No matter what you thought of him or his politics, Ed Koch was an indelible sign of New York – especially the one that came back from the brink.
When he ran first for mayor, New York was practically falling apart. The city was still reeling from the financial crisis of the mid-1970s and the looting that accompanied a major blackout in the summer of 1977.
“The city was being held together by chewing gum,” recalls historian Jonathan Soffer. “He created a feeling of optimism. He created a feeling that the city could come back.”
I ran into him once at Balducci’s, where he complained to me about the peaches not being ripe enough.