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Making It | Petra Olivieri of Raul’s Candy Store

For every East Village business that’s opening or closing, dozens are quietly making it. Here’s one of them: Raul’s Candy Store.

RaulCandyMelvin Felix

Some major changes are coming to Loisaida: Avenue D is getting luxury rentals as well as a pizzeria from Kim’s Video. But around the corner from where La Isla recently shuttered, Raul’s Candy Store holds down fort. The bodega is no stranger to changes: it opened in 1976 at 190 Avenue D, then moved to 208 Avenue B about five years later. Now it’s a few doors down at 205 Avenue B – a sign in the window reading “Absolutely No Drugs or Hanging Out” harkens back to an earlier era. The Local spoke, in Spanish, to Petra Olivieri, wife of owner Raul Santiago (they’re celebrating their 45th anniversary this year).


When did you move to this location?


I can’t remember. But between there and here, we’ve been in business 35 years. We used to pay $100 for rent when we were at Avenue D. Then it started going up: $200, $300. Here, we now pay $2,400. So we have to sell a lot more. Read more…

Movie Magic! Mary Help of Christians Relocates to the Bronx

Movie Shoot at Mary Help of Christians Church in East VillageDaniel Maurer Henry Barrial (right) supervises camera set-up.

A little over a month after “Girl on the Train” transformed the former Mary Help of Christians school into an after-hours club, a film crew is shooting inside the church itself today. Henry Barrial, the director of “Some Body” and “Pig,” described his latest film, “The House That Jack Built,” as an “ultra low-budget” production about a young man who buys a tenement in the Bronx using money saved up from dealing drugs out of his bodega.

So how does Mary Help of Christians come into all this? Well, it’ll stand in as a church in the Bronx where a baptism takes place in the beginning of the movie and a wedding takes place at the end. Other scenes are being shot in Jackson Heights and the Boogie Down.

Mr. Barrial found the church through Caryl Pierre, a production coordinator on the “Girl on the Train” shoot who also recommended the church for this one. The director, who is Cuban-American, said the movie will star Puerto Rican up-and-comer E.J. Bonilla as well as Saundra Santiago, best known for playing Det. Gina Calabrese on “Miami Vice.” The screenplay was written by Joseph Vásquez, the Bronx-born filmmaker who wrote “Hangin’ with the Homeboys,” starring John Leguizamo, before he died of AIDS-related complications in 1995.

Tompkins Finest Deli Duo Also Opening Middle Eastern Cafe

tompkinsDaniel Maurer

The owners of Tompkins Finest Deli say they hope to open the store sometime in the next ten days, and about two months from now, they’ll open a Middle Eastern café at the corner of First Avenue and Second Street.

Adeeb Ghamem, a resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Ahmed Alzabair, of the Upper West Side, were busy stocking shelves with Vitamin Water and PopChips earlier today, in a space that has been considerably gussied up from the time it housed Avenue A Mini Market. Mr. Ghamem, who is also a partner in East Village Finest Deli (on Avenue B) and First and First Finest Deli (you can guess where that is), said that he was opening another store in the East Village because “people are nice. Nobody gives nobody a hard time. Everbody’s polite here.” Read more…

Your Voices | On Four Loko

FourLoko_cansChelsia Rose Marcius

Our recent posts on bodegas in the East Village that continue to sell caffeinated Four Loko struck a nerve. Many readers took time to write in and express their thoughts on our investigation, and Gothamist picked up the story and republished similar articles twice.

The action wasn’t limited to the blogosphere either: The Local’s Chelsia Rose Marcius revisited the subject after the commotion, reporting that the State Liquor Authority planned to investigate the bodegas in question.

A common label, used both in the comments section and the Gothamist posts, was “narcs” and “snitches.”

“tacony palmyra” started off the name calling:

“Well, thanks East Village Narc! I’m sure the SLA or whatever authority is going to make sure these bodegas you individually identified will be in trouble if they find any, and now we get no more old school Four Lokos. Do journalistic ethics require that you play fun police?”

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At Local Businesses, a New Way to Pay

Sam Penix at Everyman EspressoIan Duncan Owner Sam Penix makes a coffee at Everyman Espresso. Customers now swipe their credit cards through an iPad to pay

When web designer Matt Norris wants a coffee at Everyman Espresso, he doesn’t reach to his pocket for cash or a credit card. With a quick few swipes on his iPhone and a look at the barista he has paid and his drink is on its way to being made. For the barista’s part, he just looks Mr. Norris in the face, confirms his identity and the transaction is complete.

Everyman, on East 13th Street, is an early adopter of Square, a mobile-based payment system developed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The company’s name derives from the little square card reader that connects to a merchant’s (or anyone’s, for that matter) iPhone or iPad, turning it into a payment device, an approach a number of other companies are also taking. In May, Square launched its new product, the card case, which stores regular customers’ details and allows for flesh payments like that made by Mr. Norris for his coffee.

Following in the footsteps of a reporter from Fast Company, I tried out Square at Everyman, opting for the more conventional method of swiping my card. It works pretty much as you might expect: run the card through the white plastic reader, which connects to the iPad’s headphone jack, and sign using the touch screen and a finger. That last part was a little awkward – the result was a childlike scrawl that only loosely approximated my signature, but it was apparently sufficient for my bank.
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