The Mayor is dead. Long live The Mayor. Ed Koch died last Friday. The man who served three terms as the chief executive of the busiest city in the world had to relinquish his title of "Mayor For Life" at the age of eighty-eight. I was never a New Yorker. Why should I care about this guy?
When I was growing up, I knew the name of my city's mayor for minutes at a time, but I always knew who was running The City That Never Sleeps: Ed Koch.
Let's put it this way, no mayor of Boulder, Colorado had a bestselling autobiography that was turned into an off-Broadway musical. On the biggest stage, he was able to make his particular brand of politics and showmanship work. Even though his terms in office were marked by racial tensions,
corruption among many of his political allies, the rise in AIDS and HIV,
homelessness and a high crime rate, he is also the guy who pulled the Big Apple away from the brink of insolvency, to a level of prosperity that was the envy of other U.S. cities. Even Boulder.
He walked the streets. He hosted Saturday Night Live. He asked anyone who would stop and listen, "How'm I Doing?" The answer is, at last, not open for debate. Ed has moved into his last apartment in Manhattan: a nice little plot in Trinity Cemetery.
Aloha, Mister Mayor.