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Former Mayor Ed Koch passed away earlier this morning at the age of 88. The Bronx-born former three-term mayor is credited with steering New York City out of the financial crisis in the late 1970s. He was combative at times, endearing at others, and always opinionated.
How will you remember Ed Koch? What did he mean for New York City? What story or moment with Koch is the most memorable for you?
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I remember when I first arrived in New York as a young girl John Lindsey was mayor, and then Ed Koch, and I remember being disappointed that Ed Koch was not as handsome as John Lindsey. It was snowing heavily, and I really wasn't thinking of mayors, but I remember Koch at that time clearly. But I loved Ed Koch! He was an authentic human being besides being brilliant, and I loved his integrity, that he was not politically correct. He didn't speak in euphemisms, and he was very funny and to the point. I've attached a scene of New York at that time from my prose memoir, Sugaring Off, about a young girl's adventures in New York, that currently appears in Hotel Amerika, a cutting edge literary magazine out of Chicago. It's called "Candle Dip Day" about the heat wave. Son of Sam was on the loose. It brings back memories of Koch that summer. I am so sorry for his death. I didn't personally know him, but I miss him!
Others may hold the office, but Ed Koch will always be the mayor of New York.
I actually used it as a valuable NYC lesson in class.
My students and I have driven over the bridge named after him.
They were saddened to hear of his passing.
I will remember him as the mayor who saved this city. The people's mayor.
May he rest in peace.
The passing of former Mayor Ed Koch is truly very sad news. During his distinguished career as a Congressman and Mayor,he always had a very upbeat ,candid attitude with everyone. He always spoke his mind,and even if you did not agree with him,you had to respect him. He took no guff from anyone. He certainly was a very important part of New York City's political history,and he will be sorely missed. In my opinion,the mayor did just great!
Mayor Koch was the most honest politician of my lifetime. He was always professional , cordial and funny. His personality was of a kind ,caring, funny human being. " How am I doing?" Will be his favorite lasting comment
Jessica. Arden Heights.
I remember seeing Ed Koch with Bess Myerson many years ago. After his term as mayor ,I would see him around the village, at movie theatre with a gang of friends, and eating out at local restaurants. He certainly knew how to enjoy his life.
Rosalie from Canarsie.
I'll remember Koch as a good mayor for most of his first term, when he was needed -- but also as the mayor who ran opposing Westway, and then turned around to embrace Westway; and, in that connection, as the mayor who sold out the populace to the real estate interests, when it came time to run for his second term; as the mayor who SWORE up and down he would never run for any other job when he sought re-election in 1981, and then turned right around and announced he was running for governor (a race that -- thankfully for the state -- he lost in the primary); and, finally, as the mayor who just skated past the scandals involving his appointees in his second and third terms.
Good riddance to the Mouth That Roared, I say.
And it's to NY1's discredit that they gave him a platform most weeks over the last few years on Tuesday nights. Given that he was rejected by his own party twice, once in that race for governor and then in his run for a fourth term, it was ridiculous -- seeing him on your show was like dealing with a really stubborn strain of VD that just wouldn't leave the body, no matter how many anti-biotics one tries.
Upper West Side
I will remember him all the many times I've seen him at St. Patrick's Cathedral when I was a volunteer there. He was an "Honorary Catholic" (said Cardinal O'Connor)! And all the times we'd run into him on 6th Ave. when he used to go to his law office. Never needed an entourage like other mayors did/do!
We'll all miss him!
Dina and Ed of Throggs Neck
I guess I was a Koch baby; I was born the year Ed Koch was elected mayor. He was the first politician I ever knew. To me, Koch was New York City like yellow cabs and the ‘86 Mets. Koch was New York like pigeons, pretzels and pizza. As ubiquitous as the old school blue-and-white paper coffee cup, emblazoned with “We Are Happy To Serve You.” Koch was as New York as a Times Square saxophone and subway steam. He was an inimitable icon who dedicated his life to service and led our city through some very dark days – blemishes, faults, shortcomings and all. It wasn’t all peaches and cream: his three terms in office were also marked by the rise in HIV and AIDS, racial tumult, homelessness and high crime. But Koch was never one to back down from a fight and he always did what he felt was right. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family today.
I think he was one of the biggest crooks the city had, in his last term of mayor 90% of his cabinet was either indicted or prosecuted, he represented one of the biggest dinosaurs of N.Y.C pay to play politician, I also believe he was a closet gay man, which is his prerogative. He was the most influential comical Mayors this city had. So long Koch, go in peace to the purdue farm where u will find all your bird like friends.
