Updated 02/04/2013 10:53 PM
City Bids Final Farewell To Former Mayor Koch
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Former Mayor Ed Koch was remembered Monday as the quintessential New Yorker at a Manhattan synagogue where hundreds gathered to pay their final respects.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the eulogy this morning at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side.
Former President Bill Clinton also spoke, along with some of Koch's relatives and friends, who fondly remembered the former mayor.
"Tough and loud, brash and irreverent, full of humor and chutzpah. He was our city's quintessential mayor," Bloomberg said.
"I sent him a note for his 88th birthday and he wrote me a nice letter back and he didn't, typically, mention his own illness. He asked about Hillary's health instead. He had a big brain but he had a bigger heart," Clinton recalled.
Those who spoke at the service garnered laughs from the audience when referencing vintage Koch stories — usually about how the veteran politician seemed genetically wired to say the most impolitic things.
"I was marching with him in a human rights parade. And marching with me was the counsel to the Chinese government. Out of the blue, Ed turned to him and said, 'If you would like to defect, I would help you,'" said Koch's deputy mayor, John LoCicero.
Koch, who aides say planned every detail of his funeral, was carried out at the end to the song "New York, New York."
The former mayor was laid to rest during a private ceremony Monday afternoon at Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights.
Despite his Jewish faith, Koch chose the non-denominational cemetery because it would allow him to be buried in Manhattan.
Bloomberg joked during the funeral service, "Just think about it. A Polish Jew in an Episcopal graveyard in a largely Dominican neighborhood. What could be more New York, or even more, Ed Koch."
Koch's headstone is engraved with the final words of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was killed by terrorists in 2002.
It reads, in part, "My father is Jewish, My mother is Jewish, I am Jewish."
Another portion of the inscription speaks of Koch's fierce love of the city and his military service in World War II.
The city's 105th mayor was also honored with a flyover by NYPD helicopters on Monday afternoon.
Koch died Friday morning of congestive heart failure at the age of 88.