Wednesday, February 13, 2013

News from the MidCity: Farewell to Hizzoner

We bid a fond farewell to Mayor Ed Koch. In face of massive bureaucratic resistance, he understood the benefits that private management can bring to public spaces.

The passing of former Mayor Ed Koch brings us great sadness, but also stirs many fond memories. Mayor Koch, as the multitude of tributes attests to, was a man of many facets and accomplishments. He was Mayor of NYC when Bryant Park Corporation was founded in 1980, when the city's fortunes were at their nadir. And even though there was a general feeling that things needed to change dramatically at the time, the idea of managing public spaces with private funds was a radical one. Many city officials simply would not take it seriously, and fought fiercely against it. Not so Mayor Koch, who understood our mission and made possible the sort of public-private partnerships in place today.

Mayor Ed Koch at the 100th Birthday celebration of Bryant Park. May 11, 1984.

"Let's be clear," says BPC President Dan Biederman. "Without a Mayor of Ed Koch's vision, Bryant Park Corporation would not have gotten off the ground. In fact, BPC, the 34th Street Partnership, and all the other public-private management groups that have been so important to the city's renewal, would not be here had Mayor Koch not been in office at such a crucial time. He was a great Mayor and a great friend to our organizations. We're going to miss him."

This is an excerpt from Bryant Park's weekly newsletter, MidCity Newswritten by Terry Benoit. MidCity News keeps park enthusiasts informed about our events, milestones, operations, and all of the detailed maintenance work that goes into caring for the park. Weekly updates are sent with our sister organizations 34th Street Partnership and Chelsea Improvement Company

You can read the newly redesigned MidCity News online, or sign up to receive it in your inbox. 

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