| by Kenneth Chase | 22 comments

How Ray’s Candy Store Became The Most Legendary Shop In NYC For Late-Night Munchies | Legendary Eats


Medha Imam: In a city
that never sleeps, bodegas, carts, and diners are routine hot spots
for late-night eats. But one 24-hour
joint in New York City stands out as a sacred site
for all things junk food. And it’s been
there for decades. Its name? Ray’s Candy Store. Customer: This is a staple
of the Lower East Side. Like, this is an
awesome place to, like, just come after work, just grab a ice cream, you know. On a cute date or something. Customer: It’s, like,
it never really changes, so it’s kind of
like this timepiece. Employee: It’s almost like
an oasis for people here. It holds the community
together a bit. Medha: We’re here at the
heart of the East Village, at Ray’s Candy Store. Ask anyone in the neighborhood. If you haven’t had Ray’s for
some late-night munchies, then you’re really missing out. Ray’s serves deep-fried Oreos, fries, soft serve, and ice cream. So, we’re gonna take a look inside, see how it’s made, and meet the legendary Ray himself. Step into Ray’s Candy Store and you instantly
travel back to the ’80s. The narrow shop is splattered with a collage of Ray’s snacks, pictures with celebrities and friends, news clips of high praise, and, of course, lots
and lots of junk food. Ray Alvarez: We sell everything. Cigarette, beer, fried Oreo,
french fries, chicken, green cards, anything
you want (laughs). Medha: That’s Asghar Ghahraman, widely known in the
neighborhood as Ray Alvarez. Ray came to the
United States in 1963 after abandoning the Iranian navy, jumping off a ship that
was docked off of Virginia. Without any papers, Asghar
adopted a Puerto Rican identity and worked odd jobs at restaurants until he scrambled enough
money to buy a store. Ray: So, since then,
I am Ramon Alvarez. Medha: Ray’s Candy Store
has now been serving late-night munchies
in the East Village for over 45 years. And Ray, who is now 86 years old, works the overnight shift, waking up at 4 in the afternoon to run his shop until
the next morning. Ray: I work seven days a week. I work from 4 o’clock
afternoon till next morning. No day off, no vacation. Medha: At first, the
candy store sold only egg creams, coffee,
and french fries. But with the rise of
rent prices each year, Ray added new items to the
menu to make ends meet. Ray: I like to make
things that people like. I enjoy it when they are happy. That’s my reward. Medha: But diversifying
his menu wasn’t enough. In 2010, Ray faced
increasing pressure to close down his
shop, as rent tripled. Members of the local
community stepped in and started a crowdfunding
campaign to keep Ray’s open. With an elevated
social-media presence and local financial support, Ray’s Candy Store was saved. Ray: People came and
they donate money. They help me “save the Ray,” you know, every block
they had the music, “save the Ray.” Employee: People just
want to come and support, and they care about Ray, and they see that
he cares about them and he puts, like, real
love into his food. Ray: Hershey, this is my
favorite thing in the world. Hershey bar. Yummy. Customer: So, the reason I
actually came to Ray’s is because Anthony Bourdain came to
Ray’s in one of his episode, and that’s why I’m here
to try the egg cream. I’ve never had egg cream,
I didn’t know what it was, so it’s my first time
trying that, but yeah. Medha: I just walked across
into Tompkins Square Park, and I’m about to try
Ray’s deep-fried Oreos for the very first time. I’m really excited because
I’m a big fan of Oreos, and I’ve never had it deep-fried, so let’s just see how it is. OK, which one do I pick? I like this one. The one with the powdered sugar. Ready? (crunching) Oh, my God. This is heaven! Customer: My favorite thing
is the fried Oreos, yeah. They’re magical. Customer: Cheers. (crunching) Customer: Mm. Mm, good. Customer: Pretty good. Customer: It’s really good. Customer: You finished
the whole thing? (laughing) Medha: With a newly
painted storefront and his East Village family in tow, Ray and his candy
store are here to stay. Ray: No day off, I had,
1955 I had one day off. I got drunk. Yeah. I had my day off.

22 Comments

Your Friendly Uncle

Sep 9, 2019, 8:42 am Reply

3:12 mr waffler

kim d

Sep 9, 2019, 1:11 pm Reply

From Arab to Latino lol

Its Noah

Sep 9, 2019, 1:41 pm Reply

“It holds the community together” it’s a candy store

Barabus Shibooboo

Sep 9, 2019, 1:43 pm Reply

Looks a bit of a health hazard, can barely see inside the windows from the outside shots with all the finger marks and grease marks

schindler elevator

Sep 9, 2019, 5:09 pm Reply

Omg the food look so good and the man looks so Nice ❤❤😃😃

Jimena Amezcua

Sep 9, 2019, 9:20 pm Reply

God bless Ray i cried

Hailey

Sep 9, 2019, 10:04 pm Reply

He is such a sweethear🥺🥺

Tuts Fruts

Sep 9, 2019, 1:00 am Reply

I wanna go here 😭

MB808AllDay

Sep 9, 2019, 1:52 am Reply

NYC always trying to push out the lower class citizens instead of trying to save them like they say they do. You see it all around New York City, pushing out poor people by raising rents, demolishing the old buildings and putting up new ones. Democrats ruin this city for their own benefit.

Jasmine Princess

Sep 9, 2019, 3:10 am Reply

God please protect him and make him happy and keep him healthy

Jasmine Princess

Sep 9, 2019, 3:11 am Reply

And keep him alive

Jasmine Princess

Sep 9, 2019, 3:11 am Reply

God please bless him

Rose Madeline

Sep 9, 2019, 4:58 am Reply

Amazing 🙏🏻❤️ May God keep blessing him

ღGacha Llamaღ

Sep 9, 2019, 5:26 am Reply

This is the cutest thing I have ever seen

AaronPlays Minecraft and roblox

Sep 9, 2019, 11:49 am Reply

what a poor man but you know that in hes eyes his still happy

Deezy Tha Don

Sep 9, 2019, 1:58 pm Reply

So this guy is an illegal

「Røses 」

Sep 9, 2019, 6:52 pm Reply

God bless home and always protect home from the bad c:

Izuku Midoriya

Sep 9, 2019, 7:48 pm Reply

His Store are Magical
And he's just like Willy Wonka but have a Good heart.

yawn

Sep 9, 2019, 10:34 pm Reply

3:22
11 seconds of pure happiness

Deku Is my smol bean

Oct 10, 2019, 5:10 am Reply

WHY AM I CRYING OVER A WHOLESOME ILD MAN ITS 1 AM J SHOULD BE SLEEPUNG

anya alana degamo

Oct 10, 2019, 12:46 pm Reply

soft serve and ice cream whatz da diferece?

Jared Morales

Oct 10, 2019, 2:58 pm Reply

God bless them

Moon light

Oct 10, 2019, 5:29 pm Reply

Late night diabetes

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