Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

"I saw New York below the plane and it belonged to me."

Film critic to film critic and as frequent Cinema Village patrons, I asked former New York City Mayor Ed Koch how he would start his review of Koch. He hesitated for a moment and gave me the above line with that famous twinkle in his eye.

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Barsky's documentary, like his subject, does not shy away from controversy and gives insight into issues from Koch's disputed closing of Harlem's Sydenham hospital, to his rescue of the city on the verge of bankruptcy, to his sexual orientation, which he insisted was "nobody's business".

The film shows how he feels partly responsible for the way Times Square looks now, and he said, after the Film Society screening, how happily surprised he was that his housing program that changed the city was considered his greatest achievement by many. "I don't want to waste my energy on grudges," he said about his feud with governors Mario Cuomo and his son Andrew, which takes up a good part of the movie.

Koch gets his Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty moment, at a political event, while we overhear politicians' voices talk about their children. "Some things are better than politics," they say, while the camera shows Koch, alone, thinking.

Ed Koch remarks in the film: "I want to be in a bustling cemetery." He says: "I believe in the afterlife. I believe in reward and punishment. And I expect to be rewarded. But, you have to make preparations."

He wrote the epitaph that appears on his tombstone himself. It was already in place before his death at the non-denominational Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights. He also has a bench at the gravesite under a tree for visitors to use, even on rainy days.



"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War ll."

Ed Koch died on the day the film about him opened in New York, full story

Reviewed on: 05 Feb 2013
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The life and career of the former mayor of New York City.
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Director: Neil Barsky

Starring: Ed Koch, Michael Bloomberg

Year: 2012

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: US


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