Ed Koch was a NY institution for better or worse. He was a long time Greenwhich Village resident, a hurricane of a mayor part arrogance part humanist. He rose from being a local councilman to the Mayor of the Rotten Apple. His stance on Aids, crime in particular quality of life crimes and his relationship with the Black community of NY were always awkward. Not sure if I agreed with him most of the time but I did respect his accessibility, his sense of humor and his NYness of that makes sense. He kept his sexuality a shroud of secrecy ( Was he gay?), he was abrasive and coveted the limelight in a unusual way with a on going love hate relationship with the press. I once debated him on education on 8th street while all of 13 years old, asking him why I was marked absent from school during the transit strike when I had no way to get to school.
The mere fact that he debated a 13 year old in front of a small crowd of on lookers while he was the Mayor of New York was endearing. His policies were not always. Ultimately his relationship with Donald Manes and his clashes with people of color were his downfall and his angle on the Micheal Stewart and Yusef Hawkisn debacles were just deplorable. He was finally ousted in 1989 by David Dinkins the most un-effective Mayor in the history of New York City. So much for change right?
Edward Koch was a force to be reckoned with, a political icon to say the least and whether you agreed with him or not you had to respect the man, he put in work. He is partially to blame for the cultural ruin of New York City ridding the transit system of Graffiti, allowing cops to commit countless acts of violence upon the city’s tax paying citizens ( Remember Jose Biaz?) opening the doors for gentrification and the eventual strip malling of New York.
For all of this good and bad I still say I enjoyed the man’s presence in this great city.
We lost a real NYer today!