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

Public Hearing on Two Bridges Skyscrapers Happening this Morning

Today is a pivotal day in the life of the proposed super-tall towers on the Lower East Side waterfront. The City Planning Commission is holding the final public hearing later this morning on the controversial application for the three new large-scale developments. Members of the public who attend will have a chance to speak (three […]

Russ & Daughters Expands with 14K Square-Feet at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Much like its centenary sister on East Houston (i.e. Katz’s Deli), Russ & Daughters is expanding into Brooklyn. The famed appetizing business – founded on the Lower East Side in 1914 – is planting a major flag at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Taking up 14,000 square-feet of space in Building 77. It’ll include a production […]

Goa Taco Departs LES; Delancey Locale will ‘Rise’ as Coffee Shop

Goa Taco is no longer operational. Indeed, both the Lower East Side lunch spot and the Greenwich Village annex are both closed for good. The original location at 79 Delancey Street is now shuttered with brown paper in the windows. “We decided it makes more sense to close the Delancey Street location after Smorgasburg ended […]

Worker at Extell’s Affordable Tower Badly Burned in Electrical Accident

It was a case of shock and burn down at the Extell project site on Cherry Street. A construction worker was electrocuted early yesterday during a work accident 227 Cherry Street, the developer’s so-called affordable tower. The man reportedly sustained second-degree burns about the arms, neck, and head, but was conscious when paramedics arrived. He was later […]

Meet the New Wall of Glass on East Houston

SoHo’s newest office buildings are inching toward the finish line, more than two years after simultaneously breaking ground. Starting with the new 606 Broadway (aka 19 East Houston), it’s been the recipient of glass paneling the last several months. As you can see, most construction materials are removed from the proverbial doorstep, leaving behind a […]