early 2020 by Peter Brownscombe

Brandon Stanton at Humans of New York has been featuring several East Village business owners of late (Mary O's ... Dress Shoppe II ... Mikey Likes It ... McSorley's).

And now ... one that doesn't need any introduction: Ray at Ray's Candy Store, 113 Avenue A...

Thursday, July 1, 2021

A conversation with Lilly Dancyger, author of the East Village memoir 'Negative Space'

Growing up in the East Village, Lilly Dancyger had many happy memories, from sitting and reading books at the Strand to getting ice cream at Ray’s Candy Store.

At the same time, however, she learned that there was a troubling undercurrent to her childhood as her parents struggled with drug addiction.

Her father, Joe Schactman, was an artist who made sculptures and other art out of discarded objects and was part of the vibrant East Village scene in the 1980s. He died suddenly at age 43 when Dancyger was 12 years old. (A cause of death was inconclusive.)

She spent her teens often in a rage, dropping out of school, experimenting with drugs and staying out all night wandering around the city. Years later as a writer and journalist, Dancyger revisits her own past and father's legacy in “Negative Space” (SFWP), a must-read memoir released to positive notices this spring. 

Dancyger, guided by her father’s letters and journals and interviews with his friends (not to mention in-depth conversations with her mother), creates a compelling generation-spanning narrative — part memoir, part investigative journalism. 

In the process, she uncovers a patchwork view of her father's life while also coming to terms with her own memories. “Negative Space” includes photos of Schactman’s paintings, prints and sculptures, sharing his art with a new audience in the process.

Today, Dancyger, a writer and editor, lives on the Upper West Side with her husband Soomin, also an East Village native. During a recent phone conversation, Dancyger talked about why she stuck with this book project, her decision to move away from the East Village and the importance of Ray’s Candy Store. 

After the book came out, you spotted copies of it at the Strand, a place you spent a lot of time with your father while growing up. How did this sighting make you feel?

Seeing my book at the Strand drove it home and made it feel real in a different way. I’ve been going to the Strand my entire life, and I always browse the front tables; over the last few years, I would check the main non-fiction table and see my friend’s books. So seeing my book there was really cool.

I had been waiting for when it would feel real. Even after the publication date … it felt as if I was pushing this boulder up a mountain for the rest of my life. So it is really, truly out there in the world, in the Strand — that has really sunk in.

My dad loved that store. And we used to go there and hang out for hours. He would hand me a book from wherever he was looking, and I would sit on the floor and read.

In the book credits, you mention that various publishers rejected the proposal more than 50 times through the years. What drove you to make this book a reality?

It was a combination of things. I wanted to give up at a few different points. However, it was my father’s story. And I was doing it not only for myself but also for him. It became this thing where I had committed to doing it, you know? I committed to getting his work out into the world, and I couldn’t give up on that. I’d already sunk six, seven, eight, nine years into this. I had to see it through — otherwise, what the hell was all that for?

Why did you decide to move away from the East Village in recent years?

I held out for as long as I could. For years I felt like I was stubbornly staying there, trying to be a holdout. And eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore — just the changes in the neighborhood. I was walking around bitter and angry, and it was just too painful and upsetting to walk down the street every day thinking about what has been lost in the neighborhood.

It was starting to get to me in a way that negatively affected my mental health and took up too much of my mental energy just getting angry. The whole city is changing. I’m on the Upper West Side now, and it’s not changing as quickly. And I don’t take it personally when something closes up here. I’ve just calmed down.

I’m trying to remember what Jeremiah Moss once wrote: If such and such place closes, he’s moving. I can't recall what place it was.

I used to say that if Ray’s Candy Store ever closes, I’m out of here. Luckily, he’s still there. I think he will outlive us all.

Speaking of Ray’s, in 2010, you and your friend Haley held a fundraiser for Ray’s — the Day of Ray — when he was struggling with a rent hike. Why did you decide to do this?

I had to. There are so many places that closed that I took personally and made me sad, but Ray as a human being and Ray’s as that place — it’s just so important to the neighborhood and so important to me personally. I went to Ray’s when I was a baby with my parents.

When we moved back when I was 14, after being on the West Coast for a few years, I went into Ray’s, and he remembered me from when I was 4 years old. And you know, it felt so great. I had intense emotions about being back. I was happy to be back, but I was angry that I had been away, and I felt like I wanted to be part of the neighborhood again, and I felt like I was coming in as an outsider even though I felt very attached to it already.

