Ed Koch, former NYC mayor, dies at 88

| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

Photo: NYC Mayor's Office Flickr/ Edward Reed
Photo: NYC Mayor's Office Flickr/ Edward Reed

Ed Koch, former New York City mayor, passed away on February 1. He was 88 years old.

Ed Koch, the three term New York City mayor known his larger than life personality and penchant for the big and small screen, died early Friday morning after months of health complications. He was 88.

The official cause of death was congestive heart failure, his spokesperson, George Arzt told the New York Times.

Koch had been in and out of the hospital since September for different respiratory problems: one stay in September, one in December and two trips throughout January.

A spokesperson announced on Thursday, January 31 that Koch had been placed in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Edward Irving Koch was born on December 12, 1924 in the Bronx and grew up in Newark. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946, fought in World War II and rose to the rank of sergeant.

Koch was elected mayor in 1977 after serving in Congress since 1969 where he represented parts of the Bronx. He went on to win elections in 1981 and 1985, but Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins ousted Koch in a 1989 Democratic primary.

In the 20-plus years since leaving City Hall, Koch has still been active in New York City life. He has spent years as a “NY1” wise guy, where he would weigh in on issues concerning the city. He also made a slew of cameo appearances in films and wrote his own film review column that was widely circulated.

From 1997 to 1999, he presided over The People’s Court, a syndicated torts court show. In total, Koch appeared in 80 movies and TV shows, most of which were as himself. He made a cameo appearance as a newscaster in the 1996 film “City Hall,” which was inspired by the corruption charges against late Borough President Donald Manes. Koch was mayor when Manes faced corruption charges and ultimately ended his own life.

Bloomberg announced in 2010 that the 59th Street Bridge would be named after Koch. The change was met with criticism by some for naming a landmark after a living, active person.

His legacy will also live on through film. Earlier this week a documentary on the former mayor, “Koch,” debuted at the Museum of Modern Art.

On Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered that flags at all city buildings be flown at half-staff in Koch’s memory.

A funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper West Side, according to the Daily News.

The trailer for “Koch,”  a documentary on the former mayor.