Mario Cuomo was a politician from a bygone era: a child of immigrants who through the sheer force of his intellect and his oratorical skills stood at the precipice of the highest office in the land. He talked about lifting the weak and the poor and he never wavered from his core principles.
Ed Koch exceeded himself, and long after his official policies and decisions fade into irrelevance, he will be seen as the man who was voted out of office only to make himself the embodiment of public virtue and human decency.
To some, Mayor Koch will be remembered as the signer of our nation's first pooper-scooper law. To others, it will be his extraordinary work creating affordable housing in New York City. To me, it was being asked to help trace his Jewish family history and genealogy.
While many in New York City opposed Koch for trying to help Ms. Boggs because they thought being psychotic was an exercise of free will, rather than the inability to exercise free will, Koch did the right thing. Ed Koch was a leader. And he had a heart.
All of New York City is in mourning today as we say goodbye to a great mayor, a great man and a great friend. Ed Koch dedicated his life to the five boroughs. He loved this city fiercely and it loved him back.
Ed Koch was a member of The Greatest Generation and not just by accident of birth. He was an American patriot who spent a lifetime serving his country and his city. He wanted to make the world a better place, root out corruption and help people. In this, he was an outstanding success.
While nothing in local politics is ever simple, everything about local politics is very immediate and very real. The next mayor of New York City will have a significant impact on the future of this city.