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

orchard-hell-retail
Orchard Hell Building Retail Units Sell For $21M

Ever since the branded sidewalk bridge arrived in October, the commercial retail in the base of the 23-story Orchard Hell Building has been dormant. Cushman & Wakefield is still pimping the properties – separate from the Hotel Indigo upstairs – for possible flagship usage. But now, a wrinkle in the story… The Real Deal reported […]

farmhouse-ludlow
‘Farmhouse Restaurant’ Replaces Sebastian LC on Ludlow Street

Our suspicions about the Sebastian LC closure late last year were at least partially confirmed this week. Yes, the corner restaurant is back open, but not with the same moniker. Management is forsaking the French fare for the more generic American style cuisine. Farmhouse Restaurant announced itself a couple days ago with a new sign […]

whynot-orchard
Whynot Cafe on Orchard Street Fails, Looks to Become ‘Sushi Wa’

Whynot, because it couldn’t. Whynot Cafe failed to gain traction due in large part to its inability to secure a full liquor license. Their two bids met stiff resistance from the community including the LES Dwellers. And now it’s on last legs. Rumblings of its closure had circulated for the last week, but their PR […]

goa-taco-extension
Goa-Taco Extends Its Residency on Delancey Another Month; Scouting Permanent Location

Fans of Goa-Taco on Delancey Street will be happy to hear this. The tiny lunch counter alongside Grey Lady just reupped its tenancy for an additional month, and will continue to serve Paratha tacos here through the end of March. “The response has been really positive with us being in the area,” owner Duvaldi Marneweck […]

essex-market-demolition-1
Plywood Fence Arrives at Essex Market Buildings for Demolition Ahead of Essex Crossing

It begins… The first plywood fence of the Essex Crossing mega-project just arrived, with the rear parking lot of 115 Delancey Street now cordoned off. Demolition of the one-story warehouse building is slated to commence early next week – likely Monday – and kick off more than a decade of dust and (additional) noise in […]