The death of Ed Koch reminded us that in our archives we have a couple of poems about the mayor by the late, great poet of the Forward, Stanley Siegelman.
These are too charming not to share again, so without further ado, we offer a special reissue of Siegelmania’s greatest Koch hits.
Ed Koch’s Grave Decision
The mayor thoughtfully explains
He wants his bodily remains
To rest within the burg he loves.
Should we extend him Mazel Tovs?
In past, both shul and church he shunned,
But looking toward the moribund
It’s all the same, the lines get blurred
The moment that one is interred!
With thought the mayor chose his spot,
A carefully considered plot,
A plot that’s deep (for what it’s worth)
And seriously down-to-earth.
This latest news has cast a pall
On not-too-distant City Hall.
Detractors there, who wished him ill,
Assumed of him they’d had their fill.
But now his spirit will be free
To haunt them for eternity.
His fans, who number more than few,
Applaud this brash, no-nonsense Jew.
But what got into Koch’s head
To mingle thus with goyish dead?
We’ll term his future burial
A triumph ecumenical!
Let’s all salute, on his behalf,
His “How’m I doin?” epitaph.
When Ed Koch died this morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement. “I will miss his friendship,” the 55-year-old governor said.
Ed Koch thought that Andrew Cuomo was a schmuck.
He said so on election night in 2010, in a conversation preserved in a new documentary about Koch’s life.
Koch said what he meant. That’s not to say he always meant what he said.
Back in July, Koch said he had plans to organize a rally of 50,000 people against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics.
“We’re going to turn City Hall Park into Tiananmen Square, Tahrir Square, and Moscow Square,” the 88-year-old former mayor told me, citing three iconic uprisings.
That didn’t quite happen.
The first thing I learned about Ed Koch is how unusually accessible he was.
It was September, 1977, and I was a new, eager student at the Columbia School of Journalism, passionate about city news and interested in learning photography. The school published a weekly newspaper at the time, and I wanted to be the one to photograph Ed Koch during his mayoral campaign. He seemed to be the most interesting candidate, and the one most likely to win.
I figured the best way to get the assignment was to prove that I already had an established relationship with the Koch campaign. Which I didn’t. So I needed to create one, quick.
Koch was a member of Congress then, and his phone number was listed in the phone book (an ancient precursor to online directories, for those who weren’t alive then.) So I called him. He picked up after a few rings, and with only a little irritation in his voice told me the address of his campaign office. No handlers or press representatives. And he was in line to run the biggest city in America? Who was this guy?
With the presidential election only days away, it is time for both campaigns to pull out their strongest arguments and best presenters in order to make that final push just a little bit more effective.
For Jewish Democrats, this means getting out Ed Koch, former mayor of New York, for a warm endorsement of President Barack Obama. In a campaign video released Wednesday Koch speaks at length about Obama’s record on Israel, and then moves on to praise the president’s economic policies. To make clear at whom this ad is directed, producers of the video made sure to film Koch with a large menorah in the background.
Koch is an important figure for the Obama campaign not only because of his standing in the Jewish community. Koch is especially valuable because of his on-again, off-again endorsements of the President, which may give him credibility as a straight-shooter with some undecided voters.
An outspoken supporter of Israel, Koch has criticized Obama several times in the past four years, even as recent as last month Now, the Obama campaign can make the point that even Koch, 87, is convinced by Obama’s record on Israel.
Shock now, irony later: The latest Siena poll shows Republican businessman Robert Turner leading Democratic state assemblyman David Weprin in the race to succeed Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th Congressional District by a healthy 50%-44% margin.
The poll’s religious breakdown shows the Republican winning on the strength of a hefty Catholic showing, despite Jewish support for the Democrat. Catholic respondents favored Turner 62% to 33%, while Jewish voters backed Weprin 51% to 45%. (The poll questioned 886 respondents; the margin of error was 3.3%.)
The irony is that a Republican win will surely be trumpeted around the world as a Likud victory and evidence that Obama’s Middle East policies have done the unthinkable and shattered the century-old marriage of Jewish voters and the Democratic Party. Here’s CNN setting the stage for that trope August 10 in a report on the last Siena poll:
In one of the most Jewish districts in the country, Democrats have struggled to hold a wide lead as the campaign has turned into a competition over who’s a better friend of Israel.
While Weprin would be the only Orthodox Jew in the House of Representatives if elected, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch stirred controversy by endorsing Turner. Koch hoped his move would send a message to the White House that Jewish Americans are displeased with President Barack Obama’s policies on Israel.
Still, it’s a big-time “poll shocker,” as Politico.com aptly called it. Actually, that understates the case. The Democrats’ upstate upset victory last May 24 in the special election to replace Rep. Chris Lee was a shocker. A Republican victory in the heart of the Democrats’ home turf in Queens and Brooklyn might end up looking more like an earthquake. The Democrats own New York City. If they can lose in the boroughs, they’re reduced to fighting their way back from their last stronghold on the Upper West Side, like the forces of Middle Earth in their last stronghold in Gondor or the Israel Labor Party fighting to hold onto Givatayim.
The religious breakdown in the August poll showed Weprin doing slightly better in both groups: Turner led among Catholics by 55% to 37% and Weprin led among Jews 56% to 35%. Weprin was ahead overall at the point by 48% to 42% (501 likely voters polled, with a 4.4% margin of error).
A new poll shows a “surprisingly close” race between the old-line Democrat and the relatively unknown Republican competing for Anthony Weiner’s congressional district in Queens and Brooklyn, Politico reports today.
The Siena Research Institute poll shows the Democrat, State Assemblyman David Weprin, leading Republican Bob Turner, a retired broadcast executive, by a relatively narrow 48 to 42 points in special election scheduled for September 13 in the traditionally Democratic district.
Weprin has sought to cast Turner as a tea party-aligned candidate who is too conservative for the district. Turner, who has won endorsements from Long Island-based GOP Rep. Peter King and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, has proclaimed himself to be the stronger supporter of Israel.
To be more precise, Koch has called on Jewish voters to support Turner, despite Weprin’s admittedly strong ties to Israel, in order to send a message to President Obama. As the Forward and JTA have reportedc, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman endorsed Weprin, who is keeping his distance from Obama as he campaigns.