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Remembering Ed Koch

Rep. Ed Koch, representing New York's 18th district

Rep. Ed Koch, representing New York's 18th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, is interviewed in Manhattan. (March 1, 1973) Credit: AP

Friends, sometime adversaries and notable public figures remember Edward I. Koch, the combative former three-term New York City mayor who died early Friday morning at age 88.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

"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.

"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 and prayers. As we mourn Mayor Koch's passing, the flags at all City buildings will be flying at half-staff in his memory."

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance:

"New York would not be the safest big city in America today if Ed Koch hadn't spearheaded one of the most important criminal justice reforms in New York City's history as mayor: selecting Criminal Court judges based on merit instead of political connections. Every New Yorker has the right to walk the streets of our city without fear and all New Yorkers deserve equal access to justice. We'd be far, far further from these goals today if not for Mayor Ed Koch's foresight and vision and courage.

"On a personal level, Mayor Koch was always available to me with wise advice, counsel, and always delivered with a sense of humor. I will miss him dearly."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network and an MSNBC host:

"I am saddened to hear of the passing of former Mayor Ed Koch. Throughout his 12-years of being mayor I was one of his most vociferous critics. In fact, my first arrest was leading a sit-in on him about summer jobs for youth in 1978.

"We later united and worked together around the country in a national campaign for nonviolent drug offenders to give them a second chance in life and we ended up getting to know and understand each other. Although we argued about everything from my marching in Bensonhurst, to Florida and Trayvon Martin, and although we disagreed on politics from his views on President Obama to other matters, I have found that he was never a phony or a hypocrite. He would not patronize or deceive you. He said what he meant. He meant what he said. He fought for what he believed. May he rest in peace."

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford): "I am terribly saddened by the passing of Mayor Ed Koch. Ed Koch was a true friend and trusted adviser. Ed Koch personified the spirit of New York. New York's Mayor For Life is now New York's Mayor for eternity. May he Rest in Peace."

Compiled by John Valenti

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