When I was a degenerate teenager wandering around by myself, I could go hang out in Ray’s and chat with him at like 4 in the morning. I care about him, and the idea that this gentrification would take that place from him and us was not acceptable.

I highlighted a passage in the book talking about being in Tompkins Square Park with your father: “the smell of water cooking off of asphalt in the sun is one of my strongest sense memories of childhood.” There are happy moments in the book like this. How did you balance these memories with the reality of drug use?

I wanted to show that complexity. I didn’t want to whitewash it and pretend that there was no downside to being raised by drug addicts. However, I also didn’t want to make it salacious and turn it into this drama porn because there was a lot of happiness and love, and my childhood memories are good ones. So, I wanted to make room for all of those different things that are true at the same time.

Was there a point when you realized that perhaps you weren’t experiencing a typical childhood?

It was a slow realization. I think that’s also part of my coming back to New York and coming back to the East Village was so emotionally healing for me — because then it was normal again.

When we were on the Central Coast of California, it was a beautiful, sunny, rich place. I saw that my mom stood out from the other moms — she was the only one with tattoos, motorcycle boots and a nose ring. I waited for her to pick me up with all these sunny California moms.

Back in the East Village, all my friends’ parents were weirdos and artists and a lot of them had drug problems and were kind of strange in one way or another. When I was back in the city, this was all normal, all fine.  

In the book, you meet some of your father’s friends, who describe this long-lost East Village world that will likely never exist again. Did you ever think about what it would have been like growing up in a different time in the neighborhood?

I felt that a lot when I was a teenager. In the early 2000s, I felt like it was already too late — I wished it was the 80s or the 90s. But looking back at it now, I realize that I got the last little bit of it.


On June 23-24, Dancyger hosted a book party and exhibit featuring her father's work at 17 Frost Gallery in Williamsburg ...

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Ray's 88th birthday at Ray's Candy Store goes global with virtual greetings

Earlier this week, a few friends stopped by Ray's Candy Store at 113 Avenue A to wish Ray a happy 88th birthday... (given the pandemic, there wan't any type of in-person celebration as in previous years — a tradition dating to 2007).

Gifts included mini cheesecakes from Veniero's that spelled out R-A-Y ...
Ray also watched the birthday video tributes that people recorded for him...
Greetings came in from Australia, Mexico, Chile, Italy, England, France and Spain. (There's video at the shop's Instagram account.) 

Per the Ray's Instagram account (where these photos came from):
[T]o everyone who has checked in on Ray and Co. throughout this very trying and weird year, or ordered delivery or something from the to-go window, or sent a tweet or encouraging note on Facebook and Instagram, THANK YOU. Ray truly loves you. You are all his family and mean the world to him. He can't wait to see more of you soon enough.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Phony Express debuts a birthday tribute to Ray at Ray's Candy Store

In honor of Ray's birthday this month at Ray's Candy Store, newly created local band Phony Express (read the backstory here) dropped a new single — "Ray's Party."


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday's parting shot

Lola Saénz today made a large card for Ray... who is celebrating his birthday this month... the card is up at Ray's Candy Store, 113 Avenue A, for anyone to sign.

As previously noted, the Ray's Annual Birthday Celebration isn't happening this year...  organizers instead are asking Ray fans to record a video message here

Monday, January 18, 2021

How you can record a virtual 88th birthday greeting for Ray

Ray Alvarez, the proprietor of Ray's Candy Store at 113 Avenue A near Seventh Street, turns 88 on Jan. 25.

Given the pandemic, there won't be any type of in-person celebration as in previous years (a tradition dating to 2007).

So here is the plan instead (and it's meant to be a surprise for Ray) via the b-day organizers ...
Since we can't be together for Ray's Annual Birthday Celebration this year, we're making a virtual video hug for Ray and would love for you to be a part of it! Please click the link below to record your birthday wish (it's easiest to just use your phone) and we'll play them all for Ray! 

We'll collect hugs through Sunday, Jan. 31, so please add yours before then! LET'S SET THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR BIGGEST VIDEO HUG EVER!

P.S. Don't tell Ray…it's a surprise! 
The link to record the video is here

Friday, January 1, 2021

The 1st hour of 2021 at Ray's

And Ray Alvarez, the proprietor of Ray's Candy Store at 113 Avenue A near Seventh Street, was on duty at the front window... as seemingly always. 

