February 2, 2013

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Koch remembered; former New York City mayor dies at 88

NEWBURGH – To Jonathan Drapkin, president of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress headquartered in Newburgh, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who died early Friday, will be “the smartest elected official I ever worked for.”

Drapkin worked for five years for Koch’s criminal justice coordinator, from 1984-1989, and reported directly to the mayor.

Drapkin, who later served as Sullivan County manager and ran the Gerry Foundation, said Koch was the first mayor to turn the Rotten Apple into the Big Apple.

“He came on the heels of New York City’s fiscal crisis, so the city was crippled from 1975 to 1978, then he becomes the city’s first mayor trying to dig its way out of it, and he does an incredible job in job in showing this ungovernable city has an opportunity to be governed and he gave it a spirit that was lacking when he would stand on street corners and the Brooklyn Bridge and ask, ‘how am I doing,’ and he invited both applause and criticism,” Drapkin told

His loss is “immeasurable,” Drapkin said. “He is someone who , to his dying days, would be happy to be part of anything that would make the City of New York and the State of New York a better place to be. He is an enormous loss in many respects,” Drapkin said.

Drapkin, left, and Koch, at his side, testified at a hearing
in the 1980s

Democrat Koch, center, came to Kingston in 2010 to endorse
Republican George Phillips over incumbent Congressman
Maurice Hinchey. Koch said he agreed with Hinchey on
everything, but Phillips was a stronger supporter of Israel


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