Gritty. Cheap. Cramped. A bit worn and grimy. Love.
Ray’s Candy Store is just perfect and a true representation of what old school NYC used to be. The kind of place that is a must to hit up when in a happy drunk vibe late at night, and need some sort of fatty, sweet, greasy, or messy snack to help soak up all the booze you consumed.
Ray’s has been open since 1974. Walking up from outside the facade is not the most appealing, and easy to miss. It’s a different world once you enter inside. The space itself is small, and the walls are plastered with newspaper clipping, photos, signs, pictures, and posters listing the hodge podge of foods they offer. Soft serve ice cream, Belgian fries, egg creams, chili dogs, cheese fries, shakes, fried Twinkies, sausages, and even beignets! There is so much here to make your inner fatty happy!
Soft serve vanilla ice cream cone and the pistachio ice cream in a cup were a late night treat. Only $4 each and huge portions. HUUUUGE! I mean, the cone is swirled so high it’s as tall as the Empire State Building. Well, maybe not, but you get my drift. So awesome for only $4, and it’s delish! Creamy goodness.
At midnight Ray was still there working the counter. Big props for a man over 80 doing what he loves. With a smile. I read somewhere that he had heart surgery a few years ago and hardly took off any time to recover. The man has an amazing constitution. Seems like it’s never closed.
It’s basically a grab and go spot, no seating. So walk around with your snack, devour it on the sidewalk, strolling around the area, or head to the park for a bench to enjoy. Also, bring cash here as it’s much easier since everything is pretty cheap and no credit cards accepted. If you’re the type that likes to support local biz, and hates to see these spots disappear, then by all means spend some cash here. It’s worth it!
God, I love these hole in the walls. It’s a classic. I can picture this place back in the rough and tumble NYC of the 1970’s and 1980’s. A time when the area had a high crime rate, and just surviving was a day-to-day thing.
Long live Ray – the heart and soul of the East Village.
Ray’s Candy Store –https://www.facebook.com/RaysCandyStoreNYC