EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Fried Oreos, french fries and egg creams have made Ray’s Candy Store a popular destination in the city, but it’s owner Ray Alvarez who makes it a New York institution. 

He opened the store in 1974. As the 50th anniversary approaches, they’re celebrating a greater milestone.

Alvarez turns 90 years old at the end of December. He has been through some tough times and his customers are again sounding the alarm. Rising food costs and bills have put the shop in danger. 

A crowd-funding campaign has raised more than $50,000 in four weeks. They plan to use some of the money to host a birthday party for friends and neighbors. The rest, they say, will help Alvarez keep the shop open and retire, eventually, on his own terms. 

Alvarez isn’t making any plans to leave. He says he would miss the people.