Former Mayor Edward I. Koch, the 105th Mayor of the City of New York, was honored recently at a signing ceremony attended by Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and many Council Members and other dignitaries formally renaming the Queensboro Bridge as the “Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge”.
“When Ed came to City Hall in 1978, New York was reeling from a financial crisis, the streets were dirty, crime was on the rise, and businesses and residents were fleeing for the suburbs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “A sense of despair was in the air – and our very future was hanging in the balance. But with his outsized persona and fierce love for the city, Ed Koch launched one of the most remarkable comebacks in history – balancing the books, establishing a sense of order, and before long, people were coming back, new businesses were opening, and New Yorkers began to believe in their in their city again. This was Ed’s greatest achievement. It’s only appropriate that we name something iconic, something great after Mayor Koch and his work in literally saving this bridge and the rest of the city’s bridges is symbolic of his overall legacy of bringing our city back and building for the future.”
“I’m truly overwhelmed by the honor and very grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and to the members of the City Council for having made it possible – my deepest thanks,” said Mayor Koch.
When Mayor Koch assumed office, much of the City’s infrastructure including the Queensboro Bridge had reached near-critical condition. The disastrous financial situation facing the City and the fact that there was no capital program in place to repair key transportation infrastructure spurred Koch to restart such a program to rebuild much of the transportation infrastructure. Much of the bridge had not even been inspected in nearly a decade. The City’s East River bridges, including the Queensboro Bridge, had been turned over the New York State for stewardship, as the City was no longer able to maintain the structures. Under Mayor Koch, the City regained control of the bridges and began repairing them. Mayor Koch created the Bureau of Bridges within the Department of Transportation and fully funded the bureau.
“Ed Koch was the bridge that brought New York City back from the brink of bankruptcy to financial solvency,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “And many New Yorkers feel very close to him for that reason. The City Council is proud to pay tribute to Mayor Koch and his decades of public service with this timeless honor.”
Koch and his administration have been credited for the turnaround of New York City. Jim Capalino was Mayor Koch’s Commissioner of General Services and was a key player in the progress made during the Koch years. He was the youngest Commissioner in New York City’s history (at 28) a record that still stands. Mr. Capalino is a life long friend of Mayor Koch and remains a true admirer of his many accomplishments, including his latest efforts with New York Uprising to create a non partisan redistricting effort for New York State.