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R.I.P. Mayor Ed Koch

by JeffStrate on February 1, 2013

Ed Koch was my mayor for 8 years – the span of my time in Manhattan.  Ed Koch died earlier today at New York Presbyterian Hospital.  Any politico hoping to lead a city or any mayor thinking of another term, must first study Ed Koch and then get real and return to private life.  They will not match up.

The NY Times has a front page. bold, in-your-face obit on Koch. Part of it reads:

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.

“I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers,” the mayor – eyebrows devilishly up, grinning wickedly at his own wit – enlightened the reporters at his $475 rent-controlled apartment in Greenwich Village on Inauguration Day in 1978. “Why? Because I say exactly what I think. I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.”

Here’s the rest of the story –…

I met and shook Ed Koch’s hand only twice; once in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn during its annual, May 17th parade celebrating Norway’s independence.  Conservative Bay Ridge still boasted a noticeable but dwindling population of people with family links to Norway. Koch was among the marching Luther Leaguers, merchant mariners and decorated pick up trucks with waving princesses.  I was among the pale complexioned, flag waving Norskis opposite the Lief Erickson Bar and Grill on 5th Avenue. I stepped onto the street and extended my hand.  The Mayor it turned out, was a Viking.  He crushed my right paw and grinned before moving on to other parts of the city.  

Ed Koch was 88. The funeral will be Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.

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