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

chinatown-beatdown
Report: Chinese Man Viciously Beaten on East Broadway Last Week [VIDEO]

A Chinese man was viciously beaten outside Carol’s Bun restaurant at 139 East Broadway last week. The incident was captured on tape, and is spreading pretty quickly online. The footage is rather graphic. The incident wasn’t widely reported in the English press, but here’s what happened. According to a report in the Chinese-language NYPBBS, three […]

No Fun was busted in October 2015
‘No Fun’ Nightspot on Ludlow Street Files $2M Defamation Suit Against LES Dwellers

No Fun is headed to the courts to settle the score with the LES Dwellers block association. The troublesome nightclub just filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against the rag-tag activists in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday. The legal action claims that the Dwellers “have employed improper and illegal tactics to terrorize restaurants and bars in […]

ethik-orchard
Ethik Clothing Co. Reopens Across from Its Old Orchard Street HQ

Ethik Clothing Co. may have been down, but certainly not out. Three months after closing shop at 160 Orchard Street, the urbanwear boutique just reopened across the street. Almost catty-corner from its former digs. It takes over where trendy French underwear purveyors, Pull-In, previously operated. Aesthetically, the new spot at 147 Orchard seems like a […]

east-side-smoke
East Side Smoke Shop Opens on Houston Street

​Where hookah was previously promised, a smoke shop of another kind just opened. The former home of A Little Wicked fashion boutique on East Houston Street is now selling bongs, hookahs, pipes, tobacco, and other bodega sundries. (Look in the windows.) Here now is the East Side Smoke Shop, a new dispensary that opened just […]

dudleys-burglary
Several Broome Street Restaurants Targeted in Late-night Burglaries this Week

There was a string of robberies near the corner of Orchard and Broome Streets early yesterday morning. Sources tell us that Kottu House, Dudleys, Erin McKenna’s Bakery (nee Babycakes), and Farmhouse were all burglarized in succession. These restaurants reside within one block of each other. Cops were on the scene at daybreak yesterday and were […]