Ed Koch, the three-term mayor who earned a reputation for being a combative, shrewd politician and helped steer the city through financial turmoil, has died. He was 88. Koch spokesman George Arzt confirmed that Koch died early Friday morning from congestive heart failure. A funeral is scheduled for Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Koch New York City's " irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion." Koch left City Hall in 1990. He was born in the Bronx on Dec. 12, 1924.
Over the years, Gotham Gazette has scrutinized his legacy and also talked with the man himself about his views on everything from, most recently, Indian Point nuclear power plant, to state redistricting. Here are a handful of highlights from our archives.
In 2005, former Daily News editor Michael Goodwin moderated a panel featuring journalist and novelist Pete Hamill; Stephen Berger, former director of the Emergency Financial Control Board; New York Times columnist Joyce Purnick; the Reverend Al Sharpton; and Victor Gotbaum, former executive director of the municipal workers union, District Council 37. The forum launched “New York City Comes Back: Ed Koch and the City,” an exhibition then on display at the Museum of the City of New York.
This excerpt from the book, Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City, by Jonathan Soffer (Columbia University Press), explores the thinking behind the Koch housing plan, the obstacles it encountered and the successes that made Mayor Michael Bloomberg look to it as a model some 15 years later.
In 2011, Koch began to voice his opposition to the Indian Point nuclear power plant, joining a growing chorus of environmental advocates and politicians calling fo it to be shut down. He argued that the aging nuclear plant posed a danger to the 8 million people who live 24 miles to the south in New York City – especially in the wake of what was learned from the Fukushima disaster.