Ed Koch was the mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989. Koch was
raised in New York, and ultimately became one of New York's most outgoing
and best-loved mayors. He's best known for his habit of walking up to New
Yorkers at random and asking them "So, how'm I doing?"
Koch succeeded as mayor for one main reason: he was crazy.
Specifically, he was crazy in the in-your-face, up-your-ass,
screw-you-and-your-mother-too way that epitomizes the stereotypical
lifelong New Yorker. At town meetings, citizens would stand up and
bitch at him, and he'd bitch right back at them with his biting, nasal
New York accent. Reporters got the same treatment; they feared him almost
as much as they feared Bobby Knight (though Koch, to be fair, was never
known for throwing chairs). He called himself "a liberal, but one with
sanity," and never hesitated to point out the insanity of any other
liberals (or conservatives, or libertarians, or anarchists, or
whoever sparked his ire).
Perfect. New York needs a mayor who's half a bubble or so off
plumb--rational people can't handle the job. Koch's successor, a man by the name of David Dinkins, was mellow and almost tediously sane; many
city-dwellers remember him (if they remember him at all) as a meek and
ineffectual man about whom there is little to say.
In a bizarre yet curiously appropriate twist, Koch ended up as a
judge on the TV show People's Court--a show rather similar to today's Judge
Judy. And after all these years, he still looks like Frank Perdue of
Editors note: Ed Koch died of congestive heart failure on February 1, 2013. He was 88 years old.