Dex from Queens
Former Mayor Ed Koch is fondly remembered for his independence and non-partisan attributes. He speaks his mind and never minces his word. I had the privilege of meeting him once and became an admirer. A true wise-guy, not only because of the weekly show he appears on NY 1 news, but because throughout his political life has demonstrated great courage, independence and savvy in his political pronouncements and analysis. No doubt, he is now immortalized in Ed Koch Queensboro Br. Rest in Peace, Mayor Koch.
George, LeFrak City
Ed Koch was the first person I ever voted for in NYC..I had moved from Philadelphia in 1973 just out of high school to study theatre and at some point registered to vote in New York and the 1977 mayoral race was my first election..I know that Mayor Koch changed the city in so many positive ways..he put NYC back on the map again and restored it once again as the greatest city in the world! I think the" I love NY" theme and the song's New York, New York , Native New Yorker and New York State of Mind all became popular in the late 70's ....I'll always remember the "How my doing" phase he always asked!
With his passing brings so many memories of a different time....when he became Mayor he brought back a pride to this city and during his years as mayor I fell in love with this city and became a New Yorker...While I didn't agree with everything he did, I feel he will definitely go down in history was one of our truly greatest mayors, he left his mark, he made a difference!
South Street Seaport
I will remember Mayor Koch for his humor and flamboyant ways, and although the city faced many obstacles during his tenure, his positive attitude did help in the city's recovery and to maintain its stature as the "big apple".
Felix Bay Ridge
I remember being at Ed Koch's inauguration. He started the revival of the city.
My first encounter with Ed Koch is when he was our Congressman on the Lower East Side. The row of buildings behind ours had been torn down, but the rubble and glass were never removed. On top of that, private trash companies were dumping garbage there. The area was a magnet for kids, which worried the whole neighborhood. We appealed to many city officials to fix the situation, but they did nothing. It was Ed Koch who got the area cleaned up and fenced off and warnings posted about no dumping. The community was able to plant a garden there.
Later, I remember with admiration his reluctance to give up his apartment to move to Gracie Mansion and the many times I'd run into him walking around Greenwich Village. He never had a big entourage like other city officials; it was just him by himself or with a friend. And he never put on airs; he would greet people neighbor to neighbor.
I disagreed with him many many times, but I always respected him as a person of integrity. He never hid what he thought; you always knew exactly where you stood with him.
Lots of people are saying, "Rest in peace." I'd prefer to say, "Rest in contentiousness." I don't think he'd have it any other way.
... he remarked that the Twin Towers should be rebuilt, but "It's not going to happen." Unfortunately, so far, he is right.
Port Richmond, SI
I never met him but I feel so sad, as if I lost a family member. He was irrepressible, doing the best he could and fearless in asking, "How'm I doing?" He wanted to know.
The passing of Ed Koch: My parent's generation had LaGuardia. My generation had Koch. A mayor of the people and for the people, unlike the elitist "star" mayor, uncomfortable when he's anywhere near the public that this generation had to endure for 12 years. Rest in peace Ed Koch.
A few years ago, at my urging, my brother, who works at Bloomberg, arranged for Ed Koch to read his children's book "Harold: Eddie's Little Brother" to my Library students at PS41 in Greenwich Village. We were all pretty excited as Mayor Koch sat down in front of the kids and started to read. After a few pages, scowling, he stopped and said he didn't want to finish reading. He said, "Let them read it themselves," but I informed him that it was customary for a guest reader to FINISH THE BOOK! He did, and then, when done, he refused to stay for the cookies and juice we had. Oy! Ed Koch!
I came of age in NYC during his term as Mayor.
I remember his optimism; he was fun, and I think his spirit and spunk really rubbed off on New Yorkers during that time.
Though he was a powerful man and a force to be reckoned with, he was also a very real
person, who was kind and very approachable.
I am very saddened by his death.
R.I.P. Mayor Koch.
Ed Koch was one of the greatest Mayor's the City has ever had and was the most down to earth, just to share a story with you........in the early 80s I was the Advance person to the Mayor and he was slated to meet the Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi at the Carlyle Hotel. I got to the Carlyle about 45 minutes before the Mayor to make sure everything was set up and the Prime Minister came out and said "so nice of you to be here" and invited me to sit down to have tea with her. I told her that I couldn't do that because it was the Mayor's meeting with her not mine. When the Mayor arrived the Prime Minister shared the fact that she had invited me to sit and have tea with her and the Mayor turned to me and said "Jim you could have sat down and had tea with her". It really would have been ok with him.
