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Mayor Koch’s Friends: What You Saw Was What You Got

Richard Ravitch On NYC Legend: 'He Was Comfortable In His Own Skin'
Former New York Mayors Ed Koch (R) and David Dinkins look on before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers his annual State of the City address at Morris High School Campus on January 12, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Education reform was a significant part of Bloomberg's address. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Former New York Mayors Ed Koch (R) and David Dinkins look on before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers his annual State of the City address at Morris High School Campus on January 12, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Education reform was a significant part of Bloomberg’s address. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ed Koch’s closest friends couldn’t hold back their emotions Friday as they spoke glowingly about the former mayor.

“What you saw was what you got,” Koch confidant George Artz told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Those who knew him best said Koch was in private almost exactly as you saw him in public, but even more candid and frank.

“He was comfortable in his own skin. He didn’t have much life outside all that. He never got married. He didn’t have a family and besides the enjoyment of eating and going to the movies he was totally absorbed by making politics better and making the city better,” Richard Ravitch said.

Photo Gallery: Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch

Long-time aide and associate Artz delivered Koch’s plans for his own funeral Monday to City Hall on Friday, and was overcome with emotion as he recalled his final conversation with hizzoner.

“He had a raspy voice and he struggled to find words. He told me he was tired and besieged. Shortly after that he went to the ICU,” Artz said, adding when asked if he knew then that he was saying goodbye, “I think we both knew, yeah.”

More casual acquaintances were stung by Koch’s passing as well. Neighbors at his building near Washington Square said he was always relaxed and easy to talk to.

“It’s very sad. I think everybody’s sad,” Nick Von Speyr said.

The Midtown barber he used these past 13 years said he last came in two weeks ago, between trips to the hospital, for a shave and conversation.

“He’s smart, not book smart, real smart. He respects somebody’s opinion. He was a gentleman, a great, great gentleman and I love him and I miss him,” Alex Fuzayalov said.

Frank Chaney worked at the same law firm and collaborated with Koch on several projects. The loss, he said, hit him like a freight train.

“I walked by his office this morning and went in and just sat down in one of the chairs and looked around and felt very emotional.

I’m not going to walk by his office and see him sitting behind his desk anymore,” Chaney said.

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