When Nobody Knew They Were Poor

The former mayor’s family had to abandon New York for Newark during the Great Depression.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What was growing up like?

Ed Koch: I was born in the Bronx and I lived there for the first seven years of my life. It was **** Park East. We were on the park side. At age seven, because of the Depression, it was 1931, my father had lost his job, and a job was offered to him by my mother's brother if we came to Newark, New Jersey. And so we moved to New Jersey and I lived there for the next 10 years of my life, and then in 1941, we relocated to New York City, in Brooklyn, Ocean Parkway. It was a nice life. We were poor, like all poor people in those days; we didn't know we were poor. And we got along and the areas that I lived in were 100% Jewish, so I thought the whole world was Jewish.

Question: So, you’ve been lucky enough to live in three boroughs?

Ed Koch: I have lived in the Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and the other two have yet to get me there, but sooner or later, it's possible.