Friday, February 1, 2013

Rest in peace, Mayor Koch


From the NY Times:

Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.

Mr. Koch’s spokesman, George Arzt, said the former mayor died at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure. He was being treated at New York-Presbyterian Columbia Hospital.

Mr. Koch had experienced coronary and other medical problems since leaving office in 1989. But he had been in relatively good health despite — or perhaps because of — his whirlwind life as a television judge, radio talk-show host, author, law partner, newspaper columnist, movie reviewer, professor, commercial pitchman and political gadfly.

Ebullient, flitting from broadcast studios to luncheon meetings and speaking engagements, popping up at show openings and news conferences, wherever the microphones were live and the cameras rolling, Mr. Koch, in his life after politics, seemed for all the world like the old campaigner, running flat out.

Only his bouts of illness slowed Mr. Koch down, most recently forcing him to miss the premiere of “Koch,” a documentary biographical film that opens on Friday in theaters nationwide.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg praised Mr. Koch as “an irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion,” calling him “a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend.”

Mr. Koch’s 12-year mayoralty encompassed the fiscal austerity of the late 1970s and the racial conflicts and municipal corruption scandals of the 1980s, an era of almost continuous discord that found Mr. Koch at the vortex of a maelstrom day after day.

But out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.


For an interesting interview/history lesson, view the NY Times video, "Last Word"

29 comments:

Al C said...

Rest In Peace, Mr. Mayor

The best guest judge on People's Court.

Someone who attempted to relate to New Yorkers.

Missing Foundation said...

Two observations:

1. he was the quintessential 20th century Nrew Yorker. Indeed it could have been the Age of Koch.

2. however, like our current generation of self-indulgent political class (like harpy Quinn or our great father Bloomberg) he became arrogant and overbearing - who cares if Queens did not want our bridge named for him - we are little people and he is a big shot - so he instead of the Age of Koch, he just became the preamble for the Age of Sun King Bloomberg.

Sad.

Koch could have been a great man.

Anonymous said...

I advise all QC participants and readers to buy the out of print book "City For Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York" written by Wayne Barrett and Jack Newfield on Amazon or go find it at the library.

I was between the ages of 6 and 18 when Koch was Mayor. I was in high school when Manes committed "suicide" and all of the scandals broke out that ultimately reorganized the entire city government and (correctly) removed most of the powers from the Borough President's offices.

None of this was done in a vaccuum. There was a tremendous abuse of power by Koch and all of the people surrounding him at the top levels, as well as a culture of wide-spread corruption throughout the city government that makes what happens today seem petty and amateurish by comparison.

Read the book and you can come to your own conclusions.

Paul Graziano


Anonymous said...

ditto ,Paul.....i challenged Koch many times in the 1980's, to reverse his administration's vendetta on N.E.Queens. specifically with the then Bd. of Ed and city/real estate land grabs.

my comments on P.S.130 Q and the attempt to steal 25,000 sq.ft. of playground,park space has been documented on Q.C.

our group was ever vigilant and a thorn in his administration.

thanks for enabling me to remind this generation of the theft attempted in the past , by the nyc dem. machine.

R.I.P., if you can , Ed.? the political crime was all around you, but you never knew.

Anonymous said...

Koch's record as mayor was a mixed one. He rescued the city from the mismanaged tenures of Mayors Beame and Lindsay and the economy grew tremendously during his watch. However, crime was stubbornly high during his terms in office and the corruption scandals in his 3rd term downgraded his mayoralty from great to pretty good.

His greatest post-mayoralty achievement was endorsing and supporting Giuliani for Mayor which ushered in record low in crime and a higher quality (but more expensive) of life.

RIP Mr. Mayor. You will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Another reason for term limits. He should have been mayor for only two terms.

Sandy Hamilton said...

"How am I doing" , will be remembered by all. After leaving office he was still followed by the press. No matter what, he loved NYC. Rest in Peace Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the guy is dead. Let him be. He wasn't the best for Queens but he wasn't the worst.

After a decent amount of respectful time the city council should re-re-name the 59th street bridge and re-name the Manhattan bridge the Ed Koch Bridge. After all they took the Tri-Boro, which to me is a Queens bridge, and re-named it for RFK and then they took the Queensborough and renamed it for Eddie.

