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

Rev-Jen-eviction
Evil Misrahi Realty Evicts a Half-Naked Rev Jen (and Troll Museum) from 122 Orchard Street

Legendary Lower East Side performance artist Reverend Jen has been evicted from her Orchard Street home. This apartment also doubles as the location of the popular Troll Museum. No longer. Building owner, and all around reviled landlord, Misrahi Realty, wielded some muscle by pushing Rev Jen curbside this week. A grinning City Marshal with served Jen, who, […]

113 Stanton St., September 2014
After Years of Harassment, SMA Equities Pimps ‘Penthouse’ Offering at 113 Stanton for $8K

This is the epilogue of a well-tread story about how rent regulated tenants are exploited for the future value of gentry. Same old shit for the one and only Mr. Samy Mahfar. SMA Equities purchased 113 Stanton Street back in 2014, and spent the ensuing two years renovating the upstairs units and roof. All at […]

202bowery-restaurant-supply
Another Bowery Restaurant Supply Company Packs it in

Seven years after its arrival, the restaurant supply company at 202 Bowery is now gone. Amazing Value Restaurant Equipment, as the business is aptly entitled, fled the gold coast last week. We’re told that the operation relocated to Brooklyn. A leasing sign in the window points to Jan Sasson’s brokerage handling the store now. Word […]

247cherry-rendering-1
Behemoth on the Backside: Proposed Cherry Street Tower to Reach 1000 Feet

Extell tends to hog headlines when conversations arise about the changing skyline on the Lower East Side waterfront. Their market-rate tower – One Manhattan Square – will reach peak height of some 80 stories. But the real behemoth is on the backside, so to speak. The Cherry Street tower that will trounce the nearby senior […]

Enrique Cruz (L), Photo: Clayton Patterson
Tonight is the Vote for Gigi Li’s Replacement as CB3 Chair

Community Board 3 nominations have been in since late last month. The fifty members of the advisory body will pick their next leader – the Chairperson seat – at the full board meeting tonight. (The public has no say in the matter.) For the last several years, its been Gigi Li atop the heap. Stepping […]