Before the Great Recession of 2008 and the atrocity that was 9/11, New York City faced a bankruptcy crisis in the late 1970s—but was rescued by the political agility of Mayor Ed Koch. Over three terms as mayor, Koch restored pride and fiscal stability to New York. The once unlivable city suddenly became the city where everyone wanted to be – a sentiment that has continued for decades. Since then, Koch has become a New York Renaissance man: lawyer, radio and TV personality (including a stint as the Judge on The People’s Court), political pundit, movie and restaurant reviewer, author of nonfiction and crime and children’s fiction, university professor, and public lecturer. There is now even an Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.
Mayor Koch saved the City of New York from bankruptcy and in doing so restored the pride of New Yorkers. During his three terms as Mayor from 1978-1989, he restored fiscal stability to the City of New York, and he was responsible for placing the City on a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) balanced budget basis. He created a housing program which, over a ten-year period, provided more than 150,000 units of affordable housing financed by City funds in the amount of $5.1 billion. He created for the first time in New York City a merit judicial selection system and selected some of the most outstanding public servants to serve in his administration.
Prior to being Mayor, Mr. Koch served for nine years as a Congressman and two years as a member of the New York City Council. He attended City College of New York from 1941 to 1943. In his last year of college, he was drafted into the Army where he served with the 104th Infantry Division. He served in the European Theater of Operations, received two battle stars, the Combat Infantry badge, and he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. In that year, he also attended the New York University School of Law. He received his LL.B. degree in 1948 and began to practice law immediately thereafter.