Learn more about Ed Koch
|Born|| December 12, 1924|
Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Edward Irving Koch (born December 12, 1924; pronounced to rhyme with scotch) was a United States Representative from 1969 to 1977 and the Mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989. He was the second Jewish mayor of New York.
 Early life
Ed Koch was born to a Jewish family in Morrisania, in the Bronx. His father worked as a furrier. During the Great Depression, sales of fur coats and other luxury goods sharply declined, and the family moved from New York City to Newark, New Jersey He graduated from Newark's South Side High School in 1941. (The school is now called Malcolm X Shabazz High School). His mother, Joyce, died of cancer at a relatively young age. Koch attended City College of New York from 1941 to 1943. He was drafted into the United States Army where he served as an infantryman with the U.S. 104th Infantry Division, landing in Cherbourg, France in September 1944. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. In that year, Koch began attending the New York University School of Law; that summer he also worked as a busboy in a hotel in the upstate New York spa town of Sharon Springs. He received his LL.B degree in 1948, was admitted to the bar in 1949, and began to practice law.
 Political career
Koch was elected Democratic Party district leader of Greenwich Village, holding that office from 1963 to 1965, was a delegate to the State convention in 1964, and was elected to the New York City Council in 1966. In 1965 he made headlines for endorsing Republican John Lindsay for mayor, while still serving as a Democratic district leader.
In mid-1976, he was threatened with murder by Uruguayan secret police. He would learn about those threats only after Orlando Letelier's carbombing in Washington D.C., September 1976, by Michael Townley, an American DINA agent working for Operation Condor. However, Koch only discovered the relationship between those threats on his life and Operation Condor in 2001.
 Mayor of New York City
He resigned from Congress in 1977 to become the 105th Mayor of New York City, holding that office for three terms, 1978 to 1989.
Koch was a lifelong bachelor, and his sexuality became an issue in the 1977 mayoral primary against Mario Cuomo with the appearance of placards and posters (disavowed by the Cuomo campaign) with the slogan "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo." Koch denounced the attack, later saying "No, I am not a homosexual. If I were a homosexual, I would hope I would have the courage to say so. What's cruel is that you are forcing me to say I am not a homosexual. This means you are putting homosexuals down. I don't want to do that." After becoming mayor, Koch began attending public events with former Miss America, well-known television game show panelist and consumer advocate Bess Myerson. The strategy made Myerson, who had political ambitions of her own (she later ran for senator), seem like a "First Lady of New York" of sorts. Still, not everyone was convinced. Koch has generally been less explicit in his denials in later life, and refused comment on his actual sexual experiences, writing "What do I care? I'm 73 years old. I find it fascinating that people are interested in my sex life at age 73. It's rather complimentary! But as I say in my book, my answer to questions on this subject is simply 'Fuck off.' There have to be some private matters left." The 2006 film, Shortbus features an Ed Koch look-alike who laments that some people thought he didn't do as much as he could to prevent the AIDS crisis while mayor because he was in the closet.
He was a delegate to the 1980 Democratic National Convention from New York. In April of that same year, he successfully broke a strike by the city's subway and bus operators, invoking the state's Taylor Law, which prohibits strikes by state or local government employees and imposes fines on any union authorizing such a strike which steadily escalate each day the strike continues. The strikers returned to work after eleven days.
In 1981, City College of New York awarded Koch a B.A. degree.
His catch-phrase as Mayor was "How'm I doin'?"
In 1982, he ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New York, losing the Democratic primary to Cuomo, who was then lieutenant governor. Many say the deciding factor in his loss was an interview with Playboy magazine in which he described the lifestyle of both suburbia and upstate New York as "sterile" and lamented the thought of having to live in "the small town" of Albany as Governor, turning off most voters from outside the city.
He was re-elected as Mayor in 1981 and 1985. In his third term, his popularity was shaken after the Donald Manes suicide and the PVB scandal, even though Koch himself was not part of the corruption ring. In 1989, he ran for a fourth term as Mayor but lost the Democratic primary to David Dinkins, who went on to defeat Rudolph Giuliani in the general election.
