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

RIP TAYlOR SWIFT by CHICO LES
Chico & La Petite Mort Say ‘RIP Taylor Swift’ with New Mural on Orchard Street

Chico spent his last night in town painting a gate on Orchard Street, before heading south for the winter. And it’s timely. The new mural – sprayed onto the exterior of La Petite Mort – skewers Taylor Swift and her role as “Global Welcome Ambassador” for New York City. “RIP Taylor Swift,” reads the artwork, […]

grinch-roast-beast
Katz’s Deli Teams Up With The Grinch To Serve a ‘Roast Beast’ Sandwich This Holiday Season

Katz’s Deli is ringing in the holidays by joining forces with one of the season’s most nefarious, misunderstood characters – the Grinch. Owner Jake Dell is crafting a limited edition sandwich for their holiday menu – that of the “Roast Beast” variety. No word yet on if they’ve locked down the cartoon or Jim Carey for the […]

finebb
Fineline Tattoo Has an ‘All Hallow’s Eve Tattoo Party’ with $31 Tatts Today

For the year’s on the turn, and it’s All Souls’ night, When the dead can yearn and the dead can smite. -Edith Wharton What frightens you on All Hallow’s Eve night? Clowns? Ghosts? Zombies? How about needles? Good, today is your chance to be scared at Fineline Tattoo (21 1st Avenue). Samhain, All Souls’ Night, All Hallow’s […]

jarmulowsky-response
Jarmulowsky Bank Hotel Conversion Issued Full Stop-Work Order After ‘Concrete Incident’

Conversion of the landmark Jarmulowsky Bank Building to shi-shi hotel hit a major roadblock this week. As we first reported, scaffolding came loose from 54 Canal Street early Monday morning. Apparently pressure from recently-poured concrete atop the 1912 Beaux Arts-style structure caused the ironwork to dislodge, endangering everyone in the immediate vicinity. An estimate five yards of […]

134bowerysite
Sale of Five Bowery Properties for $45M Threatens Its Rich Cultural History

Yesterday afternoon, we broke the blockbuster news that five historically significant buildings on the Bowery were sold as a package deal for $45 million. While still unconfirmed, it’s rumored that the buyer is John Young of Emmut Properties. Luxury living is allegedly planned for the 75,000 square-feet of buildable real estate, whether through rentals or […]