Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was the dinner speaker for Arthur Page Society’s spring Conference.
As we wolfed down our meals, Koch regaled listeners with one anecdote after another, demonstrating a sharp wit and full grasp of the current political climate.
When asked to reflect on his time as mayor and point to his greatest accomplishment, Koch didn’t hesitate in responding, "I believe I gave New Yorkers back their pride." And, he did. The New York City Ed Koch inherited was a total mess. It was bankrupt, riddled with crime and struggling to forestall corporate and private citizens alike from heading across the Hudson.
Koch turned all that around with his ‘can do’ attitude, workmanlike approach and obvious pride in the city. He made us feel good about New York’s image and reputation as he and his successors literally rebuilt the city from the ground up. Today, New York City is THE place to be for so many different segments and strata of society. Would it be that way if Koch hadn’t been mayor at exactly the right point in time? Perhaps, but I doubt it.
Koch’s trademark was to ask average New Yorkers how he was doing. The voters responded in no uncertain terms by reelecting him. And we Page members did the same thing with our standing ovation on Thursday night. You’re doing just fine, Mr. Mayor. Just fine.