Ed Koch’s Death Sends New Yorkers to a Matinee

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch attends the celebration of his 85th Birthday at the Bryan Cave LLP Celebration at the St. Regis Hotel on November 18, 2009 in New York City.
Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

In a Koch-ian coincidence, the former New York City mayor died on the very day a movie about him opened, allowing his larger-than-life presence to loom a bit longer. Instead of being marred by his death, Koch, the documentary by Neil Barsky (reviewed here by David Edelstein), may have gotten a little boost from its fateful timing: “I feel terrible about it!” said Marilyn Parker, appropriately clad in all black, at a daytime screening at the Angelika Film Center in lower Manhattan. “That’s why I’m here.”

Of the few dozen others who made it to afternoon showings in Soho and uptown at Lincoln Plaza Cinema, many agreed their opening day dedication was in response to this morning’s sad news. “I was going to see it, but I thought this was a nice way to pay tribute to someone who had an impact on the city that I love,” explained a teary-eyed Sharon Held, who left the theater last. She thought the film was “fabulous.”

I was going to see the movie anyway,” said Simone Sternberg, exiting the movie uptown. “I felt that I had to come today.” Judy Keane agreed, “This was the day to see it. Such a great part of New York history — of my history.” And her viewing partner concurred: “We decided an hour ago to come see it.”

A fellow audience member said she was there “honoring him,” while for Marco Antonio Arroyo, a big Koch fan, it was just one stop on his historical tour of the city. “I’m going to Grand Central after this,” he said, noting the landmark’s 100th birthday. “It should be great.”

Lauren Duca and Jessica Goodman contributed reporting.

Ed Koch’s Death Sends New Yorkers to a Matinee