Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Dead at 88

Three-term mayor was New York legend

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 1, 2013 6:07 AM CST

(Newser) – Three-term New York City Mayor Ed Koch has died of congestive heart failure at age 88, a spokesman announced this morning. Koch, who was mayor from 1978 to 1989, led the city back from the brink of financial disaster and became a New York icon worldwide, the AP notes. Never one to shy from a fight, Koch often asked, "How'm I doing?" How New York is taking the news:

  • The New York Times salutes his "tumultuous" time at the helm, calling him "the master showman of City Hall" who displayed "all the tenacity, zest, and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams." Koch "could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother," writes Robert McFadden.

  • Koch was "unpredictable to the end," notes Tracy Connor at the New York Daily News. He was "a quote machine who courted controversy, a self-proclaimed 'liberal with sanity' who angered civil libertarians and civil rights activists." One choice example: "I'm not the type to get ulcers. I give them."
  • He finally "attained the status of a cranky but beloved elder statesman whom no one could accuse of not loving the city he dominated for a dozen years," writes Jennifer Maloney at the Wall Street Journal. It was that love that "made him a great mayor," said former rival Mario Cuomo.

In this Nov. 8, 1977, file photo, Rep. Ed Koch, second from left, celebrates in New York after being elected as New York's mayor.   (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, File)
In this March 23, 2010 file photo, former New York Mayor Ed Koch speaks during a publicity event in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
In this Sept. 24, 1982, file photo, New York Mayor Ed Koch makes his concession speech after losing the Democratic gubernatorial primary election to Lt. Gov. Mario Cuomo in New York.   (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, File)
In this March 8, 1987, file photo, New York Mayor Ed Koch gives a lift to Broadway dancer Ann Reinking .   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
In this Dec. 14, 1980, file photo, Ed Koch stands among Beatles' fans paying tribute to the late John Lennon during a silent vigil that was called by Mayor Koch in New York's Central Park.   (AP Photo/Rene Perez, File)
In this April 18, 2007, file photo, former New York Mayor Ed Koch listens during the 9th annual National Action Network convention in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
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