One of the city's "grandest" landmarks survives to this day in part because Ed Koch fought to help it survive, and the former mayor was remembered there Friday as Grand Central Terminal celebrated its centennial. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
While celebrating the 100th birthday of one of the city's most iconic buildings, it was hard for those on hand to not remember one of the city's most iconic leaders.
"In the lead-up to this great celebration, there was a photograph in one of the daily newspapers of Ed Koch, member of Congress, with Caroline Kennedy's mother, Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, leading the charge, leading the fight to save this great terminal," said Robert Tierney, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Tierney was referring to Koch's support for preserving the building in the 1970s when there was talk of demolishing it.
Kent Barwick was head of the Municipal Arts Society at the time.
"It was decided to have a press conference, and it was hard to get people. It was a new idea," Barwick said. "Ed showed up immediately and came with Bess Myerson. He spoke very effectively."
Myerson was his commissioner of Consumer Affairs at the time and a former Miss America. Years passed, and by the time a Supreme Court decision ruled the city had the right to protect Grand Central, Koch was mayor.
"His heart was in this, and it's ironic and sad today, on the anniversary of the terminal, that it's also his last day," Barwick said. "But maybe that will be a good way to remember him."
Commuters NY1 spoke with said they will certainly remember him for his straightforward style.
"He was one of the best mayors of the city of New York, and I will appreciate all that he did for the city of New York," said one.
"Because of his style," said another. "That's what made him a household name for the city."
And of course, there is his famous question of "How am I doing?"
"I remember as a teenager, growing up here in the city and my first girlfriend, I would debate with her. And once we got into problems, I would say, 'How'm I doing?'" said one person. "He was an icon to this city."