Monday, December 22, 2014

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NYer Of The Week: Mayor Ed Koch Spent A Lifetime Fighting For NYC

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He was born in the Bronx and spent a lifetime fighting for New York City, so as Ed Koch passes from the scene, who else to honor as our New Yorker of the Week? NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.

In his own words, inscribed on his tombstone, Ed Koch "fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people."

"There are lots of people in public office who don't like people, who walk away from crowds when they are campaigning 'cause they just don't like it," he once said.

Koch loved it. The native New Yorker embraced his opportunity to make a difference in his hometown. His love of city and country never wavered.

"America is such an extraordinary country," he said. "Figuratively, I kiss the ground every day for all that it his given me, and I want to give something back, and I'll always have that feeling. And I think I have given something back, but it's never enough."

In his view, one of his greatest gifts to the city came after the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, and it had nothing to do with budgets or federal funding.

"I gave the people of New York City back their spirit," he said. "They were so ashamed of being New Yorkers because we were beggars and asking for so much help. I gave them back their spirit, their feistiness."

It was a feisty spirit that never left the three-term mayor.

In life, Koch never moved to the suburbs, because he said that's "wasting your life.'' In death, Koch chose to be buried in Manhattan, because, his words, again: "The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing.''

Spoken like a quintessential New Yorker.

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