Even a better idea. They should name the bridge that goes to Rikers Island the Ed Koch bridge since many of his buddies called it home for a while.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...Koch supported Giuliani, who as the Federal attorney in charge at the time brought down his entire administration - Giuliani, who then had horrendous corruption in HIS administration and would have been seen as one of the worst NYC Mayors EVER if he hadn't become "America's Mayor" after 9/11. And that bloom has definitely faded, as well.

Koch's true legacy was to keep himself politically influential through the decades afrer his adminstration's downfall through the collective amnesia of the voters of this city.

Anonymous said...

He always described himself as a "liberal with sanity". We will never see his kind again I fear.

Anonymous said...

read the book "City for Sale" and compare the number of city officials ,charged,indicted ,convicted and jailed ,during the Koch Administrations Vs. Rudy's.

during Koch ,many commissioners resigned under investigative probes also.see Comm.Terrence Moan,nyc dept. of real property.he quit to save his ass.the probe ended.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that Giuliani built his entire political career on his prosecution of the corruption that occurred during the Koch administration, and then ended up having an enormous amount of it in his own.

Some of the Giuliani administration's corruption includes:

- His support of patronage for the "Liberal" Party that Ray Harding and his family ran, which ended up being a huge political disaster for him. And ultimately destroyed that political party - or political family mafia, which was more like - as well.

- A "good Catholic" who cheated on his wife and his embarassing behavior around that.

- The collapse of the Department of Buildings after the creation of self-certification, which was supposed to remove the ability of to bribe inspectors and did nothing of the sort. 3 Borough Commissioners went to jail and scores of DOB personnel resigned, retired or were indicted.

- Bernard Kerik. 'Nuff said.

- And locally, the almost-disaster at Fort Totten, which anyone who remembers almost got sold off by Giuliani to his alma mater, St. John's, instead of being turned into a park and historic district open to the public.

The list goes on and on. As I said, we expected better of him and instead he turned into the person - Koch - that he brought down in the first place: a grandiose, falsely self-righteous, somewhat twisted, morally ambiguous unpleasant man.

And frankly, we deserve better than any of them.

Anonymous said...

"...almost got sold off by Giuliani to his alma mater, St. John's,..."

Uh, get your facts straight before blathering. Rudy went to Manhattan College for his bachelors degree and then earned his law degree from NYU.

Anonymous said...

The Cuomos attended St. John's.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Just because someone is gone, is no reason to go completely overboard--waxing nostalgic about them, beyond all reason.

It's nice to remember the good, and its good to forget their foibles.

What they were in life follows them afterwards.

I will say this about Ed Koch--he was a far better mayor than Bloomberg pretends to be.

Koch was a quintessential New Yorker--savvy and shrewd and warm--laced with a degree of larceny.

That might be what it takes to survive in our city--certainly in the political arena.

We've all done our own share of regrettable things,
if it comes to that.

I will not, however, deny Koch's questionable ties to Donald Manes, etc. This cannot be erased with sugary platitudes.

Yet here we are, and so be it. Rest in peace Ed Koch.
I guess you did what you thought was best for NYC.

I had met mayor Koch at Gracie Mansion and later at Community board 7. I always admired his tough cheerleader style, whatever else he might have done.

I had to put down "City For Sale" at one point. Reading about Koch's administration became depressing and disheartening.

As Mr. Graziano has noted, read the book, then decide what kind of mayor Ed Koch was for yourselves.

Anonymous said...

"a liberal with sanity".

Oxymoron. If he was sane he would not have had the mental disorder known as liberalism.

Sandy Hamilton said...

Lindsey, Beame and Dinkins were thke worst NYC had.

Anonymous said...

My responses in parantheses:

"Some of the Giuliani administration's corruption includes:

- His support of patronage for the "Liberal" Party that Ray Harding and his family ran, which ended up being a huge political disaster for him. And ultimately destroyed that political party - or political family mafia, which was more like - as well. (Hooray- destruction of the Liberal Party was a good thing! - WFP assumed its place. Harding the younger was nuts and parking him at HHC was not enough to hide him there. Rudy paid the price for the endorsment)

- A "good Catholic" who cheated on his wife and his embarassing behavior around that. (Yes, moral failing, but it's not corrupton in govt)

- The collapse of the Department of Buildings after the creation of self-certification, which was supposed to remove the ability of to bribe inspectors and did nothing of the sort. 3 Borough Commissioners went to jail and scores of DOB personnel resigned, retired or were indicted. (DOB is a huge mess- homeowner cant get a permit to do anything without expending huge sums of money- hence, the reason for bribes at DOB. It has been this way for decades)

- Bernard Kerik. 'Nuff said. (convicted after office, not during but does not exonerate Rudy. This is a bad one.)

