I was saddened this morning to hear of the passing of Ed Koch. The former three-term mayor of NYC literally wove the fabric of NYC from his heartstrings.
As a reporter, I had the privilege of working alongside him as history was made in this great city, from the mundane steam pipe explosions to the political nitty gritty of major transit strikes. Whatever the challenge, Ed Koch met it head on and never flinched from it. He met each task with grace and solved each challenge with intelligence.
His personality was larger than life and that’s saying something for the man in charge of the Big Apple. He treated everyone with respect, from this reporter to homeless people caught in a quagmire of nothingness.
Mayor Koch and I did not socialize but knew each other professionally. Yet, when I was starting my own celebrity chat show on cable, I called on my friends and was happy to call on Ed Koch. I was even more honored when he said yes. Afterall, we all know there was no microphone Ed Koch ever shied away from.
I asked the Mayor when the history books were written what he wanted them to say about his administration. He was very proud of his reform of the judicial appointment system in New York City, replacing political patronage perks with a system of merit. The second thing he noted was that he left NYC in great fiscal shape.
On a personal level, he was heart-broken that many people of his beloved Big Apple turned against him politically. I recall egging him on at the end of our interview.
“Mr. Mayor, you seem to be the most beloved Mayor since Fiorello LaGuardia; this city needs you. Would you run again for office?”
“Well, thank you, he said with a smile. You’re very kind. But as I’ve said before, the people have spoken and now the people must pay.” We both laughed at that.
“How am I doin’?” he asked with a wink and a smile. Mayor Koch, you did just great!