NYC Dems Want Former Mayor Ed Koch’s Name Off 59th Street Bridge

New York City Democrats including firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., are setting their sights on the late former mayor, and fellow Democrat, Ed Koch in a campaign to remove his name from the 59th Street Bridge, the New York Post reports.

AOC, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, City Advocate Jumaane Williams, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, and Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Hakeem Jeffries, and Grace Meng, have all signed the petition to strip Koch’s name from the structure.

Known for years as the Queensboro Bridge, the span connecting Manhattan with Long Island City in Queens, was renamed for Koch in 2011, two years before the former mayor died at the age of 86, the New York Times reported.

A Democrat, Koch served as a congressman from 1969-78, and then won three terms as the mayor of the Big Apple from 1978-89, a biography from Columbia University said.

His tenure as mayor came during a turbulent period in the city that included racial tensions, a high crime rate, bankruptcy, and the AIDS epidemic.

Koch lost his fourth bid for mayor in the 1989 Democratic primary to David Dinkins, who would become the first Black mayor in the city’s history.

A confirmed bachelor, Koch was suspected of being gay himself, although remaining vague on the topic, according to a 2013 piece in the New Yorker.

Koch was criticized for not doing enough to stop the AIDS epidemic in the city that led to at least 5,000 deaths, mostly among members of the LGBTQ community.

Roskoff, who is leading the effort to remove Koch’s name from the bridge, told the New York Post that the issue is personal to him.

“Two of my lovers died in my arms from AIDS. I hold Koch partially responsible,” he told the Post. “Ed Koch early on refused to recognize the AIDS crisis.”

When the bridge was named for him in 2011, the former mayor said the title was fitting.

“It’s a workhorse bridge,” Mr. Koch said at the time. “And that’s what I am, I’m a workhorse. Always have been. I feel very compatible with it. It’s not soaring, beautiful, handsome, like the George Washington or the Verrazano. It’s rugged, it’s hard working and that’s me.”


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