Rallying for Ray

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Publication: The New American
Date published: October 10, 2011

New Yorkers have garnered an unfortunate reputation for being rude and selfabsorbed. Their reputation has been rebutted by their behavior in a number of disasters wherein they have exhibited how good they truly are. However, it does not require a significant historic event to provoke the goodness of New Yorkers, as was demonstrated in the case of Ray's Candy Store in Brooklyn.

The New York Times reports, "Ray's Candy Store has been open 24 hours a day for nearly 40 years - a beacon of stability in a part of New York that has gone through various stages of upheaval. But the proprietor, Ray Alvarez, 76, is two months behind on the rent, and the landlord's agent has issued a few ultimatums."

Ray began facing rent problems when his landlord moved him to a month-tomonth lease and raised his monthly rent from $800 to $3,500.

According to Alvarez, losing the store would be devastating, as he loves to be around people and relies on his business for income.

Ray's customers are also perturbed by the idea of the store closing, asserting that Ray makes his customers feel like members of the community instead of just mere customers.

As a result, local residents have come together to try and help the struggling proprietor. Residents of a tenement house on Avenue C raised $500, while a young musician named Lilly O'Donnell organized a musical fundraiser at a local bar, which raised an additional $350.

Likewise, customers have frequently provided donations to the store by significantly overpaying for items they have purchased from the store.

To date, Ray's Candy Store remains in business, and Ray was one of the few store owners to stay open in spite of warnings related to Hurricane Irene.

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