When Nobody Knew They Were Poor
Ed Koch was the 105th Mayor of New York City, serving 3 terms, from 1978 to 1989. During his time as Mayor, Koch oversaw the city’s resurgence from a severe recession, helped to develop low-income housing, and created legislation that prohibited discrimination by the government based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing and education, among many other achievements. The author of 8 books, including “Citizen Koch” and “My Fight Against Anti-Semitism,” he hosts a show on Bloomberg Radio, was recently a judge for “The People’s Court,“ and writes columns for a variety of publications. Born in the Bronx, Koch achieved the rank of Sergeant while fighting in World War II, before completing his law degree at NYU. He lives in Manhattan.
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.
The former mayor’s family had to abandon New York for Newark during the Great Depression.
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