Friday, February 01, 2013


I guess I'm supposed to be mourning Ed Koch, but my eyes are dry. He was a Trump-like egomaniac, and as mayor he divided the city racially like Rudy Giuliani a decade later. He won praise at the peak of his popularity and power from folks like George Will:
[Koch] has withering things to say about affirmative action, public employees' unions, "poverty pimps" (our mayor is a phrase-maker) and especially what he calls in conversation "arch-white-liberals" -- a splendid contribution to social categories. If Reagan were an East Coast urban ethnic Democrat, and in an uncharacteristically rotten mood, this is what he might sound like.
Koch endorsed George W. Bush in 2004 ("The Democratic Party just doesn’t have the stomach to go after terrorists") and he endorsed Republican Bob Turner in the race to succeed Anthony Weiner ("'I disagree with [Obama] on the way he views the state of Israel,' Koch said Monday at Turner's Howard Beach campaign office"). He backed Obama last year, but -- in one of his last interviews, with the New York-based Algemeiner newspaper -- he attacked Obama for nominating Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, describing it as an Obama betrayal of Israel:
... "Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when [Obama] would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel," said Koch, adding, "it comes a little earlier than I thought it would."

"It's very disappointing, I believe he will ultimately regret it," Koch said, "and it undoubtedly will reduce support for him in the Jewish community, but I don't think he (the President) worries about that now that the election is over." ...

"I'm sure that the Arabs are drinking orange juice and toasting Hagel's good health," Koch said.

"I believe it will encourage the Iranian program. I believe it will encourage the jihadists. They will say 'ah, we are winning the battle. America is beginning to desert Israel,'" he added.
So he thought Obama would betray Israel, but still endorsed him?
... "I did what I thought was warranted and intelligent," he said, "He was going to win! There was no question about it. I thought it would be helpful to have a Jewish voice there, being able to communicate."

The Mayor says he has no regrets, "it wouldn't make any difference. The Jews were going to vote for him no matter what. And that's the nature of the Jews. They are always very solicitous of everybody else except their own needs and community."
As Koch subsequently told Michael Goodwin of Fox News:
"I don't regret supporting him. I believe it bought time... I'm just sorry it was so short-lived."
That was Koch: he endorsed Obama, but then said he always expected Obama to prove himself an Israel-hater, and added that he, Ed Koch, postponed Obama's betrayal of Israel with his endorsement. (That was the Trump-style egomania.)

Feh. He's gone. I won't miss him.


Victor said...

I lived in NYC during the Koch and Dinkins years.

And yeah, Ed Koch was an egomaniac - extraordinaire.

I can remember, he not only had his voice recorded for use in taxi cabs, but in street-sweepers.

On the mornings when 'opposite side of the street parking' applied, if there were still cars on the wrong side of the street, the street-sweepers began a recording of an every more loud, every more NYie-accented Koch, saying, "Move Ya Cah... MOVE... YAH... CAH! MOOOVE!... YAAAH!!... CAAAAAAAAAH!!!"
Over, and over again.
And people would scurry out, just to shut-up the recording.
You didn't need an alarm clock most mornings, if you didn't need to get up earlier than 6:30 to 7 am. I don't care how hungover you were, there was not way anyonce could sleep through that cacophony!

I saw one guy punch another outside my apartment in Astoria, because the guy was very late in coming for his car, and the damn street-sweeper kept the damn recording going, getting louder and louder.
After the guy finally ran out and moved his car, another guy started yelling at him, walked up, and punched him right in the face!

The other guy did nothing, since he knew the whole block hated his feckin' guts for subjecting them to Koch's recorded voice screaming at them that early in the morning.

Ah, NY!

Sometimes I loved Ol' Ed, most time I couldn't stand him. A lot of times, I just had to laugh at him.
Dinkins wasn't much of a Mayor, either. His lone marker, is the least customer friendly tennis stadium in the world. And let's not even speak of Guliani - though, I had moved out right before he got elected.

But, love Koch, hate him, or be lukewarm about him, he was entertaining, ya gotta say that for him!

Victor said...


"ever" - not 'every'!

The New York Crank said...

I beg to disagree, at least a little bit. Most (although admittedly not all) of Koch's right-wing opinions pertained to foreign policy. Big deal! Although both Koch and Giuliani had their own foreign policies, sometimes at odds with those of the U.S. Government, this had little impact on the running of the city.

Particularly in his first two terms, Koch's magic was his ability to connect with the average New Yorker ("How am I doing?") and give the little guy a sense that he mattered to Koch and that City Hall was paying attention.

This connectedness was a key factor in restoring confidence to a city that was nearly bankrupt when Koch took over and making it again a place to work and to live rather than a basket case. It was under Koch that flight to the suburbs began to wane.

Did Koch have a plus-sized ego? You betcha, but who cares? Did he stay on too long? Yup. His third term was a mistake which fortunately helped lead to mayoral term limits - a concept destroyed by the far more self-important Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who overturned the law because he felt he was indispensable.

As Napoleon Bonparte once commented, "The cemeteries are full of indispensable men."

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Victor said...

NY Crank,
If remember correctly, there was a point when Koch's Mayoralty unraveled - it was when Donald Manes, Queens Borough President, got caught up in some scandal involving new computerized devices for the Parking Violations Bureau (the scourge of every car owner in NYC), and committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart at home.

After that, it was all downhill for Koch as Mayor.

The New York Crank said...


You may be right about both events, the "unraveling" and the Manes suicide, but I'm not sure there's a connection between the two.

At about the same time, I moved from the 'burbs back to the city, but that has no connection to the Manes suicide, either...regardless of what my enemies would have you believe. ;-)

But maybe it has to do with Liz Holtzman , the city controller at the time, hauling out her copy of Yertle The Turtle to make a political point.

I mean, was that a time to be living in New York (especially if you were Dr. Seuss) or what?

Very crnakily yours,
The New York Crank

Victor said...

I'd forgotten that!

And yeah, it was a great time to be in NY - except, of course, for the crack cocaine epidemic, and gang wars, brought to cities courtesy of Reagan's and Bush's Iran-Contra-Cocaine Triangle.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

I'll say this much, NY was a much better and more fun city in the late 70's and early 80's, before AIDS hit. If you couldn't get laid then, you couldn't get laid with a fistful of pardons in a prison.
I'm a heterosexual, and we kept fucking like bunnies, because initially, AIDS was only hitting the Gay and Haitian communities, so, what did WE have to worry about?

And then - BOOM! - heterosexuals started getting AIDS, and women started wanting to see a copy of your most recent blood test, before they'd go to bed for you.

Believe me, pre-1985 NYC was a far, far better place, than post-1985 NYC.

But, post 1985 NYC was still a great place - just not as randy.

The New York Crank said...

Well, most of my own wild oats got sewed (sewn? scattered? whatever) before 1968, but I distinctly remember what you mean about the pre-AIDS zeitgeist.

Straight or gay, AIDS was God's way of telling us to zip up our flies. The epidemic probably did more to enforce marital fidelity than a battalion of Bible-pounding fundamentalists shouting out of the TV loud speakers.

Koch, by the way, was rumored to be gay. And he made it to 88.

aThe New York Crank