My Lunch with Ed Koch
Koch and I crossed paths in 1988, toward the end of his third and final term. By this time I hated Koch with a passion. He was shrill and arrogant and had gone progressively right wing after a career as a model liberal congressman. By the end of his mayoralty New Yorkers either loved him or hated him. When my coworkers and I entered the restaurant we noticed that Koch was holding court at a big, round table. Just then the devil got into me. In the loudest possible stage whisper I said to one of my colleagues, “So Howard, who do you think will be the next mayor? David Dinkins? Ruth Messinger? Anybody would be an improvement.” The mayor and his cronies looked our way. From then on they were a bit less animated, more self-conscious.
As the mayor and his posse were leaving the restaurant a toady at another table said, “Your honor, what do you recommend.” In his cracked, whiny, nasal voice Koch replied, “The uh steamed oysters in the uh shell are very good.”
I don’t remember what we ate, but it was one of my most memorable lunches. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Koch choke again.
* July 26, 1981