NEW YORK (PIX11)- The table gradually filled up with longtime friends and colleagues of mayor Ed Koch. It’s a group that meets for lunch every Saturday.
It started with three people in the mid-sixties, and grew. While some of the faces changed through the years, he was the steady Eddy, and now he’s gone.
For friend and colleague Peter Aschkenasy it is a bitter sweet day. “As you sit here today what goes through you, certainly there’s a sense of sadness. There’s also the sense this is a life well lived.”
Koch was more than a friend to Arnie Kriss, “he for me personally was like a mentor like a third parent, just wonderful.” He continued by saying “he loved life he loved us and we loved him.”
They would pick from a handful of their favorite restaurants each week. Today it was the Peking Duck House in Chinatown. The owner, Wun Yin Wu was proud to call Koch a regular who raved about their signature dish. “He liked your duck better than the duck he got in Beijing. He tell me big compliment right.”
And of course with the food has come some great verbal sparring over a range of topics, from politics to movies, and you know who didn’t hold back.
“He liked the whole give and take; he loved arguing he loved disputing things.”
“Each one of us had to come with something….what did the mayor come with? Guess who called me,” according to Georgw Arzt. Arzt was Koch’s press secretary who remained his spokesperson until the end. He says the long standing tradition has been one of the better kept secrets in town. “He gave you the dirt he gave us everything there were no reporters present.”
This was actually act two. The guys would first meet up at mayor Koch’s Greenwich Village apartment, “if he was looking over this table today… I’d got to have the duck and eggplant.”