Ed Koch’s Legacy: Restoring New Yorkers’ Self-Respect

Tom McGeveran on growing up in New York during the Ed Koch years, and seeing the mayor succeed in beginning to give New Yorkers back their self-respect:

There are great mayors, sure, but the great churning ocean meeting the captain at the prow—war, banking policy, union squabbles, immigration, the changing workplace, the changing value system—is very, very strong. I think it’s possible that the fact that I’m still here, after grumbling through three mayoralties after Koch’s, and that my parents and two of my siblings and their families still live here, might be proof that something worked, for us, at least. I’ll grumble through the next one too.

The first step in loving New York City is, after all, saying you do. You hope it comes true, someday. The great politicians aren’t just the ones who say it over and over, but the ones who do something to make it so. That, at least, Koch did try–very hard, I think–to do.