Manayunk: A Rare Murder?

A pedestrian strolls down main street.
A pedestrian strolls down Main Street.

Manayunk’s pristine, almost idyllic setting is a rare place for a suspicious death, which is why many residents were shocked after hearing about the death of Ellen Rae Greenberg.

Greenberg, a 27-year-old teacher at Juniata Park Academy on 801 E. Hunting Park Ave., was discovered fatally stabbed in the chest at her Venice Loft Condominium on Flat Rock Road, where Greenberg and her fiance resided.

Medical examiners have ruled Greenberg’s death as a homicide while investigators have yet to refute their suspicions of suicide–though what led them to believe that is still unknown.

“Homicide investigators are considering the manner of death as suspicious at this time,” said a statement from the Police Department.

Greenberg’s death has frightened some residents in a community known for its safety, steep hills and trendy restaurants. Manayunk has the lowest homicide rate in the city.

Matty Runks, a 30-year-old tattoo artist at Kadillac Tattoos off Main Street, still feels safe in the neighborhood but can’t recall the last time he heard about a potentially violent homicide, “It’s a pretty safe neighborhood,” Runks said. “I live in South Philly, but I feel much safer working in Manayunk than I do living there.”

Friends chat outside a local cafe.

The condominium complex where Greenberg’s body was discovered has ramped up security recently because of an onslaught of reporters entering the area, but the property manager has yet to comment on the possibility of a suspect being captured on its 24-hour surveillance system. Security guards at the location circle the property. When asked questions about Greenberg’s death, a security guard on duty said he could not comment.

Juniata Park Academy, where Greenberg was employed for four years before her death, issued a statement claiming she was a well-respected teacher and that she will be greatly missed.

A website memorializing the life of Greenberg has been created by family and friends. Pamela Miller of Fort Lee, N.J., writes, “We are so terribly sorry to hear about Ellen and this terrible tragedy. Please know all of our thoughts are with you.

Man strolls through Manayunk.

Paul Wagner, 49, won’t let the incident stop him from living his life because he feels that women are more vulnerable to violent crimes, “I’m not a female and I’m not a feminine person,” Wagner said, implying that if Greenberg was indeed murdered, it may have been similar to the recent Kensington homicides.

“I’m not worried about my safety.”

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