ED KOCH- A Mayor For All Reasons:

11 Mar

ED KOCH:

 

His email adress shows up courtesy AI, artificial intelligence, each time I hit an “e” starting name in my email. At times, Joann responded for him. She was his gatekeeper. Mostly he would write his own terse messages. I miss them. As random as their themes and appearance in my email, Ed Koch’s emails were a treat to look forward to, so much the Man of New York, the Mayor with Heart & Soul.

 

It was so Ed to be buried in a church graveyard within New York City not a synagogue graveyard outside of New York. Made sense to me. Ed was New York. He was Mr. Mayor to me.

 

We met in 2004 during the RNC week in New York. We met outside of Gracie Mansion. He seemed surprised anyone cared to take his photo. I told him I wasn’t anyone. I was his constituent, a sensible enough answer, it seemed, after all, I got him to for me. Balding and grey did not make for Stud Muffin material, he thought. His irreverent sense of humor and sense was Oh-So-Big Apple, I let him know.

 

However it came to be, we stayed in touch, since. I became one of the Chosen who received Mr. Mayor’s movie reviews and editorials. I let him in on the lives of my boys- their successes, and tribulations. And my joys. When I read Ed had picked out his burial plot, basically planned for his life after death, I emailed Ed he could not go until I updated my pics of him. We planned the next time I would be in the Big Apple I would stop by. I did. Ever the working lawyer with an opinion he let you know about, Ed found time to chat. We covered a few topics. I asked if O had invited Ed to the White House. He said no, not quite understanding. I asked if he wanted me to put the idea forward. He said why not. I told him I didn’t understand why the current administration had not invited him to the White House for their LGBT events and let alone not awarded him a Presidential Medal. I was not keen for the medal. It too often turned out to be a kiss of death- literally.

 

Told him leave it to me.

 

I let select people know about Ed’s wish. I was so caught off guard the White House administration did not know who Ed was, let alone in the LGBT world. Makes sense, in that he was so understated and private of intimate details of his life. But the fact was, most of them had not heard about Ed even as Mr. Mayor. I made a point of explaining to them. The thing about the White House is you never know if and when a germ of an idea you plant, sprouts until you see it happen. And I did. I was watching the news. I spotted Ed, a guest, at an East Room LGBT reception.

 

Ed’s choice of movies to remove was across the board, as random was a leaf blown off its branch. Ed reviewed anything that caught his fancy from subtitles to serious from comedy to noir films. Ed’s editorials were thematically current and personal. He spoke his mind. I didn’t always agree. The one time I didn’t speak my truth was Ed’s coming out for Jewish support for Obama in election 2013. When O’s true colors came out, Ed asked him ‘why’, ‘what happened.’ I wanted to ask him if he regretted this Obama support. I never did. I wish I had. I wanted to understand why he changed his position.

 

I would always ask Ed’s permission to repost an editorial I wanted people to read. He never said no. I think I tickled his ego. My last editorial from Ed is dated November 11, 2012. It is the second to last editorial I want you to read. Resilient. That is how he described New Yorkers. 16 flights of stairs, cane, heart issues plus? Touch as beans, I think.  Ed, who ran for office on a $2million budget, was tested but he came through- remained accessible to New Yorkers who choose to remember, a Mayor For All Reasons and Seasons- New York’s Mayor of Mayors.

 

“Ed Koch Commentary

November 1, 2012

 

Hurricane Sandy Tested Us, And We Came Through

 

On Sunday, October 28, at 4:00 p.m., I joined the parishioners at St. James Cathedral Basilica in Brooklyn in honoring my friend and their fellow congregant, Frank Macchiarola. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI had bestowed upon Frank the Papal Honor of Knight Commander of the Holy Order of St. Gregory the Great. Frank had been the Chancellor of the Board of Education appointed by me in 1978, and I believe he is the best chancellor to have ever presided over the New York City public school system.

 

After the service, I learned that the city was shutting down due to the approach of Hurricane Sandy. Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo announced that the subways, buses, bridges and tunnels, with the exception of the Lincoln Tunnel, would soon be closed. It turned out to be the correct decision, notwithstanding complaints that the closings were premature.

 

Sandy struck. When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had no electricity in my apartment. After being told by my doorman that it could be off for five or more days, I decided to leave the building, even though it required walking down 16 flights of stairs.

 

The concierge assigned a young man to carry my suitcase and accompany me down the stairs. I was very grateful for his assistance, good humor and his flashlight. The descent wasn’t easy because of my physical condition. (I have spinal stenosis, a pacemaker, congestive heart failure and walk with a cane.) After about a half-hour which included several rests we arrived in the lobby.

 

I then traveled by car over the George Washington Bridge to my sister’s home in New Jersey. She lives in a wonderful assisted-living complex, and although she had no electricity, a generator provided access to a working elevator which I took to her apartment on the fourth floor. I stayed overnight and on Wednesday morning went to my office in midtown Manhattan where I wrote my movie reviews and this commentary.

 

New Yorkers are resilient. Nevertheless, these catastrophes make us appreciate the importance of energy to the world as much as fire was appreciated by prehistoric mankind. When I think of the problems others in the city had during the storm, including over 100 homes burning to the ground, heart attacks, lethal injuries as a result of accidents including falling trees, and 75 people nationwide who lost their lives, I realize how lucky most of us have been, suffering primarily inconvenience.

 

I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, today, and he said the feat of going down 16 stories established that I am stronger today than I was when he last saw me before the storm. That’s good news.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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