A change in the city's charter limiting the mayor to two full consecutive terms meant that Koch would be the last mayor of New York City elected more than twice in a row. Ironically, many believe Koch's long tenure in office inspired the term limit amendment.
 Later life
In the years following his mayoralty, Koch became a partner in the law firm of Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Aronsohn, and Berman LLP, (now Bryan Cave LLP) and became a commentator on politics (but also reviewing movies and restaurants) for newspapers, radio and television. He also became an adjunct professor at New York University (NYU) and was the judge on a television show, The People's Court, for two years, following Judge Wapner. In 1999, he was a visiting professor at Brandeis University. Koch regularly appears on the lecture circuit. He did an ad for FreshDirect in 2006.
Together with his sister Pat Koch Thaler, he has published a children's book, Eddie, Harold's Little Brother.
Koch had a minor heart attack in March 1999.
The former mayor often appears in television specials and commercials which promote or advertise things about New York; most memorable being an appearance in a Snapple commercial talking about the virtues of the fruit-flavored drinks, with the tagline "the best thing to ever come out of New York." He also made a cameo appearance as himself in the movie The Hebrew Hammer starring Adam Goldberg.
Koch appeared in the episode of HBO's Sex and the City entitled The Real Me which originally aired on June 3, 2001. He also writes film reviews for the Greenwich Village newspaper The Villager.
 Political stance
Koch has always been a registered Democrat, but he ran as both a Democrat and a Republican in the 1981 election for Mayor. He has often deviated from the conventional liberal line, strongly supporting the death penalty and taking a hard line on "quality of life" issues, such as giving police broader powers in dealing with the homeless and favoring (and signing) legislation banning the playing of radios on subways and buses, these positions prompting harsh criticism of him from the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and many African-American leaders, particularly the Reverend Al Sharpton. He also demonstrated a fierce love for New York City which some observers assert he carried to extremes on occasion: In 1984 he went on record as opposing the creation of a second telephone area code for the city, claiming that this would divide the city's population; and when the National Football League's New York Giants won the Super Bowl in January of 1987, he refused to grant a permit for the team to hold their traditional victory parade in the city, quipping famously, "If they want a parade, let them parade in front of the oil drums in Moonachie" (the latter being a town in New Jersey adjacent to East Rutherford, site of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, where the Giants play their home games). Since leaving office, he has frequently endorsed prominent Republican candidates, including Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg for Mayor, Al D'Amato for U.S. Senate, George Pataki for Governor, and, in 2003, George W. Bush for President. In 1980, as Mayor, he invited Ronald Reagan to Gracie Mansion shortly before that year's Presidential election, in which Reagan easily defeated Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter — a move widely seen as a tacit endorsement of Reagan on the part of Koch. Recently, however, Koch endorsed Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, for governor in the 2006 election.
A practicing Jew, Koch now writes defending Israel and combating anti-Semitism. He is now a contributor to Newsmax, a conservative magazine. He also appeared in the documentary Fahrenhype 9/11 defending President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and blasting Michael Moore. On Koch's view on Fahrenheit 9/11, his quote in Fahrenhype 9/11 was, "It's not a documentary, it's a lie."
Koch has had many complaints about his continuous use of the sound "uh" while he is speaking. People tell him that his speech is difficult to follow for that reason. In reply, Koch said that he has been speaking that way all of his life and that he is too old to change.
As Mayor, Ed Koch is credited with restoring fiscal stability to the City of New York, and placing the City on a budget balanced according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). He also established a merit selection system for Criminal and Family Court judges, and established extensive housing programs. He issued an executive order prohibiting all discrimination against homosexuals by City employees. A second executive order binding suppliers of the City to the same standards was eventually struck down by court order insofar as it applied to religious organizations, which were exempted from civil rights legislation by State law. John Cardinal O'Connor and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York were participants in the lawsuit against the executive order.
