Review: Seeing “Koch” at the Angelika

Posted on: February 4th, 2013 at 6:46 am by


We’ll just go on a limb and say what everyone is thinking. The passing of former mayor Ed Koch early Friday morning was no doubt a boon for the new documentary about his life by Neil Barsky, KOCH. The timing of his passing was eerily precise, as the film opened citywide later that evening in two Manhattan theaters – the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza Cinema. And of course, there was a rather predictable press presence to capture the moment. A line of movie-goers snaking around the lobby, with reporters and camera operators grabbing the necessary interviews and b-roll. Outside, meanwhile, all the requisite news trucks idled curbside. Media frenzy isn’t the proper terminology here, but something close to it.


As for the movie itself, we highly recommend checking it out. It’s an “easy” watch; a candid look at his life – political and personal aspects – that takes the viewer on a nostalgia ride from the oft-romanticized mid-70s through present. Plenty of deep archival eye candy from back in the day. The presentation effortlessly shuffles between the Koch of yore and the Koch of recent past, touching upon the good (saving city from bankruptcy, building affordable housing) and bad (corruption, AIDS epidemic, Sydenham Hospital closure) moments of his storied three-term career.


Koch on the Williamsburg Bridge, OTB and Loew’s Delancey visible.

Best quote, in response to considering another run: “No. People threw me out…and now the people must be punished.”

The funeral service for Koch takes place at 11am this morning at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side. Bill Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg are to eulogize the man.

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