Gilbert Kelly, Longtime Grand Avenue Fixture, Shot Dead Last Night


    It’s with a heavy heart that we report the news that Gilbert Kelly, or just Kelly as most of us on the block between Gates and Putnam knew him, died from a gunshot to the chest last night shortly after 4 a.m.; he was killed on one of the mid-block stoops where he spent most nights for the past three decades. Kelly, who was profiled in this 2011 New York Times piece, was the self-appointed steward of the block. A 65-year-old homeless man who had struggled with drugs and had some brushes with the law, Kelly nonetheless had the implicit trust of everyone on the block. Many of us paid him a small monthly stipend to keep our stoops clean, make sure our recycling was sorted correctly and let us know if any suspicious characters had been lurking around our homes. Countless nights his crooning of Motown classics while he cleaned up the block was the last thing many of us heard before falling asleep. The block is on lock-down now and crawling with cops, but we haven’t heard any details. Was it one of the drug dealers from the corner or a tiff over something stupid that escalated out of control? Hopefully the police will figure it out. If you know anything, please give the 88th Precinct a call. RIP.


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