Elected officials reacted Friday to the death of Edward I. Koch, 88, who served three terms as mayor of New York in the '80s, offering their condolences to his loved ones and lamenting the loss of one of New York's most iconic leaders.
State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, said the former mayor was a political mentor.
"For Koch, there was no problem too small or too big to address on behalf of his constituents throughout the city," the senator said. "If it was important to them, it was important to Mayor Koch. Years later, as an elected official, I modeled my governing style after his, always staying true to the people who elected you."
Jerry Iannece, chairman of Community Board 11, said Koch was an "inspiring figure for all would-be civic leaders and politicos."
"For those who want to go into elected office, he's the kind of guy you'd want to model yourself after," Iannece said. "He got in your face and got things done. He had no pretense about it. He made a profound, long-lasting impression on the landscape of New York City and will be sorely missed."
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-Flushing, said Koch was a "great cheerleader for New York."
"He was a quintessential New Yorker and a larger than life figure in New York politics," she said. "He was colorful and tough but was also a warm person with a terrific sense of humor."
Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, said he met Koch at an early age because his father worked in his administration.
"Mayor Koch was never afraid to cross party lines to do what he thought was right, supporting candidates like Congressman Bob Turner and standing up for Israel," Halloran said. "Perhaps, most of all, it was always clear how much he loved this city."
Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "With the passing of Ed Koch, New York has lost one of our most admired public leaders."
"No New Yorker has - or likely ever will - voice their love for New York City in such a passionate and outspoken manner than Ed Koch," Cuomo said. "New York City would not be the place it is today without Ed Koch's leadership over three terms at City Hall. Mr. Mayor was never one to shy away from taking a stand that he believed was right, no matter what the polls said or what was politically correct."
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it will be hard to imagine the city with Koch.
"We will miss his keen mind, sharp wit and absolute devotion to making a great city the best in the world," he continued. "While we mourn his loss, we know that the legacy of his mayoralty, his commitment to civil rights and affordable housing, and his civic leadership long after he left City Hall, will live on for generations."
Koch dedicated his life to the five boroughs, said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, D-Manhattan, adding he made New York a better place both during and after his time in office.
"He loved this city fiercely and it loved him back," she said. "He saved us from the brink of bankruptcy, raised our spirits, and restored our city’s reputation in the world. He rebuilt our crumbling infrastructure, adding more than 150,000 units of affordable housing. And after leaving office he continued to make New York a better place, inspiring us through his writing, his activism, and his commitment to change."