Homeless coalition honors Welcoming Neighbors


The leaders behind Welcoming Neighbors Northwest Bronx will tell you that doing something special for those looking to get back on their feet is all the thanks they need.

At the same time, however, they’re not going to say no to recognition, like the honor recently bestowed upon them by the Coalition for the Homeless.

The nearly 40-year-old group has named Welcoming Neighbors winners of its 2018 Compassionate Communities award. The annual award is given to a neighborhood group in New York City that is an inspiring example of compassion and humanity to those in need.

The group formed last year after the city’s homeless services department opened a transitional housing facility at 5731 Broadway.

“Our mission was to make the residents that were going to be moving into that building feel welcome in the neighborhood, and do what we could to make the transition easier,” said Ivan Braun, a member of Welcoming Neighbors.

The facility opened in the midst of deep community divisions, especially objections from Community Board 8, which felt misled by the 5731 Broadway developer Stagg Group, which originally had planned to open market-rate apartments there.

Since the facility opened in October 2017, Welcoming Neighbors has put together a number of volunteer projects together, including hosting a Halloween party for children, as well as putting together fundraisers for Thanksgiving, and collecting toys for children over the holidays.

“Our city’s current shelter system manages to deal with tremendous overcrowding, insufficient resources, and unfair stigmas from community members,” Councilman Andrew Cohen said, in a release.

“It is important to remember, especially at this time of year, that kindness is a resource every New Yorker can offer.”

The coalition describes itself as the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization, helping homeless men, women and children since 1981.


Baseball bat murder case remains open

A domestic tussle that ended in the death of a Riverdale man last September has been deemed a homicide. But the man’s son, Brian Murphy, is no longer charged in connection with the case.

Police found a “disoriented” John Murphy near his Fieldston Road home Aug. 21, taking him to the hospital. Murphy, 75, died Sept. 12, after what doctors said was caused by being hit in the head with a blunt object, like a baseball bat.

Brian Murphy, 46, was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection with the death, but those charges have since been dropped, prosecutors said.

That came after a grand jury failed to indict the younger Murphy, according to the Bronx district attorney’s office.

— Zak Kostro


Luna behind Rite-Aid location purchase?

Rite-Aid has a new landlord, it would seem, for its 5825-35 Broadway location.

A business entity known simply as 5825 Broadway Realty LLC, purchased the building and property on the corner of Broadway and West 238th Street, for $9.4 million, according to city property records.

The company was represented in the transaction by a law firm. However, a name that appeared as a signatory in the deed is Ruben Luna, who, if the same person, owns several supermarkets in Manhattan, the Bronx and just beyond the city, according to published reports.

It’s unclear if the new ownership will mean any changes for the drug store. Its previous owner, however, has owned the property since just before the Rite-Aid was built in 2000.

CORRECTION: The Bronx District Attorney’s office has closed the investigation into the Aug. 21 death of John Murphy, after a grand jury failed to indict his son, Brian Murphy. A Press Points brief stated a different status of the case.