A number of prominent ‘woke’ Democratic politicians, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, want to remove the late ex-Mayor Ed Koch’s name from the 59th Street Bridge – but enemies are blasting the move as ‘culture spiraling out of control’. ‘
The push for the name change is being driven by the Jim Owles LGBT Democratic Club, whose chairman Allen Roskoff despised Koch for his belated response to the AIDS crisis.
The club has sent out a questionnaire to the Pols asking for its approval – and one of its requests reads: “Given that Ed Koch has been shown to have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people with AIDS and was blatantly racist, would you pass a bill support the city to rename the former Queensboro Bridge?”
“Do you authorize the use of your name for such a purpose?” The questionnaire adds and refers to whether the pole would agree to his or her endorsement being made public.
Those signing up with AOC for Cancel-Koch’s cause include State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; city attorney and gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams; Congressmen Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries; Mark Levine, President of the Borough of Manhattan; and Vanessa Gibson, President of the Bronx Borough.
Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council renamed the Manhattan-Queensbridge bridge the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge in 2011, about two years before the irreverent ex-mayor — who taunted New Yorkers with “How’m I doin ‘” greeted. ?” and described himself as “a liberal with brains” – died.
But Roskoff says Koch was a closeted homosexual who didn’t do enough to advance gay civil rights, even during the AIDS crisis, and therefore didn’t deserve the honor.
Roskoff admitted to The Post on Friday that his case against Koch is personal.
“Two of my lovers died of AIDS in my arms. I hold Koch partially responsible,” he said. “Ed Koch refused early on to acknowledge the AIDS crisis.”
One of his late lovers was Jim Owles, after whom the political club is named.
But a former top chef aide slammed the attack on his ex-boss – saying any politicians complicit in the allegation were guilty of shameful pandering.
“What would Ed Koch say about that? He’d call them a bunch of crackpots,” said former Koch press secretary George Arzt, echoing a typical joke the former mayor often made.
“Boy, some people will do anything for validation.”
Ocasio-Cortez was among those who didn’t answer the question on the lengthy questionnaire, but a representative said Friday it was a mistake.
“We support renaming the bridge,” an AOC representative told The Post.
Several other prominent Pols, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, dodged it and also did not refine or answer the question on the questionnaire.
“Reg. Hochul is not looking at ways to rename bridges like some of her predecessors, although she would support the city’s efforts if a bill were introduced with community support,” her office said in the questionnaire.
Hochul was referring to her predecessor, the disgraced ex-gov. Andrew Cuomo, who renamed the new Tappan Zee Bridge after his father, former three-year Governor Mario Cuomo.
Sen. Chuck Schumer skipped the questionnaire survey. He was unavailable for the post on Friday.
Williams boasted on the questionnaire that he voted against renaming the Koch Bridge when he was a Brooklyn City Councilman. The resolution was then passed with 38:12.
Some opponents of the move expressed surprise that elected officials representing areas where Koch was very popular – Manhattan’s East Side and Queens – want to remove him.
Queens Councilman Robert Holden, whose district overlaps with Meng’s, slammed the congresswoman for contempt for Koch and expressed dismay that DiNapoli turned on him.
“That’s outrageous. The abandon culture is out of control. If Meng joins the abandon culture, maybe voters should cancel her,” Holden said.
He said it was easy to “cherry pick” from Koch’s 12-year tenure as mayor, adding, “Nobody cared about the city more then than Ed Koch.
“He worked very hard to help the city.”
Meng replied in the questionnaire, “I would like to support the city’s effort to rename the bridge.
“I welcome any contact to my office with the details and proposed names for this purpose.”
Maloney added, “As a federal representative, I don’t have jurisdiction, but I would support renaming the former Queensboro Bridge.
“Yes, I authorize the use of my name for this purpose,” said Maloney, whose county includes Span.
Jeffries said he’s also “open” to the name change.
But former Brooklyn City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, a Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, voted to rename the Koch Bridge at the time — and said she now supports it.
“The renaming came after a long, public process and debate. I would resist efforts to repeal this law,” she said in her response to the political club.
Still, Brooklyn City Councilman Chi Osse said he was involved in discussions about introducing a resolution to remove Koch’s name from the bridge.
“I support Allen in his efforts to do this,” Osse told The Post on Friday.
Roskoff said Manhattan City Councilman Erik Bottcher agreed to introduce the resolution.
Bottcher declined a request for comment from The Post.
The naming of the Koch Bridge caused little fanfare at the time of its introduction.
A year later, former Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. proposed legislation to remove Koch’s name from the 59th Street Bridge, but only because he didn’t think the Queensboro Bridge should be named after anyone — just like the Manhattan or Brooklyn bridges. Vallone said another structure should have been named in Koch’s honor.
The push to replace Koch’s name on the bridge also came up during a recent meeting that LGBT activists and council officials had with Mayor Eric Adams.
City Hall had no immediate comment on the matter to The Post.
The Cancel Koch movement comes amid a campaign to remove the Christopher Columbus statue from Columbus Circle amid complaints that the famous explorer has slaughtered Native Americans.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/29/woke-dems-want-to-strip-ex-mayor-ed-kochs-name-from-bridge/ “Woke” Dems want to drop ex-Mayor Ed Koch’s name from Bridge