Politicians Remember Koch's Brashness And Honesty
Ed Koch was remembered by the city's leaders Friday, leaders whose careers he helped start or spent time squabbling with. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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The city's political class said it lost an icon Friday.
"It's a sad day for the city," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"From an elected official's point of view, he was a case study," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"His legacy will be how he lifted the spirits of the city, how he made us all laugh," said former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.
"Ed Koch was New York," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, whose district covers parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
His brashness and honesty were a welcome dose of reality for the city's political circles.
"I loved him in the best sense of the word," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, whose district covers Manhattan and Queens. "He was also fun to fight with. If you could disagree, man, he was quite an opponent."
To the city's leaders, it was that candor that made the former mayor so charming.
"Ed just said what came into his mind," Bloomberg said.
Those that are looking to follow in his footsteps all championed his legacy.
Sympathy and condolences also came from the White House.
"Ed Koch was an extraordinary mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "He took office at a time when New York was in fiscal crisis, and helped his city achieve economic renewal, expand affordable housing, and extend opportunity to more of its people.
It was that character that lingered for many on Friday.
"The real thing that he did was give us all a belief that New York was New York, and no matter how tough it was, we'd get through it," Bloomberg said.
Condolences came in from across the city, from political allies and rivals. Those that disagreed with Mayor Koch said they could never hold a grudge.
"I said, 'Ed you have been a great mayor, but you have to know when to hold and know when to fold,'" said Sen. Charles Schumer. "I thought he ought not run again. I thought it would be a rough race. He, of course, still ran. For a while, that caused a little bit of a rupture in our relationship, but we came back together and we remain good friends."
"I was with him. I was against him. And it was better to be with him," said Governor Cuomo.