Friday, December 10, 2010

794 The Ed Koch Bridge, Feelin' Groovy

794 The Ed Koch Bridge, Feelin' Groovy

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch turns 86 this coming Sunday and they're finally giving him the monument he deserves, re-naming the 59th Street Bridge for him. Of course, no one's going to call it "The Edward I. Koch Bridge" anymore than anyone calls it by its present and official name, "The Queensboro Bridge." But that's okay. The name'll be up on the signs and the traffic reporters will drop it in now and then. (Does anyone call the Triborough the "RFK Bridge? Not many yet.) New Yorkers don't take lightly to renaming landmarks. The best example is when LaGuardia renamed 6th Av. "Avenue of the Americas." No one called it that except the tourists and the post office. And now, they've changed it back.)

Koch got a better deal than LaGuardia. You think LaGuardia, you think airport. You think THAT airport and think evil thoughts about crowds, delays, short runways, late and cancelled flights. The 59th Street-Queensboro-Ed Koch Bridge actually works. At least most of the time.

Of course, the era being what it has become, maintenance isn't what it once was. Back in olden times, they were forever painting the thing. They'd start at one end and work their way west, then cross over and work their way back east, by which time it was time to start going west again. And the trolley has been gone since 1955. But you can walk or bicycle where the tracks used to be. And at long last the signs announcing "No Horse Drawn Vehicles Permitted on the Bridge" have come down. But that happened only recently.

So, Ed has his own landmark and, as he is, it is completely New York City, unlike the GWB, the RFK, the Whitestone and the Throgs Neck. No outside agitators -- like the state -- or (shudder!) New Jersey involved in the running of the EIK. Nothing, but nothing is more "completely New York City" than Ed Koch. He looks the part, he sounds the part, he feels the part. He is funny and fearless and famous. He speaks his mind and he makes you want to listen.

Amazing the guy gets anything done at all because people stop him all the time ... to listen. One of the eight zillion things he did was a six minute weekly segment on the broadcast "Bloomberg on the Weekend."

Program host before taping: "Ed, they want you to have a discussion with me about the issues that concern you, so could we please do that this week?"

Koch before taping: "Sure."

And then, he'd take one question and make a speech.

Program host after the taping: "Ed you ran 50 seconds over."

Koch after taping: "So cut out 50 seconds."

Host: "Okay, where?"

Koch: "Anywhere you want."

It took ten minutes to do the segment and an hour or more to find 50 seconds to cut.

Koch has slowed down a bit in the past few years, though he'd deny that.

Probably his most famous self-created aphorism/question is "How'm I doin'?"

You're doing just fine, Your Honor. And please keep on doing. We love you and we love that you're still here and still Ed Koch.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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