Ray also officially turns 88 on Jan. 25. (Some folks celebrate it on Jan. 1!) Happy Birthday/Birthmonth Ray!

Thanks to Peter Brownscombe for the photo!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Something new for the walls at Ray's Candy Store

Ray yesterday was the recipient of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation 2020 Village Award...

Head here for the full list of recipients.

Thanks to Peter Brownscombe for the photos!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A broken window at Ray's

Over at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A, someone punched the front door, shattering the glass behind the "Best Egg Cream in Town!" sign late last night.

Ray told EVG contributor Stacie Joy that it happened around 2:30 a.m. The man, who was alone, was angry about something and took it out on the door, which Ray plans on getting repaired.

And, despite the curfew, Ray was apparently busy last night.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Saturday's parting shot

Some soft served via Stella and the to-go window at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A... thanks to Lola Saénz for the photo...

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ray celebrates his 87th birthday

Ray Alvarez, the hard-working proprietor of Ray's Candy Store, turned 87 on Jan. 25.

And as is tradition dating to 2007, a group of Ray's friends/regulars hosted a birthday extravaganza inside the shop at 113 Avenue A last night. (The festivities were a little later this year after Ray's recent hospitalization.)

This year's theme: the golden age of burlesque. And on hand last night to help Ray celebrate (in order of appearance below):

Pearls Daily
Peekaboo Pointe
Gal Friday
Stormy Leather
The Maine Attraction

EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these photos...

... there was also a card and cake...

Happy birthday, Ray!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Ray returns!

Ray is out of hospital ... and back at Ray's Candy Store today at 113 Avenue A, Peter Brownscombe tells us.

As previously reported, Ray, who turned 87 last month, was hospitalized for emergency hernia surgery on Jan. 23.

Those who saw Ray today note that he is in very good spirits.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Get well soon, Ray!

[Photo from Friday morning]

Ray Alvarez, the tireless proprietor of Ray's Candy Store at 113 Avenue A, was admitted to the hospital this past Thursday morning for emergency hernia surgery.

Several Ray's regulars have said that he's resting comfortably and doing fine. Word from the shop is that Ray, who just turned 87, wants to return as soon as possible (like, today).

And it sounds as if he's OK. According to Peter Brownscombe, who paid Ray a visit at Beth Israel: "Apparently his first action on coming out of the anesthetic was to get on his phone and order more potatoes for the store."

H/T Dave on 7th and Stacie Joy!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday morning staff meeting at Ray's

A moment with Ray and Stella this morning at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A as the two look over the schedule for the coming week... thanks to Peter Brownscombe for the photo!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A new sign for Ray's Candy Store, and a visit by Kim Kardashian West

Here's a look at the almost completed new sign at Ray's Candy Store ... NYC-based illustrator Peach Tao (with help from Will DeNatale and Shreya Gupta) started work on Sunday.

Peach said she still has a few more details to add.

This version replaces the well-weathered facade that Chico created in July 2016. Chico's previous sign here was in part a tribute to neighborhood photographer Bob Arihood, who died in September 2011.

Steven took these photos yesterday afternoon.

Early last evening around 6:45, Kim Kardashian West stopped by the shop here on Avenue A near Seventh Street with friends (besties?) Simon Huck and Jonathan Cheban to celebrate La La Anthony's birthday (this info via Instagram).

The reality TV star and makeup mogul shared photos/clips in her Instagram Stories showing the group ordering milkshakes and deep-fried Oreos from Ray, who was working behind the counter...

In true Kardashian fashion, there were reports of "a mob scene" outside the shop during the brief stopover, as Ray's was plunged into the paparazzi world ... with black sedans and bodyguards on Avenue A...

[Bottom 2 photos via @RaysCandyStore]

Last week, it was Kendall Jenner's turn to stop by Ray's.

H/T Jon-Michael!

Previously on EV Grieve:
Kim Kardashian was in the East Village on Tuesday, ever so discreetly

Sunday, June 23, 2019

WIP: A new sign for Ray's Candy Store

[Photo by John Cline]

Work started today on a new sign for Ray's Candy Story over at 113 Avenue A near Seventh Street...

[Photo by Steven]

Peach and Will expect to have the sign finished tomorrow...

[Photo by Steven]

This version — with a small 's on Ray — replaces the well-weathered facade that Chico created in July 2016. Chico's previous sign here was in part a tribute to neighborhood photographer Bob Arihood, who died in September 2011.

[Photo by Eden]