Recap: Ed Koch at Tenement Museum’s Tenement Talks

Posted on: October 27th, 2010 at 6:12 am by

Last night, the Tenement Museum bookshop was a zoo.  It was the hot ticket in the neighborhood, as former mayor Ed Koch was in the house for the heralded Tenement Talks series. The event was a sold out affair, and lines queued for the remaining handful of standing-room-only tickets at the door.

Inside, the space was at total capacity.  Lots of standing, lots of cameras, and lots of lights.  Both the C-Span network and Book TV were also in attendance to capture some footage. The event itself was part of a promotional blitz to push a new definitive biography by NYU Polytechnic Associate Professor Jonathan Soffer called Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City.

Veteran urban affairs correspondent for the New York Times, Sam Roberts, was invited for opening remarks. It was all very flattering, including a quip that Koch was “the last mayor who laughed.” The structure of the discussion thereafter was rather loosy-goosy.  Soffer read a couple passages from the book and also asked a number of additional questions, many of which were long-winded.  Of course, Koch was happy to oblige.  He charmed the crowd from the get-go with the perfect icebreaker, “I’m 85 years-old, I probably have 2-3 years left, and I’m not afraid of death.”

Ever the politician, it often seemed as though the mayor was back on the stump, campaigning for someone or something. Above and beyond his endorsement of Mayor Mike or repeating his support of the death penalty, Koch conveyed a basic survey course of his career in New York City in an attempt to set his legacy straight.  In doing so, he intimated the reasoning behind some of his controversial decisions as mayor (e.g. Eleanor Bumpers) and also confessed regrets about certain political scandals. Most notably his regret of closing the Sydenham Hospital in Harlem in 1980.

These days, Koch focuses on his love of film.  He hosts a weekly web video series called Mayor at the Movies, and also writes reviews that appear in Huffington Post and The Villager.

Recent Stories

rbar-bowery-closed
R Bar on the Bowery Shutters Ahead of Transformation to ‘Rebelle’

Word on the street is that R Bar and its stripper poles are out to pasture. Closed for good. There had been recent talk of its demise, but it finally came to fruition this week. Its disconnected phone number is further evidence. This sudden loss of R Bar makes sense, though. Florence Fabricant reports in […]

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 12.49.20 PM
Classic Album Art Comes to Life in Roy Kafri’s New Beatbox Video

Iconic vinyl art has taken a turn for the outlandish with Israeli comedy singer Roy Kafri’s latest music video. He not only features classic album covers brought to life, but ones that are, in fact, beatboxing on the street. Bowie beatboxing. Lou Reed beatboxing. If that’s not enough to mess with your mind, it’s filmed in reverse; by the end, we […]

marilyn-louie-closed
Marilyn Louie Temporarily Closes Tiny Bowery Newsstand Due to Flooding

Unfortunately for Marilyn Louie, when it rains, it poors. Literally. This time the weather proved itself an enemy, with downpours sidelining the business. Damn. The embattled newsstand owner – on the Bowery for thirty-eight years – seriously can’t catch a break. Heavy rainfall last week and its resultant flooding reportedly forced [Chinese language] the longtime newsstand […]

hanksy-eazyebola
Hanksy Gets All NWA with ‘Eazy-E Bola’

Street artist Hanksy is tapping right into global fear of an Ebola outbreak. His latest piece is self-proclaimed, “straight outta Congo.” The sticker sized placement is in eastern Chinatown and features the one and only Eazy-E Bola and his virus strain neck. Meanwhile, Hanksy continues to explore street art around the country with his new “Surplus […]

agent-provocateur-elizabeth
Agent Provocateur is Opening a Third Manhattan Location on Elizabeth Street

Haute lifestyle boutique Condor is no longer part of the gold-coast landscape of Little Italy. The business closed its three-year-old shop at 259 Elizabeth Street at the end of August, but has been running a pop-up locale down on Kenmare Street in the interim. Now it’s again without a home. Condor flew the coop thanks […]