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Occupy Fries Go Fancy at Ray’s Candy Store

occupyfries2Suzanne Rozdeba Left: the window of Ray’s Candy Store yesterday. Right: today.

The Day | Crif Dogs Turns 10: $1 Dogs!

Screen shot 2011-10-06 at 9.39.26 AMDaniel Maurer

Good morning, East Village.

It seems Bob Arihood (the above tribute to whom was painted by Chico yesterday) wasn’t the only one to tend after injured squirrels. On East Seventh Street near Second Avenue, we spotted a sign explaining that an orphaned baby squirrel has gone missing, and must be returned to a “federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator” because it is too young to crack nutshells for itself.

If IHOP’s new sidewalk canopy leaves you cold, and you’re more a fan of the “Eat Me” sign above Crif Dogs, take note: In honor of the hot dog spot’s 10th anniversary, everything is $1 today, and, according to its Facebook page, there’ll be a party with free rum shots tonight.

Just in time for Game 5 tonight, former Yankees and Mets right fielder Darryl Strawberry will be signing autographs between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Village Pourhouse, reports Bowery Boogie. Read more…

At Vigil, Friends Plan to Memorialize Bob Arihood With Mural, Mosaic, and Music

A vigil in honor of Bob Arihood, the East Village photographer who died on Sept. 30, included notable neighborhood characters like Ray Alvarez of Ray’s Candy Store, Jim “Mosaic Man” Power, graffiti artist Chico, L.E.S. Jewels, activist and photojournalist John Penley, and documentarian Clayton Patterson.

Friends first packed into Lucy’s bar on Avenue A at 7 p.m., where Mike Falsetta, Mr. Arihood’s close friend, raised a glass. “To Bob,” he said, to which people cheered, “salud!” and “rest in peace,” and “you will be missed.” Friends and acquaintances of Mr. Arihood shared stories and expressed shock over his death. An hour later, the crowd moved down to Ray’s Candy Store, where about 60 people surrounded the candles and photos of Mr. Arihood placed at the storefront. Read more…

With Vigil Tonight and Funeral on Sunday, Friends and Family Recall Bob Arihood

Screen Shot 2011-10-04 at 3.27.51 PMLorcan Otway

Tonight at 7:15 p.m., friends of Bob Arihood and admirers of his work documenting the daily life of the East Village will gather at Lucy’s, with a candlelight vigil to follow at 8 p.m. at Ray’s Candy Store. Today, his body is being returned to his hometown of Lafayette, Indiana. According to Leslie Arihood, his younger brother, funeral arrangements have been tentatively set for Sunday at the Soller-Baker Funeral Home.

In the days since Mr. Arihood was found dead in his apartment, bloggers have paid tribute to him, but few personal details have emerged about the man who Wah Mohn, 21, a Columbia student and acquaintance of the photographer, called a “super loner.”

“What made Bob special was that he listened to people,” said one of the three men who found Mr. Arihood’s body on Friday, adding that Mr. Arihood was more inclined to hear someone’s life story than to tell his own.

It was just that kind of warmth that drew people to him as he canvassed the neighborhood, and last week, his conspicuous absence from his usual local haunts around Tompkins Square Park was cause for concern. So was the surgical appointment he missed on Tuesday. Read more…

He’s Not Ray or Mosaic Man, But He Plays Them on Twitter

Matt RosenStephen Rex Brown Matt Rosen manages the web presence of two of the neighborhood’s most revered characters.

Ray Alvarez may not remember Matt Rosen’s name or understand his social networking wizardry, but there is little doubt that the 30-year-old’s efforts have been a boon for the iconic and oft-embattled Ray’s Candy Store.

Since 2009, Mr. Rosen, has managed Mr. Alvarez’s @RaysCandyStore Twitter account, which boasts 1,064 followers, as well as the eatery’s pages on Yelp, Urbanspoon, Foursquare, and Café Press. Last month, Mr. Rosen added Jim Power, the Mosaic Man, to his stable of online accounts.

Not that Mr. Alvarez knows much about all that stuff.

“He does advertising for me — it’s really high-tech. I still don’t have a television — I don’t know what Twitter is,” said Mr. Alvarez, 78, when asked about Mr. Rosen. “I didn’t know his name is Matt.” Read more…

The Day | Mars Bar, 1984-2011

Mars Bar Sidewalk 1984-2011Joshua Davis

Good morning, East Village.