- And locally, the almost-disaster at Fort Totten, which anyone who remembers almost got sold off by Giuliani to his alma mater, St. John's, instead of being turned into a park and historic district open to the public." (Rudy had no ties to St John's. I should know- I attended the school. They love the cuomos)

Anonymous said...

"The collapse of the Department of Buildings after the creation of self-certification, which was supposed to remove the ability of to bribe inspectors and did nothing of the sort..."

Self-certification was created to speed up the permit process and remove the need for architects/engineers from taking a trip to the dreaded DOB and beg Plan Examiners to approve their plans. It was also intended to reduce the use of expediters.
It's actually working but DOB still sucks b/c it makes it very expensive to pull a permit to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Anon. No. 16:

Ah, yes. Fringe right-wing cliche no. 10.

Of course, guys like Ted Nugent, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage Weiner have all of their oars in the water.

sirbeef said...

While he was a better mayor than the preceding three mayors, the city during his entire reign was an open sewer.
That is all.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 18:

Convicted after Rudy left office, true, but wasn't he indicted for what he did while he was in office? I might be wrong here..

Anonymous said...

He closed P.S 130 in 1981 and we got it reopened in 1987.it costs $38.00 per pupil /day for a yellow bus ride. 400 (k-6) local (across the street)pupils were bused away.

350 (k-3) pupils are bused in from over 10 miles away in Flushing ,Main Street and Queens areas.

you are paying $38.00 X 750 bus rides per day ,for 180 school days. from 1987 to 2013 (26 years).

the original 400 used to walk to school ...FOR NO COST TO YOU,THE TAXPAYER.

thank Ed. and Frank Macchiarolla ,Chancellor, deceased, last year.

WHATS IN YOUR WALLET ?

Liman said...

Yeah, he was a liberal Democrat. With a strong practical streak... you don't see that much. And he absolutely loved New York. A good man. We're better for having had him as mayor. I miss him already. I wonder what he thought of Little Lord Bloomberg.

Helen said...

I love Mayor Koch. May he Rest in Peace.





Hizzoner's first run for Mayor exposed the nastiness of the Cuomos.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 23:

What's in your head, aside from your ongoing obsession about students being bussed to school?

Anonymous said...

$133,380,000.00 (26years) for school busing at one elementary school P.S.130 Q in Auburndale /Bayside. when the kids could have walked to their schools ? thanks Ed. & Frank
it was reported this week that you pay for over 140,000 yellow school bus rides each day.$38.00 x140,000 =$5,320.00/per/pupil/day X 180days=$957,000.00.

how many could walk to school for NO COST TO THE TAXPAYER?

Anonymous said...

"The collapse of the Department of Buildings after the creation of self-certification, which was supposed to remove the ability of to bribe inspectors and did nothing of the sort..."

Self-certification was created to speed up the permit process and remove the need for architects/engineers from taking a trip to the dreaded DOB and beg Plan Examiners to approve their plans. It was also intended to reduce the use of expediters.
It's actually working but DOB still sucks b/c it makes it very expensive to pull a permit to do anything.


As a reporter/associate editor for one of the local weeklies back in the early 90s, I was at the meeting where Giuliani's DOB Commissioner, Joel Miele, told a crowd of architects and developers that, far from what was being told to the public at the time - that 20% of all self-certified plans would be randomly audited - hardly any would be, particularly in Queens.

The quote was "Not to worry, boys...we're only going to look at buildings with 16 units or more."

That meant that most of the illegal designs in large areas of Queens would never be examined and the self-certifiers would be off the hook if anything was done illegally. And that's exactly what happened for the next decade and then some.

Paul Graziano

Anonymous said...

I am a Ny'er and owned my own NYC Yellow Taxi since 1982....one winter day is around '86 I belive...I had a flat...and it was snowing 6 inches or more late in the afternoon cold..their I was ...rush hour onthe FDR...doing my thing....who pulls over lights on and all....cops NO it was the Mayor...he gets out hands me a hot coffe from a nyc deli with his dougnuts... parks rights behind me and asks his goons to help...10 minutes later I was on my way...

THIS IS FROM A MAYOR WHO HAD NO FRIENDS IN THE TAXI INDURSTY!

He chatted me up, and let me tell you its true he was a reguler guy who didn't forget..