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Rutgers Prof: Koch Responsible For Economic Inequality; Loved Politics

Ed Koch at Esquire Magazine's 70th Anniversary party in New York City - Feb. 20, 2003 (credit: Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Ed Koch at Esquire Magazine’s 70th Anniversary party in New York City – Feb. 20, 2003 (credit: Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

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RIP Ed Koch

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Most people who knew late former New York City Mayor Ed Koch say he was a character. but according to Rutgers University Newark Professor Robert Snyder, his comments weren’t always entertaining.

“He led New York City, but that could make him look down on other places,” Snyder told WCBS 880 reporter Monica Miller.

Snyder is writing a book about New York mayors.

He said that Koch made some questionable economic decisions.

“A push towards a more finance-oriented economy. That set off some of the trends that created economic inequality in the city today,” he said. “Some of the economic policies that he pushed tilted our economy towards high-end real estate in ways that make the city a more unequal place.”

But he said the mayor’s contentious style may have helped New Yorkers in the long run.

“I think that New York City is governed best when its politics is vigorous and active and Ed Koch surely relished that as a mayor,” he said. “When the city had little going for it, his showmanship gave people a belief that there was a tomorrow.”

He also feels there is a big difference between Koch and his successors.

“Koch had a real belief in politics. Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out of the world of business. Mayor Giuliani came out of the prosecutor’s office. But Ed Koch rose to government through politics. He had an appreciation for politics. He valued the give and take of politics,” Snyder said.

Synder asked Koch how he wanted to be remembered.

“He looked forward to being buried in Manhattan so his former constituents could visit him by subway,” he said. “He also said he thought that cemeteries out in New Jersey were insipid places.”

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