Remembering Ed Koch

When I heard the news Friday morning that Ed Koch had died, I knew I would have to write about him.  He was more than just the 105th Mayor of New York City. His personality made him a true celebrity and he elevated his office to national prominence. He offered access to the media more than any of his predecessors or successors did. He also was more than just a politician.  He was a movie critic, writing a newspaper column and then hosting a weekly Web series called Mayor at the Movies. He also served as the judge for a time on the syndicated television show The People's Court.

He was comfortable with the media and had numerous appearances on movies and TV, my favorites being his fictional roles in the film City Hall and the sitcom Spin City. He made dozens and dozens of appearances as himself in everything from Saturday Night Live to The Muppets Take Manhattan. His larger than life personality was on display in everything he did. I remember meeting him briefly during my summer job during my university years and his friendly attitude really made an impression.

He had been in and out of the hospital a few times recently, but I always heard that he was "in good spirits." Last night, when the radio news announced that he was admitted into the intensive care unit, I heard no reports that he was cracking his usual jokes, just that he confessed that he was feeling "very tired," so right away I suspected the worst.  The news that he passed away, then, did not come as a complete surprise.  After 88 years, he has led an amazing life. He has a bridge named after him and there is a new documentary about him, called Koch, that coincidentally opens today.

Even though he couldn't solve all of New York's problems, he did help turn my city around for the better. It was refreshing to hear his candid expressions of what he believed (he once said, "If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me; if you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist") and his wish for personal privacy always earned my respect.  He will be missed. May he rest in peace.

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