One of the most famous mayors in New York City history has passed away this morning after battling a series of illnesses in recent months. Ed Koch was the mayor from 1978 to 1989 and kept in the public eye for years after leaving office, hosting a local radio show as well as appearing on the People’s Court. Koch was the quintessential New Yorker, best known for always asking “How’m I doing?” to anyone and everyone. He was certainly an original, never afraid to get out and talk to the residents of New York.
Former Mayor Ed Koch died early this morning, sources told The Post. He was 88.
Koch had been in and out of the hospital in recent months, and was admitted Monday at New York Presbyterian Medical Center.
He was moved to intensive care yesterday as his condition worsened.
Koch – who served as mayor from 1978 to 1989 – died at about 2 a.m. today, sources said.
The three-term mayor and former congressman was first elected to City Hall in 1977. Since leaving elected office, he has worked as a lawyer and remained an active presence on the city’s political scene. He also appeared as the judge on the TV show “The People’s Court” for two years.
The larger-than-life Koch, who breezed through the streets of New York flashing his signature thumbs-up sign, won a national reputation with his feisty style. “How’m I doing?” was his trademark question to constituents, although the answer mattered little to Koch. The mayor always thought he was doing wonderfully.
Bald and bombastic, paunchy and pretentious, the city’s 105th mayor was quick with a friendly quip and equally fast with a cutting remark for his political enemies.
“You punch me, I punch back,” Koch once memorably observed. “I do not believe it’s good for one’s self-respect to be a punching bag.”
One line we always loved from Koch:
To critics who said he had drifted too far from his liberal roots, Koch said he was “a liberal with sanity.”
He was the last one.