Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City and Judge Wapner’s successor on The People’s Court, died early this morning in NYC of congestive heart failure. Ed was 88.
Ed was in and out of the hospital during the past few months and he suffered from everything from a lung ailment to anemia and pneumonia. The New York Post says that Ed was admitted to the hospital on Monday and when he got worse, he was moved to ICU yesterday.
After serving in the US House of Representatives for almost 10 years, Ed was the Mayor of NYC from 1978 to 1989. Many thought he pulled NYC out of a mound of financial messiness, but there were also a lot of people who felt that Ed Koch closed his eyes and ears to the AIDS crisis hitting NYC in the 80s. Playwright and gay-rights activist Larry Kramer wrote a character based on Ed Koch in his play The Normal Heart and made it perfectly clear that he had zero love for Ed Koch. At one point, they both lived in the same building (AWKWARD!) and in the lobby, Ed walked up to Larry and Larry’s dog Molly and started petting her. Larry pulled Molly away from him and yelled, “Molly, you can’t talk to him. That is the man who killed all of Daddy’s friends.” Molly looked up and Larry Kramer and her eyes said, “Um, you know my ass can’t talk, right?“
Larry also outed Ed Koch, but Ed Koch never came out and said he was gay. But did talk about it to reporters:
“Listen, there’s no question that some New Yorkers think I’m gay, and voted for me nevertheless. The vast majority don’t care, and others don’t think I am. And I don’t give a shit either way!”
I wasn’t in NYC during the 80s, so my only memories of Ed Koch are of watching him smack down tricks on People’s Court while I swallowed a Cup ‘O Noodles. But I wish I was in NYC during the 80s and the 90s and I wish I lived in Larry and Ed’s building at the time, because that’s where the drama was.
RIP, Ed Koch.