Andrew Cuomo Recalls His Final Words With Ed Koch

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

Former Mayor Ed Koch and Governor Andrew Cuomo have a long and colorful history, stretching all the way back to Mr. Koch’s initial mayoral election against Mario Cuomo, the current governor’s father, in a hotly-contested, occasionally bitter 1977 race that Mr. Koch ultimately won. Although Mr. Koch continued to tweak the younger Cuomo for years after–calling him a “schmuck” in his latest documentary, for example–the two became political allies on a number of issues during Mr. Cuomo’s political career and governorship. Earlier today, Mr. Cuomo described his final words with the late Mr. Koch and the inspiration he received from them.

“I talked to the mayor two days ago. He’s in the hospital. …. I said to him, ‘Mister Mayor, how are you feeling?’ [He replied,] ‘Stronger every day. Stronger every day.'” Mr. Cuomo recalled in a radio interview with New York Post columnist Fred Dicker. “To me, that’s the essence of Ed Koch. Stronger every day. Tomorrow’s going to be better. Optimism. Look forward. Don’t look back. You think the situation is bleak? Nah, we’re going to conquer. We’re going to win. We’re going to be better. Stronger every day. Now, he had to know where he was, right? ‘Stronger every day.’ How beautiful is that?”

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Reverend Al Sharpton Remembers How Ed Koch Led to His ‘First Arrest’

Reverend Al Sharpton (Photo: Getty)
Reverend Al Sharpton (Photo: Getty)

MSNBC host and civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton released a statement this morning reacting to former Mayor Ed Koch’s death. In his statement, Mr. Sharpton noted he eventually came to “understand Koch,” though he was initially a staunch critic of the mayor and received his “first arrest” protesting the Koch administration.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of former Mayor Ed Koch,” Mr. Sharpton began. “Throughout his twelve years of being mayor, I was one of his most vociferous critics. In fact, my first arrest was leading a sit-in on him about summer jobs for youth in 1978. We later united and worked together around the country in a national campaign for nonviolent drug offenders to give them a second chance in life, and we ended up getting to know and understand each other.” Continue reading “Reverend Al Sharpton Remembers How Ed Koch Led to His ‘First Arrest’”

Outspoken Former Mayor Ed Koch on His Life and the City He Left Behind

Ed Koch standing in his Midtown office on January 18. (Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)
Ed Koch standing in his Midtown office on January 18. (Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died earlier this morning at the age of 88 after being hospitalized for congestive heart disease. Mr. Koch served as the 105th Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1978 until 1989. With a larger-than-life personality, Mr. Koch relished a position that allowed him to become something of a national ambassador for New York City.

Though critics accused Mr. Koch of worsening racial tensions in the city and not doing enough to fight the AIDS crisis that was particularly devastating to the gay community, Mr. Koch was fiercely proud of  his legacy, specifically, what he saw as his efforts to save New York from the financial crisis of the late 1970’s, his vast expansion of public housing and programs and efforts he saw as bringing a more meritocratic approach to local government. Politicker conducted one of the final interviews with Mr. Koch on January 17, just two weeks before his death, and he characterized his administration as paving the way for his successors.

“I’m proud of what I did,” he said. “I also believe that both Giuliani and, particularly, Mike Bloomberg have made tremendous contributions to this city. … And I look upon what I did as laying the groundwork and the foundation on which they could build, and without what I did, they couldn’t have done what they did. So, I’m proud of my contributions.” Continue reading “Outspoken Former Mayor Ed Koch on His Life and the City He Left Behind”

Mayor Bloomberg and Aspiring Mayors Fondly Remember Ed Koch’s Legacy

(Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)
(Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)

At 2 a.m. this morning, former Mayor Ed Koch passed away due to congestive heart failure. He was 88, outspoken, and if you listen to some of New York City’s leading political figures, “an irrepressible icon,” “larger than life” and “part of the fabric of New York.”

“I’m expressing my condolences on behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, and I know so many of them will be keeping Mayor Koch and his family and friends in their thoughts prayers,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in a statement. “As we mourn Mayor Koch’s passing, the flags at all City buildings will be flying at half-staff in his memory.”

Mr. Bloomberg further reflected on the meaning of Mr. Koch’s passing and the footprint on the city the former mayor leaves behind. Continue reading “Mayor Bloomberg and Aspiring Mayors Fondly Remember Ed Koch’s Legacy”

Ed Koch Placed in Intensive Care

Ed Koch earlier this month. (Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)
Ed Koch earlier this month. (Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)

Earlier this afternoon, former Mayor Ed Koch was placed in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his spokesman George Arzt announced.

“Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, Mayor Koch’s cardiologist and lead doctor, said he wanted to monitor the former mayor more closely,” Mr. Arzt said in a statement.

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Koch Expected to Stay in Hospital For ‘A While’

(Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)
(Photo: Emily Anne Epstein)

When former Mayor Ed Koch went to the hospital earlier this month after suffering a buildup of fluid in his lungs and ankles due to congestive heart disease, he was out after eight days. Mr. Koch returned to New York Presbyterian on Monday and, according to his spokesman George Arzt, though the mayor’s condition has improved, this latest trip to the hospital may be a longer one.  Continue reading “Koch Expected to Stay in Hospital For ‘A While’”

How’s He Doing: Ed Koch Stays in Spotlight Despite Health Woes

(Photo: Emily Epstein)
Photo: Emily Anne Epstein

Editor’s Note: Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, has died. The New York Observer’s interview last week with the three-term mayor was among the last granted by Koch. It’s accompanied by photography that captured the over-sized spirit of a mayor who is credited with delivering New York from some of its darkest days.

Edward Koch, the outspoken 88-year-old ex-mayor, is in the hospital for the third time in the past five months, but he’s also in the place where he’s happiest—back in the spotlight. A new documentary, Koch, which tells the tale of his three terms in City Hall and his life after politics, arrives in theaters on Feb. 1.

Late last week, before swelling flared up in his ankles and fluid was found in his lungs again, Mr. Koch could be found in his Midtown office, surrounded by pictures from his days in city government, photos of his sister’s grandchildren—the closest thing the longtime bachelor has to a brood of his own—and other memorabilia. Though he has spent the past decade staying engaged in the political conversation by penning the occasional editorial, offering up endorsements and making regular appearances on NY1, Mr. Koch seemed well aware that health might soon force him to step back from the main stage. But on this day, he was as voluble as ever.

Continue reading “How’s He Doing: Ed Koch Stays in Spotlight Despite Health Woes”