I went up to Gracie Mansion this afternoon to pay tribute to my Ma-ya but no one was there.
The last time I was at Gracie Mansion I was about 16 years old in 1988 and was sitting in the kitchen of the mayor's house looking after two young girls belonging to volunteers of the Mansion's events planning. As I called out "don't eat all the mayor's chocolate chip cookies" the man himself walked in with staff and one of the aides asked what I was reading about in the NYT. I replied the article was about AIDS but at the time didn't realize the significance of my response ...
What makes me a New Yorker is that I was born at NYU hospital and that I grew up in 1970s Manhattan with Ed Koch as our mayor.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned in all the retrospective on Mayor Koch's legacy is that it was under his administration that the City's Recycling program started. Also he took the bold step in a December 1987 live radio show of challenging McDonald's to eliminate the use of Styrofoam in their packaging (remember the McDLT commercials: "keep the hot hot and the cold cold") and just weeks later signed an Executive Order banning the use of Styrofoam in City Agencies. He convinced the Board of Education, then under State control, to follow his lead, and foam school cafeteria trays were replaced with paper. Unfortunately, Mayor Koch was never able to pass the bans into law through the City Council and the Executive Order expired at the end of his term and was not re-instated by the next mayor (and foam products were reintroduced). Mayor Koch had a lot of his characteristic Chutzpah in taking on the plastics industry for the sake of the environment and he should also be remembered for that.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Koch when he was visiting a judge who was a patient on the floor when I worked at Columbia Presbyterian about 18 years ago. I remember being struck by how tall he was! He was so lovely, and so funny! Just a real charming New Yorker. Quite a character he was! I was so sorry to hear of his passing. He will be fondly remembered by me, and I’m sure many, many fellow New Yorkers.
We are all saddened this day. Ed Koch was truly deserves the title Mayor of Mayors of the City of New York.
Jackson Heights, Queens
I had the honor of working in the NYC Mayor's Office of Operations during the last 5 years of the Koch mayoralty. As Ruth Messinger said on NY1 earlier, he picked brilliant people for leadership positions. They were also collegial, easy to work with, and nice.
Bravo to Ed!
Jim, Turtle Bay
Notwithstanding my sincerest condolences on his passing and great respect for most of his legacy, his inaction during the AIDS crisis, for whatever reasons, is a stain on that legacy. Rest in Peace!
Mayor koch was one of the most pleasant mayors this city ever had.I had the pleasure of meeting the mayor in whitestone park.
I will always remember the mayor for his pleasant personality and he really loved this city and it showed!
Former Mayor Koch has left us and has serve our great city well. In fact I think we are much better off to of had former Mayor Koch who was around when most needed. I think when Koch gets to heaven he might say to God," How am I doing."! I think the answer would be," You'll done well.
He was a REAL New York mayor. If you walked up to him and said, "Hi Mr. Mayor", he'd smile and shake your hand and talk to you. He actually cared not only for New York but ALL New Yorkers. Our last two mayors would rather die than spend 1 second with an everyday run of the mill New Yorker. He was New York.
Norm Upper East side
6 months after I first moved in to NYC from Japan in 1989, mayor left the city hall.
My first boyfriend back then didn't know how to pronounce mayor's name correct and kept telling me "Mayor Coach was great"
"If Mayor Coach was still our Mayor..." almost everyday.
Ever since Mayor Koch is "Mayor Coach" in my brain.
24 years has passed and now I still think about him every time I pass by COACH store in the city.
We'll all miss you mister Mayor.
I owned and operated my own medallion cab during THE Mayor's terms in office. I also had a bully pulpit in a monthly trade publication, where I relentlessly criticized him for his taxi and other transportation policies. I often referred to him as "Mr. Ed".
After he left office however, I grew to truly admire the man. Easily the most honorable politician ever to hold the mayoralty. Never afraid to speak his mind. Even when he didn't get it right. The man had chutzpah!
New York would do well if more of us thought and acted the way he did. None before him or since are worthy of the moniker Hizzoner. I am deeply saddened by his passing.