The neighborhood is still abuzz at the sudden closure of Mars Bar late Monday evening. EV Grieve broke the story just before 4:30 p.m, followed by confirmations from the Department of Health about the closure. The Local has a report on last night’s vigil with reactions from the neighborhood. Check back later for a closer look inside Mars Bar though the eyes of some regulars, as well as a presentation of photos of the bar throughout the years.

In news not involving Mars Bar, The Local’s Meghan Keneally reports that Banjo Jim’s is one step closer to to being sold to a new ownership group led by Robert Ceraso. The State Liquor Authority Committee of Community Board 3 endorsed the transfer of the liquor license Monday night, the last bit of work left before the sale.

If the deep fried Kool-Aid wasn’t enough for you, EV Grieve points out that Jane’s Sweet Buns, a bakery selling pastries “inspired by cocktails,” opens today at 2 p.m. They are located on St. Marks Place in the former home of the De La Vega Museum.

The Daily News reported that an East Village street merchant, who sells hand-made gothic clothing and accessories, was beaten on the subway on his way home early Monday morning. The assault happened on the 4 train and, though racial slurs were exchanged, police have not labeled this a hate crime. WPIX has a video interview with the victim.

Finally, The Local would like to congratulate Asghar Ghahraman, a.k.a. Ray Alvarez of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A, for becoming a U.S. citizen, as reported in the Villager. This egg-cream’s for you, Ray.

A Grand Re-Opening for Ray’s

DSC00817Stephen Rex Brown Ray Alvarez, the owner of Ray’s Candy Store.

This morning, we told you that Ray’s Candy Store is open for business again after the Avenue A mainstay failed a health inspection last week and was forced to close for five days.

The Local paid a visit to Ray’s this morning and spoke with the owner and namesake, Ray Alvarez, who described how he and some friends worked late into the night to clean the shop so that it could eventually pass muster.

“I only slept three hours a night,” said Mr. Alvarez, who’s 78. “We swept, mopped, and patched over 200 holes. I had two exterminators come last week.”

Health inspectors first visited Mr. Alvarez’s eatery between Seventh Street and St. Marks Place last Monday, and cited the shop for contaminated food, evidence of mice in food preparation areas, and improper storage areas.

The inspector told Mr. Alvarez to close his business, but — concerned about the financial ramifications of closing —he remained open and was slapped with a $2,000 fine on a return visit the same day.

“Too many fines,” Mr. Alvarez said. “The inspectors ran out of paper, and my pen ran out of ink from signing my name so much.”
Read more…

Ray’s Candy Cleans Up

Picture 065Kenan ChristiansenA Ray’s customer contemplates the closure notice.

This morning Ray Alvarez could not stop fidgeting. He checked the soda machine for dirt, scrubbed the countertop with bleach, and consolidated the coffee into one pot. As he worked he counted off each potential violation.

“Now I’ve got to wash these, too, or they’ll be on to me,” he said, referring to the empty coffee pitchers.

Two days ago, Ray’s Candy Store, at 113 Avenue A, was ordered to close by the Department of Health. The store had racked up 53 points in health code violations, for issues which included mouse excrement on the floor and dirt on the soda machine.

The 78-year-old owner was told he could not reopen until these issues were addressed and his shop passed a follow-up inspection. At the time, Mr. Alvarez ignored the order, fearing that if he closed, for even a day, the loss in revenue would put him out of business for good.

It ended up being a costly decision. When the health inspector returned yesterday and found him still operating, Mr. Alvarez received a hefty fine and now estimates that he owes a total of $7,000.
Read more…

At Ray’s, The Spirit Of The East Village

In a neighborhood where everything is changing, Ray’s Candy Store remains refreshingly unchanged. Faded posters line the walls, many of which depict smiling teenage girls in 80’s headbands enjoying Lime Rickeys. Since buying the shop in 1976, Ray Alvarez and his candy store have become fixtures in the East Village.

“Ray’s is the last real thing left in this neighborhood,” said Clemente Valguarnera, owner of the nearby Café Pick Me Up.

This sentiment is echoed by most of Ray’s patrons. That is why the community joined together to raise money when Alvarez began having problems making rent payments.

Open 24 hours a day, Ray’s is the late night gathering place for local regulars, bar-hopping visitors and those who just like the consistency of the frozen yogurt.

NYU Journalism’s Alexandra DiPalma reports.