Elected officials reacted Friday to the passing of Edward I. Koch, 88, who served three terms as mayor of New York in the '80s, offering their condolences to his loved ones and lamenting the loss of one of New York's most iconic leaders.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called Koch "one of our city's greatest and most charismatic leaders."
"Although he was born in the Bronx and raised in Newark, Mayor Koch lived with his family in Brooklyn as a young man, and I have no doubt it’s where he got the Brooklyn attitude, swagger and “chutzpah” that made him such a character and helped him navigate New York City through some of its most challenging times," Markowitz said.
He noted the Brooklyn flag over Borough Hall will be lowered in remembrance of Koch. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues," he continued.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that today marks the loss of a NYC champion:
“Earlier today, New York City lost an irrepressible icon, our most charismatic cheerleader and champion, Edward I. Koch. He was a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend. In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader. Through his tough, determined leadership and responsible fiscal stewardship, Ed helped lift the city out of its darkest days and set it on course for an incredible comeback. We will miss him dearly, but his good works – and his wit and wisdom – will forever be a part of the city he loved so much. His spirit will live on not only here at City Hall, and not only on the bridge the bears his name, but all across the five boroughs," Bloomberg said in a statement.
“I’m expressing my condolences on behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, and I know so many of them will be keeping Mayor Koch and his family and friends in their thoughts prayers. As we mourn Mayor Koch’s passing, the flags at all City buildings will be flying at half-staff in his memory.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed Markowitz's sentiments, saying, "With the passing of Ed Koch, New York has lost one of our most admired public leaders."
"No New Yorker has - or likely ever will - voice their love for New York City in such a passionate and outspoken manner than Ed Koch," Cuomo said. "New York City would not be the place it is today without Ed Koch's leadership over three terms at City Hall. Mr. Mayor was never one to shy away from taking a stand that he believed was right, no matter what the polls said or what was politically correct."
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it will be hard to imagine the city with Koch.
"We will miss his keen mind, sharp wit, and absolute devotion to making a great city the best in the world," he continued. "While we mourn his loss, we know that the legacy of his mayoralty, his commitment to civil rights and affordable housing, and his civic leadership long after he left City Hall, will live on for generations."
Koch dedicated his life to the five boroughs, said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, adding he made New York a better place both during and after his time in office.
"He loved this city fiercely and it loved him back," she said. "He saved us from the brink of bankruptcy, raised our spirits, and restored our city’s reputation in the world. He rebuilt our crumbling infrastructure, adding more than 150,000 units of affordable housing. And after leaving office he continued to make New York a better place, inspiring us through his writing, his activism, and his commitment to change."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in many ways, Koch never stopped being mayor.
"He was personally engaged in the issues of the day, including those involving the Police Department, frequently seeking information from us and offering his opinion personally and in writing."
"I was privileged to consider him a friend and I am grateful that I had a few more times to be with him, on Tuesday and again last night, before he finally left New York for someplace better - although he'd probably argue that's not possible," Kelly continued.
Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes reflected on his time working under Koch's administation, saying it was an honor to serve as Fire Commissioner during that time.
"I have lost not only a friend but every New Yorker has lost a public servant who not only played an important role in guiding our city as a Councilman, Congressman and Mayor, but someone whose persona epitomized the city he loved," Hynes explained. "He always asked 'How am I doing?' Ed you did magnificent!"
City Councilmember Brad Lander, D-Park Slope, said that Koch was a symbol of the city:
"Ed Koch stood for New York City, literally and figuratively. When our city was at its low point in the 1970s, he fought to bring it back. His brash, honest, human style will be sorely missed," Lander told Patch.