Tevi Troy posted an article at the City Journal entitled “The Last Sane Liberal” describing former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Mayor Koch became mayor of New York City in January 1978. I left New York City after finishing school in 1967, but I visited on a fairly regular basis after that. There were times when it was not considered safe to ride the subways if you were a woman alone.
Mr. Troy does a very good job of explaining the appeal of Ed Koch:
But ego doesn’t fully explain Koch’s appeal. If he’d simply been selling himself in those TV appearances, New Yorkers would have seen through it. Rather, Koch conflated his mayoral success with New York’s success. As the New York Times wrote in 1989, “Edward Irving Koch has personalized the mayoralty with such delight that the line between Mayor and city blurred during the 12 years he has led New York.” What appealed to New Yorkers was the sense that Koch was out there selling the city, both to itself and to the rest of the world. The I, Koch team writes that Koch was “New York’s tireless, most optimistic cheerleader. No matter what the problem, the city was wonderful.” According to the late New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Koch had “given New York City back its morale.” Or, as Koch himself put it: “I gave the people back their spirit.”
The article concludes:
Koch became mayor at New York’s nadir and, using his signature mixture of media smarts, pluck, and sheer determination, managed to bring the city back from the brink. It surely doesn’t detract from Rudy Giuliani’s deeply impressive reign, which began in 1994, to suggest that Koch deserves credit for getting Gotham to the point where Giuliani could tackle the job. The renaming of the Queensboro Bridge after Koch in 2010 may be an imperfect way to honor a man who once said that going to Queens gave him “nosebleeds.” But it’s clear that Koch deserves a place of honor in the pantheon of New York’s most successful mayors.
Over the years Ed Koch has taken positions that put him at odds with the Democrat Party. He tends to speak his mind and form his opinions based on the facts as he sees them–not the party line. He is not afraid to stand alone when he thinks he is right. We need more people like him in both parties. I need to explain that I agree with Ed Koch on very little–but I respect him for his willingness to form his own opinions.
I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article. Ed Koch is a fascinating man.