UPPER EAST SIDE (PIX11) — A who’s who of New York political royalty turned out to bid farewell to former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a transformative leader who helped lead a renaissance in New York during three terms as hizzoner.
“No mayor has ever embodied the spirit of New York City and no one mayor ever will,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his address.
Former President Bill Clinton was among the speakers at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side, which was packed to capacity.
“Ed Koch had a big brain, but he had a bigger heart. We will miss you. How are we doing? Well, because you lived and served us well,” Clinton said.
Clinton earned laughter as he help up a batch of papers: “This isn’t my speech. These are just the letters from Ed Koch when I was president.”
Indeed, it was hard to tell if it was a Friars Roast or funeral, so heavily was the service drenched with Koch humor. The funeral was like a camp reunion, with endless stories about classic Koch.
Koch was a staunch supporter of Israel who Jewish faith was essential to his identity.
“Ed Koch was one of us.Through his charm and chutzpah, he became a clarion voice for Israel. Ed never let us down,” said the consul general of Israel.
An honor guard carried Koch’s casket out to organ music as the entire Temple bursts into applause.
Koch was buried at Trinity Cemetery in Washington Heights, eschewing traditional Jewish cemeteries in favor of a bustling graveyard that kept him in his beloved Manhattan forever.
James Ford and Marvin Scott contributed to this report.