From a Fox News report: Ed Koch couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate song to herald his final farewell to New York City.
Strains of the famed song, “New York, New York,” rang throughout a Manhattan synagogue on Monday as the colorful former mayor’s coffin was carried past thousands of mourners. The packed crowd broke into a spontaneous standing ovation as the coffin made its way out of the synagogue.
Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at age 88.
Outside on Fifth Avenue, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and David Dinkins held their hands to theirs hearts. NYPD helicopters flew overhead and bagpipes wailed on the freezing February afternoon.
Koch was remembered as the quintessential New Yorker during a funeral that frequently elicited laughter, recalling his famous one-liners and amusing antics in the public eye.
“We had such respect for him because of his outsized personality,” Bloomberg told the crowd. “Matched by his integrity, his intelligence and his independence.”
Koch will be buried at the Trinity Church cemetery in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood.
Recalling Koch as “brash and irreverent,” Bloomberg said the man who governed the city during the 1970s and 1980s must be “beaming” from all the attention created by his death.
“No mayor, I think, has ever embodied the spirit of New York City like he did,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg noted that the funeral was being held near “a certain East River span” — referring to the 59th Street bridge, which was renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in 2011.
Describing the bridge dedication ceremony, Bloomberg drew laughter from the crowd as he recalled Koch stood there for 20 minutes, yelling: “Welcome to my bridge!”
Former President Bill Clinton, who served as a representative for President Barack Obama at the funeral, said the world was a better place because Koch had “lived and served.”
“He had a big brain,” Clinton said. “But he had a bigger heart.”
Koch was a friend of both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and was helpful during her successful campaign for the U.S. Senate from New York, according to Koch spokesman George Arzt. Koch also backed Hillary Clinton in her presidential run.
The funeral was held at a Reform Jewish congregation on Fifth Avenue.
“I don’t want to leave Manhattan, even when I’m gone,” Koch told The Associated Press in 2008 after purchasing a burial plot in Trinity Church Cemetery, at the time the only graveyard in Manhattan that still had space. “This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me.”
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