Edward I. Koch, 1924-2013
Lots of words have been used to describe Ed Koch, the former three-term mayor of New York City who died Friday at the age of 88.
There's “brash,” “shrewd” and “colorful.” And, yes, he was all those. Then there's “tenacious,” “zestful” and “combative.” True, he was. The more highbrow among New Yorkers knew Mr. Koch for his “ebullience,” a high-level enthusiasm that fueled another dimension of his powerful persona — his perennial and good-natured “cheerleading” for the Big Apple.
Which brings us to the core — the soul — of Ed Koch. In a vast sea (some would say sewer) of politicians and public servants more dedicated to serving themselves, he was the embodiment of a “leader.” Never self-effacing, he would do anything to improve the city he so loved and the lot of every resident he could.
And like too few other “leaders” who might offer comparable sizzle, few could match the quantity and the quality of Mayor Koch's steak. Once a liberals' liberal, he embraced pragmatic conservatism to tackle a wide array of challenges in his 12-year mayoralty beginning in 1978. It was Ed Koch who pulled New York back from the precipice of the mother of all fiscal cliffs. It was Ed Koch who revitalized neighborhoods given up for dead by so many others. It was Ed Koch whose work led to nearly a quarter of a million new housing units. And we could go on and on.
No uncertain sound ever emanated from Ed Koch's trumpet of leadership. And the notes he blew represent a legacy that few “leaders” have ever had or to which fewer still could ever realistically aspire.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- The Thursday wrap
- Medicare @ 50: Sick, getting sicker
- Regional growth
- The Fiat Chrysler mess: Government’s virus
- At the VA: The waiting dead
- The Box
- U.N. Watch: The ‘race’ is on
- Yes, the IRS targeted conservatives
- The Export-Import Bank: The Senate’s shame
- So, where’s the I-70 ‘Welcome to Pennsylvania’ sign on the Pa.-W.Va. border?