New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) stands with former New York mayors Rudolph W. Giuliani (C) and David Dinkins as they salute the casket of former New York Mayor Ed Koch following his funeral services in New York, February 4, 2013. Koch, the voluble three-term mayor who helped bring New York back from the brink of fiscal ruin in the 1970s and came to embody the city with his wry, outspoken style, died on February 1, 2013 at the age of 88. (Photo : REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
On Monday, friends, family members, dignitaries and noted politicians said goodbye to New York City Mayor Ed Koch during his funeral service which was held not far from the 59th Street Bridge which was remained the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in 2011.
Ed Koch served three terms as mayor of the city that he passionately loved from 1978 to 1989 helping to revitalize the city's economy and creating housing for moderate and low-income people. However, he was criticized during his tenure for not taking a strong stance to help urban communities, fight the AIDS epidemic and for being a closeted gay politician.
As his coffin was carried New York Police Department officers, Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" befittingly rang throughout the highly esteemed synagogue on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. NYPD helicopters also flew overhead.
Koch died on Friday, February 1 of congestive heart failure at age 88. However he made provisions far in advance for his funeral and his cemetery which is "conveniently located near a subway stop" so that New Yorkers visit his grave, said his former chief of staff Diane Coffey.
During the service, Mayor Michael Bloomberg described Koch as "brash and irreverent," but joked that he was probably "beaming" from all the attention he getting due to his death. "No mayor, I think, has ever embodied the spirit of New York City like he did," Bloomberg said. "And I don't think anyone ever will."
Bloomberg also praised the late Democratic politician for his "his outsized personality matched by his integrity, his intelligence and his independence."
Former President Bill Clinton also spoke during the service saying that Koch "had a big brain, but he had a bigger heart" and recalling his persistent efforts in pushing him to support educational programs for underprivileged children while he was president.