He was as colorful as they come. A true character. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch certainly left an impression on a college crowd in the City of Newburgh some 30 years ago. Our Christian Farrell has more that memorable visit.
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- The year was 1985. Then-Mayor of New York City Ed Koch was invited to speak at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
"He came at the urging of Father James Gilhooley who was a good friend of his. And at the time was the chaplain at the Mount," said English professor James Cotter.
Cotter has been teaching English at Mount Saint Mary College since 1963. Yet, Cotter says he vividly recalls Koch's visit nearly three decades ago.
"It certainly was a dramatic arrival. I don't think anyone before or since has ever come on campus by helicopter. He got right off - greeted everybody. And made himself quite at home," said Cotter.
Some might consider Koch the quintessential New Yorker. Born in the Bronx. Tough, witty, and a tireless worker. That day Cotter says Koch seemed at ease talking to a college campus crowd 60 miles north of Manhattan.
"He answered questions right from the audience. He was quite humorous, and detailed, spontaneous. It was really a marvelous, one of the best performances I've seen at Aquinas Hall over the years," said Cotter.
According to Cotter, Koch didn't just visit Newburgh. He says Koch also displayed a knowledge of the city's troubles and triumphs during his talk. And one other thing Cotter says, Koch made sure to ask the crowd his own question. The one he asked with regularity: "How I'm doin'?"