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

Photo: ABC No Rio facebook page
DIY: Make Your Own Future Band Flyers for ABC No Rio’s Final Exhibit

You know all of those wouldn’t-it-be-great band names that you’ve come up with when you are in a slightly “altered” state? Here’s your chance to create that band. Well, sort of. ABC No Rio has been the host for many a hardcore punk band in the past. But their makeshift creative space, carved out of […]

Photo: The Guardian
The Strokes Announce Week-long Pop-up Shop at 352 Bowery

This week, hometown heroes The Strokes previewed new material from their forthcoming four-song EP. It’s the first concrete output since the band’s 2013 release, Comedown Machine. Future Present Past, as the record is dubbed, debuts on June 3 (though, currently on Spotify), via singer Julian Casablancas’ own Cult Records imprint. While native advertising has been […]

allen-bathhouse-asbestos-6
Back Inside the Long-Shuttered Allen Mall Bathhouse [PHOTOS]

The long-vacant Allen Mall Bathhouse is getting a deep scrub-down. As previously reported, the Parks Department last week commenced asbestos abatement activity with the purpose of returning the decades-old facility to community use. Namely, a “comfort station” that offers an affordable food stand and (possibly) bike repair station. Due to the ongoing work, we now […]

rivington-house
Tell Mayor de Blasio to Reverse the Rivington House Deal [PETITION]

It’s not enough that Councilwoman Margaret Chin introduced legislation to prevent another Rivington House situation from happening. Or that our public officials continue to assert that the deed restriction process will require more scrutiny in the future. Here’s what needs to happen: the $116 million deal needs to be rescinded, the lifted deed reinstated, and […]

calexico-space-1
City Marshal Comes for Calexico 9 Months After Closure; Croman Wants $12,500 for the Space

For the first time in forever, the roll-down security gates are open at 153 Rivington Street. The shutters have been perennially – more or less – closed since Calexico faded from the commercial landscape last July. Pasted to the window is the familiar computer-printed City Marshal seizure notice. The order was issued last week; better […]