On Monday, New York’s political and cultural elites will congregate in full-on remembrance mode at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side to remember the one, the only Ed “Howmidoin?” Koch. The former mayor, whose often acerbic, always amusing wit kept him in the public eye long after he’d left Gracie Mansion and put New York back on (a more) solid financial footing, died yesterday at the age of 88. Koch’s longtime friend and spokesman George Arzt tells the Post that former President Bill Clinton — who got to know Koch during his involvement in Hillary’s 2008 presidential bid — is cutting short a trip to Japan to deliver remarks on behalf of President Obama, who will not attend. Meanwhile, NY1 confirms that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will give the eulogy, which he previewed at a ceremony yesterday marking Grand Central Terminal’s centennial.
“The whole city was crumbling, and then we elected Ed Koch,” Bloomberg, who back in 1978 was still a banker at Salomon Brothers, remembered. “When we were down, Ed Koch picked us up. When we were worried, he gave us confidence. When someone needed a good kick in the rear, he gave it to them – and, if you remember, he enjoyed it.” While certainly a somber occasion, Koch’s rowdy, gritty, man of the people myth will no doubt be warmly remembered by the many speakers and well-wishers. Yet perhaps no tribute is more apt than the planned finale: A rousing musical rendition of that ageless soaring classic, “New York, New York.”