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Former NYC mayor Ed Koch has died, on the very same day that a documentary about him opens. There’s something theatrically appropriate, something inherently Koch-like, about that.
Maybe it’s that he was mayor all through my teens and into my early twenties (1978–89), but he’s always seemed like the definitive mayor of New York City. He was somehow iconic. How iconic? Well, there was this:
That was the 1983 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short, Sundae in New York. And if you’re wondering about the number of garbage references, yeah, there’d been a 17-day strike of private garbage workers in 1981, and a lot of general tension between Koch and the unions in recovering from the fiscal crisis.
There was also this brief clip in an episode of The Critic:
But the truly amazing thing is that Ed Koch was so much the essence of the New York mayor that his iconic quality stretched backwards through time! You can catch a glimpse of the fictional mayor character in the original 1974 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Even though the movie was made when Lindsay was mayor, and released during the Beame administration, somehow the mayor character looks like Ed Koch: