Former New York mayor Ed Koch dies at 88

Former Mayor Ed Koch (L) introduces current Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he opens his Manhattan campaign office and kicks off his bid for re-election in New York, March 29, 2009.

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch died on Friday at age 88 after a year of repeated hospitalizations, a spokesman for Koch said.

As mayor from 1978 to 1989, the forceful, quick-witted Koch, with his trademark phrase “How’m I Doing?,” was a polarizing figure and the city’s constant promoter.

Koch died at about 2 a.m. (0700 GMT) at New York-Presbyterian hospital, the spokesman for Koch said.

Koch was credited with lifting New York from crushing economic crises to a level of prosperity that was the envy of other U.S. cities. Under his leadership, the city regained its fiscal footing and undertook a building renaissance.

But his three terms in office were also marked by racial tensions, corruption among many of his political cronies, the rise in AIDS and HIV, homelessness and a high crime rate. In 1989, he lost the Democratic nomination for what would have been a record fourth term as mayor



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