BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | Ray of Ray’s Candy Store has always had guardian angels looking out for him — namely, community members, customers and fans who have helped him through the tough times by chipping in on fundraisers for him.
But on Sunday around 3 p.m. an actual Guardian Angel, named Jose Gonzalez, was posted outside Ray’s store at Avenue A and Seventh Street.
Gonzalez said he had been there since 11 a.m. As for Ray, though, he wasn’t there. The hardy, 90-year-old snacks maestro usually pulls the overnight shift, but recently took some time off to recover at home from a brutal attack on Tues., Jan. 31.
The violence left him with broken facial bones and a dislocated jaw that has him sucking his meals through a straw. But he’s already back on the job, at least on the morning shift, as Allie Ryan, a local candidate for City Council, tweeted on Friday.
This morning I visited Ray and Gabe at Ray’s Candy Store and gave them a Get Well card & soup. Ray said he went to the ER & learned that he has 3 broken bones. He’s on antibiotics. And they are both working (!) Pls visit! And donate. https://t.co/qeIhnwWdQs pic.twitter.com/F9843O6LqD
— AllieRyanNYC (@AllieRyanNYC) February 3, 2023
Gonzalez said Curtis Sliwa, the Guardian Angels’ leader, was planning to stop by at some point during the day. Sliwa did not respond to request for comment.
Ray told the New York Post the assault would never have happened if there were more cops walking on foot patrol in the neighborhood.
Two men have now been arrested in the random assault, Luis Peroza, 39, who lives nearby in supportive housing on Avenue D, and a sidekick, Gerald Barth, 55, the latter who, according to Chris Flash, of The Shadow newspaper, is known in Tompkins Square Park as “Insanity Claus.” Peroza was arrested last Friday and Barth two days earlier, though police did not publicize Barth’s collar.
Don’t f*ck with Ray. We will find who did this. In the meantime, stop by his shop. I usually get zeppoles but you know whatever it is he has something for you.https://t.co/bZHZSPbUz9
— Carlina Rivera 利華娜 (@CarlinaRivera) February 2, 2023
Councilmember Carlina Rivera also has Ray’s back. In a tweet two days after the assault she warned, “Don’t f— with Ray. We will find who did this.” She added that she’s a big fan of Ray’s zeppoles.
The Post also reported that the duo of Peroza and “Insanity Claus” allegedly attacked another man on Avenue C just a half hour after the assault on Ray. They blocked the victim’s way with a purple shopping cart, then demanded his money, with Peroza whipping him in the head with his loaded belt, breaking his orbital bone.
Peroza is reportedly being held behind bars on $200,000 bail while Barth is being held on $3,000 cash or $5,000 bond.