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Ramon “Ray” Alvarez said he was outside of his candy store at around 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday when two men approached him and tried to get him to buy some cases of seltzer water, according to Fox 5 New York.
After he said no, Alvarez says one of the men threatened and attacked him with what he described as a belt with a rock attached to the end. Alvarez was hit in the face and fell down as the men fled, according to Fox 5.
On Thursday, Alvarez said, “I feel good,” even though he said he still isn’t able to chew his food. He is also concerned that his jaw might be broken but said he had not been to see a doctor.
The New York Police Department put out pictures of a man they wanted in relation to the assault.
Alvarez is originally from Iran and immigrated to the United States in the 1960s. He subsequently became a U.S. citizen. His candy store has been in the area since 1974, and a GoFundMe was established to try to assist him after he suffered financial difficulties.
During the pandemic, the amount of money it took to keep the shop up and running was twice as much as it had been in the past. Inflation was also a problem for him and made his life increasingly difficult.
“I got a bill from Con Edison, they didn’t come to read the meter for five months,” he previously said. “The bill was $18,000.”
“All my costs doubled, from cooking oil and potatoes to electricity,” Alvarez also previously told Side Dish, per The New York Post.
“Rent is a killer. When I started in 1974, I paid $125 and now I am paying $6,185 a month. After I paid my rent and the electricity, I didn’t have any money for my health,” Alvarez said at the time. His residential rent is lower, as he resides above the shop.
The GoFundMe had a goal to bring in $19,470, but it collected $48,986 in just a week, according to Alvarez.
Every time Alvarez almost shut down the shop, the people who frequent his establishment rose to help him and brought in funds. There is a GoFundMe for the shop that is now at $55,285 out of $90,000.
“Everyone loves Ray,” Nicolas Heller, a longtime customer and resident of Williamsburg, said in the past. “He was always a fixture. Ray has been this old man working in the wee hours of the night, keeping the lights on for his business for as long as I can remember.”
New York City saw an uptick of 22% in major crimes last year compared to 2021.