This Documentary Tells the Story of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 at 5:11 am by

Ray’s Candy Store, April 2013

It’s the age-old tale of resilience in the face of adversity; this one in particular hits close to home. That of Ray’s Candy Store.

Friend and filmmaker Arya Ghavamian is hoping to take his kinship with shopkeep Ray Alvarez and share it on the silver screen. Over the past four years, he’s been recording the history, conversations, and interactions between Ray and the community at large, to capture the unique individual running a beloved East Village institution. The film promises plenty of gems, too.  For example, not everyone knows that Ray came to the United States by way of the Royal Iranian Navy. When they left, Ray abandoned ship and swam back to Virginia.

More on the film, from the Kickstarter page:

Arya, a young Iranian filmmaker worried about deportation, walks into a New York candy store late at night seeking a milkshake. He chats up the owner, a kind-spirited, wild-hearted old Puerto Rican named Ray Alvarez – and in a strange twist of fate, Ray turns out to also be an Iranian refugee, living in disguise. So begins Arya’s new American dream, of making soft-serve for wayfaring drunks and 5am misfits – and a most unlikely friendship is born.

Though Ray’s Candy Store has been a 24/7 institution since 1973, it’s not impervious to the relentless waves of gentrification. One of the undertones of the film will be the importance of keeping these soulful small businesses afloat in today’s rent-driven economy.

So far, more than $5,100 has been raised of its $50,000 goal; all fees collected will be directed towards completion, including “hiring an award-winning editor, renowned composer, as well as paying for a sound mix, E&O insurance, color correcting, and licensing.” The campaign has a month left.

There’s also incentive to hurry up and hit the target. When reached, Ghavamian pledges to buy Ray a much needed new ice cream machine. With summer nearly here, the clock is ticking…

Recent Stories

These are the Top Checkouts at NYPL Branches on the Lower East Side

The New York Public Library has just released every bookworm’s favorite year-end list: 2018’s top checkouts systemwide, by borough, by branch, and by genre. This year’s overall victor of the city library stacks was none other than Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. But Lower East Side branches opted for another bestseller. Seward Park and Mulberry […]

Mayor Heads to Chinatown Today to Discuss Revised Jail Plan (Privately)

Mayor de Blasio is headed to Chinatown this morning for a closed-door meeting to discuss the revised plans for a prison high-rise. The private meet-and-greet with Councilwoman Margaret Chin and other “community stakeholders” follows on the heels of Hizzoner’s cancelation of plans to redevelop 80 Centre Street into a 430-foot glassy jail complex. Nixing this […]

Mount Sinai Inks Deal for Rivington House Behavioral Health Facility

An end-of-year surprise. It appears that health care is in fact returning to Rivington House. And allegedly at the expense of condo conversion. Neighbors to Save Rivington House group disclosed this week that co-owner Slate Property Group recently signed a “Letter of Intent” with Mount Sinai Hospital to move its “Behavioral Health” program into the […]

Long-Vacant Pit on 2nd Avenue will be Plugged with 10-Story Condo

It’s been a hole in the ground for the last eighteen years. Next up, more condos. The splintered plywood just below 2nd Avenue and East 2nd Street, as well as the First Street Green art park, shields pedestrians from the detritus below. In what was the former footprint of Irreplaceable Artifacts, which was destabilized and […]

Years Overdue, Bowery-Houston Leg of Roadwork Ending; Resurfacing Soon

Tonight is apparently an event not to miss here on the Lower East Side. The intersection of East Houston and the Bowery finally gets its due and proper. Roadwork on this spot is (supposedly) at the finish line, and tonight supposedly begins the resurfacing. A Boogie informant spoke with a foreman onsite who confirmed the […]