I LOVED MAYOR KOCH, HE TRULY LOVED NEW YORK, HE WAS HONEST, FUNNY, AND GENUINE, HE WAS ONE OF A KIND AND HE WILL BE MISSED, REST IN PEACE HIZZONER :)
CARMEN, BAY RIDGE
I remember during a drought when I was a kid in Brooklyn, Mayor Koch told everyone, "If it's yellow. it's mellow. If it's brown flush it down." I never forgot that.
Aside from being a crotchety SOB and cross-eyed wrong on Presidential politics in the new millennium (he endorsed Bush and Obama?), I'll say this for that old crotchety SOB -- Mayor Koch was the only person who could beat Alan Dershowitz in an argument.
I was born in the 70's on Long Island so my memory of Ed Koch as Mayor is foggy. But I always remember him being an active New Yorker. I loved watching him as one of the wise guys on NY1. He had a super sharp mind and a fantastic sense of humor. I keep thinking of a video snippet from NY1 of him calling out, "Welcome to my bridge! Welcome to my bridge!"
Mayor Koch's bridge is arguably the toughest mile+ of the NYC Marathon. I will dedicate that mile to him in my training runs over the bridge this year and November 3, 2013 when I run the marathon.
I was a Queens County resident when Mayor Koch ran for mayor. I voted for him. My brother, Freddy, God rest his soul, was a volunteer at Lincoln Hospital and he applied for a job there. After having put multiple employment applications and having taken and passing a civil service test for mortuary assistant and not getting a response, he wrote to Mayor Koch, who looked into the situation and weeks later, my brother got the job. Another time, my family were having a financial crisis in which we were struggling to meet our gas bill payments to National Grid, then called Brooklyn Union Gas. We wrote to Mayor Koch and he got them to cut us a break. He was truly the people's mayor and he will be sorely missed.
East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Mayor Bloomberg should learn from Ed Koch, the real mayor for New Yorkers.
GOD BLESS YOU MAYOR KOCH AND MAY YOU REST IN PEACE
Mayor Koch set the tone for my civil service career, by starting the Urban Park Rangers in 1979, when 100 of us formed that first class, which included former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. In 2004, Mayor Koch attended our 25th Urban Park Ranger reunion at the Central Park Boathouse, making for a special and memorable evening, in which he provided photo ops.
I remember when Ed Koch was running for his second term and some reporter questioned how much he really wanted the job. Koch's reply: "I would swim through slime to be Mayor."
I wasn't alive in the 80s, but I remember seeing him as a child ten years ago in the documentary film, "The Center of the World" by Ric Burns when he talked about his thoughts on 9/11. Koch's comments were very moving and I saw a unique, sympathetic and emotional personality in him amidst all his famous abrasive ways. He actually, believe it or not, had a soft side. A few years later, a message was left on our machine that was Koch's voice. I'm not sure if it was really him or a voicemail, but nonetheless, that was some experience even though I don't remember what the message was about. I'll never forget seeing him a few times on "Road to City Hall." He had a unique personality and thats what made him such a charismatic and charming leader and he was the hope of New York in tough times. I will truly miss seeing him on television and in the media. R.I.P.
Matthew, Woodside, Queens
I was married to a sport photographer in the 1980's and would get invited to events from time to time. There was an party for the Mets on the far west side and I was running late. Wearing a very short skirt and very high heels, I was striding along at a furious clip. A tall man, waiting out front for his car, called out, "I love your New York City strut!" I laughed and kept going. I realized a minute later that man was Mayor Koch!
The City has suffered a loss and I will miss his physical presence on your show!
In the mid 1990's I had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Koch as he exited a movie house at 3rd and East 11 Street. He was gracious and even chatted about the movie he had seen!
God bless him and I will go and "visit him"!!!!
Michelle in Crown Heights
I do know that everything was not okay and so I would rather not say anything negative. The only thing is that he did hand the city over to the landlords. That I and many of my friends and family at the time were not to pleased and we are still paying high rents until this day. It’s as though a rubber stamp was put on it.
That’s why I will just leave it at that.
You and Earl did a nice job in the interview and it was an honest and classy one by both.
A 1981 letter from mayor Edward I Koch:
December 9, 1981
Dear Kenny, there's always time to thank people like you for their wonderful letters. I deeply appreciated yours and am glad that you love your city, your school and your lunch. If I were you, I should feel the same way.
All the best,
Kenny from Greenwich village