EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (PIX11) — A man attacked the 90-year-old owner of a beloved East Village candy store on Tuesday, officials said.
Ray Alvarez, who opened his Avenue A shop in 1974, was outside early on Tuesday getting some fresh air when an unidentified man carrying a package walked up. The man asked Alvarez if he wanted to buy the package, police said. When Alvarez asked what was inside, the man handed the package off to someone else, then told Alvarez he was going to kill him.
The attacker hit Alvarez in the head using an object described as a belt with a heavy rock on the end, officials said. Alvarez was not immediately hospitalized and said he was OK when PIX11 spoke to him on Thursday.
“He whacked me in the head and I couldn’t believe it,” Alvarez said. “I fell down on the floor. I was bleeding. Something happened to my jaw.”
Police asked for help identifying the suspect. He fled southbound on Avenue A. Some people in the neighborhood said they recognize the man as someone who occasionally hangs out in the area.
The attack is the latest woe for Alvarez. Rising food costs and bills have put Ray’s Candy Store in danger. Community members have raised more than $50,000 to help Alvarez out.
The attack has not shaken Alvarez’ spirit. Customers stopped by on Thursday to check on the store owner, who was still bruised from the attack.
“People are great,” Alvarez said. “I love the people and America and I love New York.”
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).