Ed Koch was born in Crotona Park East, in the Bronx. His father was a furrier, and in the Great Depression, with the sale of fur coats down, the family moved to Newark, New Jersey. He attended City College of New York from 1941-1943. He was drafted into the Army where he served with the 104th Infantry Division, landing in Cherbourg in September 1944. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. In that year, he began attending the New York University School of Law. He received his L.L.B. degree in 1948, was admitted to the bar in 1949, and began to practice law.
He was elected Democratic Party district leader of Greenwich Village 1963-1965, was delegate to the State convention in 1964, elected to New York City Council in 1966, was the Democratic-Liberal U.S. Congressman from New York's 17th District from 1969-1973, and U.S. Congressman from New York's 18th District from 1973-1977, a total of nine years as a Congressman.
A lifelong bachelor, his sexuality became an issue in the 1977 mayoral primary when campaigners for Mario Cuomo plastered posters with the slogan "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo" throughout the city. Koch denounced the campaign, later saying "No, I am not a homosexual. If I were a homosexual, I would hope I would have the courage to say so. What's cruel is that you are forcing me to say I am not a homosexual. This means you are putting homosexuals down. I don't want to do that." He has generally been less explicit in his denials in later life, and refused comment on his actual sexual experiences , writing "What do I care? Iím 73 years old. I find it fascinating that people are interested in my sex life at age 73. Itís rather complimentary! But as I say in my book, my answer to questions on this subject is simply Fuck off. There have to be some private matters left."
Koch attributes some measure of credit for his victory to Rupert Murdoch's decision the have "The Post" endorse him over Cuomo.
In 1981, City College of New York awarded Mr. Koch a B.A. degree. His catch-phrase as Mayor was "How'm I doing?".
In 1982, he ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New York against Mario Cuomo.
In 1989, he ran for a fourth term as Mayor and was defeated by David Dinkins in the Democratic primary.
As Mayor, Ed Koch is credited with restoring fiscal stability to the City of New York, and placing the City on a budget balanced according to Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP). He also established a merit selection system for Criminal and Family Court judges, and established extensive housing programs. He issued an executive order prohibiting all discrimination against homosexuals by City employees, which was eventually struck down by court order in a lawsuit in which John Cardinal O'Connor and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York was a participant.
His administration was tarnished when two close associates Donald Manes and Stanley Friedman were found to be corrupt. Shortly afterwards the Mayor suffered a stroke in 1987 while in office, but was able to continue with his duties.
In the years following his mayoralty, Mr. Koch became a partner in the law firm of Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman LLP, and became a commentator on politics (but also reviewing movies and restaurants) for newspapers, radio and television, and became an adjunct professor at New York University. He was the judge on a television show, The People's Court for a year.
Koch had a minor heart attack in March 1999.
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Books by Ed Koch
Books about Ed Koch
City For Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York - Wayne Barrett