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.