NEW YORK (AP) – Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, the combative politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during three City Hall terms, has died at age 88.
Spokesman George Arzt says Koch died Friday morning of congestive heart failure.
In City Hall, Koch embodied New York for the rest of the world. He won a national reputation with his feisty style and his trademark question, “How'm I doing?”
During his years as mayor, from 1978 to 1989, his tight fiscal policies pulled the city out of severe financial difficulties. But homelessness and racial tensions soared and critics charged that City Hall's responses were ineffective.
His mark on the city was set in steel when the Queensboro Bridge, connecting Manhattan to Queens, was renamed in Koch's honor in 2011.
Later in his life, Koch
became an advocate for reform in state politics, starting the good-government
group New York Uprising.
Even a round of surgery
was not enough to stop Koch from taking a trip to Albany back in 2010 to
promote the group and cross party lines to support Republican Jennifer Whalen's
challenge to unseat Assemblyman Bob Reilly.
Koch's support was not
enough to put Whalen over, but a large number of legislators signed on to
support the New York Uprising movement.
Speaking to NEWS10 Friday,
former Assemblyman Jack McEneny talked about Koch's lasting contribution to New
“He was surely not looking
for a back bench seat. He wanted to be in the fray, and he wanted to be a leader,
and a great many people were inspired by that leadership,” said McEneny.