In 1986, Mayor Koch signed a gay rights ordinance for the city after the City Council finally passed the measure (on March 20), following several failed attempts by that body to approve such legislation. Despite his overall pro-gay-rights stance, he nonetheless backed up the New York City Health Department's decision to shut down the city's gay bathhouses in 1985 in response to concerns over the spread of AIDS. The enactment of the gay-rights measure the following year placed the city in a dilemma, as it apparently meant that the bathhouses would have to be re-opened because many heterosexual "sex clubs" — most notably Plato's Retreat — were in operation in the city at the time, and allowing them to remain open while keeping the bathhouses shuttered would have been a violation of the newly-adopted anti-discrimination law. The Health Department, with Koch's approval, reacted by ordering the heterosexual clubs, including Plato's Retreat, to close as well (Plato's Retreat then moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it reopened under the new name "Plato's Repeat").
His administration was tarnished when two close associates, Donald Manes and Stanley Friedman, were found to be corrupt. Shortly afterwards the Mayor suffered a stroke in 1987 while in office, but was able to continue with his duties.
Ed Koch was once again on TV news programs during a New York City Transit strike December 20, 21 and 22, 2005. Mayor Bloomberg walked over the Brooklyn Bridge just as Ed Koch had done a quarter of a century ago during the 11-day strike in 1980.
 Books by Ed Koch
- Koch, Edward I. (1980). The Mandate Millstone. U.S. Conference of Mayors. ISBN B00072XPA8.
- Koch, Edward I. (1981). How'm I doing? The Wit and Wisdom of Ed Koch. Lion Books. ISBN 0-87460-362-5.
- Koch, Edward I.; Rauch, William (1984). Mayor. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-49536-4.
- Koch, Edward I. & Rauch, William (1989). Politics. Horizon Book Promotions. ISBN 0-671-53296-0.
- Koch, Edward I. & O'Connor, John Cardinal (1989). His Eminence and Hizzoner: A Candid Exchange : Mayor Edward Koch and John Cardinal O'Connor. William Morrow & Company. ISBN 0-688-07928-8.
- Koch, Edward I. & Jones, Leland T. (1990) All The Best: Letters from a Feisty Mayor Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-69365-4.
- Koch, Edward I. & Paisner, Daniel. (1992). Citizen Koch: An Autobiography St Martins Printing. ISBN 0-312-08161-8.
- Koch, Edward I. (1994). Ed Koch on Everything: Movies, Politics, Personalities, Food, and Other Stuff. Carol Publishing. ISBN 1-55972-225-8.
- Koch, Edward I. & Resnicow, Herbert (1995). Murder At City Hall. Kensington Publishing. ISBN 0-8217-5087-9.
- Koch, Edward I. & Staub, Wendy Corsi (1996). Murder On Broadway. Kensington Publishing. ISBN 1-57566-186-1.
- Koch, Edward I.; Staub, Wendy Corsi & Resnicow, Herbert (1997). Murder on 34th Street Kensington Publishing. ISBN 1-57566-232-9.
- Koch, Edward I. & Staub, Wendy Corsi (1998). The Senator Must Die. Kensington Publishing. ISBN 1-57566-325-2.
- Koch, Edward I. (1999). Giuliani: Nasty Man. Barricade Books. ISBN 1-56980-155-X.
- Koch, Edward I. & Graham, Stephen P. (1999). New York: A State of Mind. Towery Publishing. ISBN 1-881096-76-9.
- Koch, Edward I. & Paisner, Daniel (2000). I'm Not Done Yet!: Keeping at It, Remaining Relevant, and Having the Time of My Life. William Morrow & Company. ISBN 0-688-17075-7.
- Koch, Edward I. & Koch Thaler, Pat (2004). Eddie, Harold’s Little Brother. Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 0-399-24210-4.
 Books about Ed Koch
City For Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York - Wayne Barrett ISBN 0-06-091662-1
 External links
- Edward I. Koch's page on NewsMax.com
- Edward I. Koch at the Internet Movie Database
- Ed Koch Threatened with Assassination in 1976
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from New York's 17th congressional district
John M. Murphy
Charles B. Rangel
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from New York's 18th congressional district
S. William Green
Abraham D. Beame
|Mayor of New York City|
David N. Dinkins
|Judge of The People's Court|