Edward Irving "Ed" Koch was an American lawyer, politician, political commentator, movie critic and reality television arbitrator. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977 and three terms as mayor of New York City, which he led from fiscal insolvency to economic boom, from 1978 to 1989.
Koch was a lifelong Democrat who described himself as a "liberal with sanity". The author of an ambitious public housing renewal program in his later years as mayor, he began by cutting spending and taxes and cutting 7,000 from the city payroll after the expansive Lindsay and Beame administrations. As a congressman and after his terms as mayor he was a hawkish supporter of Israel. He crossed party lines to endorse Rudy Giuliani for mayor in 1993, Michael Bloomberg in 2001, and President George W. Bush in 2004.
A popular figure, he rode the New York City Subways and stood at street corners greeting passersby with the slogan "How'm I doin'?" His private life was enigmatic, with speculation about his sexuality, which he rebuffed as nobody's business but his own; he had no children, and no publicly acknowledged romantic relationships, but declared his heterosexuality after his retirement. He did not enjoy, however, the same uncontested popularity among some gay New Yorkers, as many were critical of his response to the beginnings of the AIDS crisis in 1981, seeing his inaction as a result of what they saw as his "closeted lifestyle". Koch won re-election in 1981 with 75 percent, the first New York mayor to win endorsement on both the Democratic and Republican party tickets. He won his second re-election with 78 percent of the vote. His third term was fraught with scandal regarding political associates, although it never touched him personally, and with racial tensions including the murder of Yusuf Hawkins a month before a fourth primary which he lost in a close race to New York City's first black mayor, David Dinkins.