Elected officials reacted Friday to the death of Ed Koch, 88, who served three terms as mayor of New York in the '80s, offering their condolences to his loved ones and lamenting the loss of one of New York's most iconic leaders.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, D-8, said "Koch served as a Big Apple Mayor with a big personality who embodied the spirit, wit and resilience of New York City."
Refferring to Koch as a pioneer, Jeffries said he reinvented what it meant to be a big city Mayor. "His journey has now ended, and so it is instead left to us to ask one last time: How did he do? All throughout our City the people are making it clear: He did well."
Councilwoman Letitia James, D-35, said her thoughts were with the loved ones of Koch, calling him "an icon and true New Yorker."
"His influence in strengthening New York’s then-struggling economy, and his fighter spirit was an inspiration to us all," James said. "He will be deeply missed, and remembered as aprominent figure in both New York and national politics."
Assemblyman Walter Mosley, D-57, remarked on Koch's devotion to the people of New York and noted he will be remembered as a great public servant.
“Having saved our city from the verge of bankruptcy during a crucial moment in its development, he truly understood the nature of metropolitan governance," Mosley said, adding that the Mayor will forever remain a paragon of service and leadership.
District Leader for the 57th Assembly District Renee Collymore took to Twitter, writing "R.I.P Mayor Ed Koch" and retweeted the Mayor's Dec. 8, 2010 Tweet that said: "Citizens, public service has always been my pleasure. I never expected anything like this, and am truly grateful."
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called Koch "one of our city's greatest and most charismatic leaders."
"Although he was born in the Bronx and raised in Newark, Mayor Koch lived with his family in Brooklyn as a young man, and I have no doubt it’s where he got the Brooklyn attitude, swagger and “chutzpah” that made him such a character and helped him navigate New York City through some of its most challenging times," Markowitz said.
He noted the Brooklyn flag over Borough Hall will be lowered in remembrance of Koch. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues," he said.
“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.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also expressed his condolences said flags in all city buildings will be at half-mast to morn his passing.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called him "larger than life," and remembered both is contributions to the city and the moments of support he gave her personally during her career.
"He loved this city fiercely and it loved him back," she said in a written statement. "He saved us from the brink of bankruptcy, raised our spirits, and restored our city’s reputation in the world. He rebuilt our crumbling infrastructure, adding more than 150,000 units of affordable housing. And after leaving office he continued to make New York a better place, inspiring us through his writing, his activism, and his commitment to change."
She added, "His sense of humor and tenacious spirit personified this town. Ed Koch was New York."
She said that when she was working at the Anti-Violence Project and was "in the midst of a very public battle with City Hall," Koch, whom she had never spoken to, called her "out of the blue." He told me, “You’re doing the right thing. Don’t back down, and call me if I can do anything.”
She added that he once said, "I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone. This is my home."
"Ed Koch will never leave New York City. He will exist forever in our hearts, and in the millions of lives he touched," she said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed Quinn's sentiments, saying, "With the passing of Ed Koch, New York has lost one of our most admired public leaders."
"No New Yorker has—or likely ever will—voice their love for New York City in such a passionate and outspoken manner than Ed Koch," Cuomo said. "New York City would not be the place it is today without Ed Koch's leadership over three terms at City Hall. Mr. Mayor was never one to shy away from taking a stand that he believed was right, no matter what the polls said or what was politically correct."
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it will be hard to imagine the city with Koch.
"We will miss his keen mind, sharp wit, and absolute devotion to making a great city the best in the world," he continued. "While we mourn his loss, we know that the legacy of his mayoralty, his commitment to civil rights and affordable housing, and his civic leadership long after he left City Hall, will live on for generations."
Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes reflected on his time working under Koch's administation, saying it was an honor to serve as Fire Commissioner during that time.
"I have lost not only a friend but every New Yorker has lost a public servant who not only played an important role in guiding our city as a Councilman, Congressman and Mayor, but someone whose persona epitomized the city he loved," Hynes explained. "He always asked 'how am I doing?' Ed you did magnificent!"
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in many ways, Koch never stopped being mayor. "He was personally engaged in the issues of the day, including those involving the Police Department, frequently seeking information from us and offering his opinion personally and in writing."
"I was privileged to consider him a friend and I am grateful that I had a few more times to be with him, on Tuesday and again last night, before he finally left New York for someplace better—although he'd probably argue that's not possible," Kelly continued.