Saturday, February 2, 2013
Nation Mourns A Great Mayor
Anyone who wants to understand – for better or worse – what it means to be a New Yorker – need look no further than the life and times of New York City’s irascible three-term mayor, Edward I. Koch. The beloved hero of the nation’s largest city died in the early morning of February 1, a day that was supposed to celebrate the launch of a move about his career in politics. It was also a day Grand Central Station, the world’s largest train terminal, celebrated its centennial.
Koch was the quintessential New Yawka, a legendary figure in the late 1970s and throughout the 80s. At the time of his dozen-year run I grew up from a 10-year-old boy to a college graduate. I was inspired by his colorful ways, his biting humor and cutting wit, and his ability to both tell it like he sees it but to keep things positive. Some found him antagonistic, which at times he was, but there was never a dull moment with him.
To be honest, Koch did not accomplish as much as some mayors. In fact, crime, which had been out of control prior to him taking office on January 1, 1978, got dramatically worse during the drug wars over coke and crack. The AIDS epidemic s engulfed the nation and hit the city hard. Homelessness was also out of control. And when he left office on December 31, 1989 – denied a fourth term due to racial divisiveness and City Hall corruption – it seemed like he had run his course.
But Koch was a great cheerleader and did a few things exceptionally well. First and foremost, he bought fiscal sanity back to a city that was on the verge of bankruptcy. He saved the city and brought back a standard of excellence and prominence to the Big Apple. Second, he gave the city an immense image boost with his in-your-face speeches, confrontational press conferences, and exchange of barbs with buffoons like Rev Al “Fraud” Sharpton, developer Donald “Bad Hair” Trump, and striking transit workers. He had chutzpah and became an off-Broadway attraction as the ambassador for a city that drowned in crime, graffiti, and red ink.
Mr. Koch, you loveable schmuck, may you rest in peace.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©