Remembering Ed Koch

Ed Koch
Mayor Koch's bench plaque at the Great Lawn reads: "Come sit with me and enjoy the pleasures of the Great Lawn in Central Park/ ED KOCH/ Mayor of New York City 1978 to 1989"

The Central Park Conservancy would not exist without Ed Koch. When Mayor Koch assumed office in 1978, a troubled Central Park had become a symbol of the troubled City, crippled by a seemingly unstoppable fiscal crisis. Mayor Koch appointed Gordon Davis as Parks Commissioner and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers as Central Park Administrator, the first time in over 70 years that a single person was responsible for the daily operation of Central Park. Under the Mayor's leadership, Commissioner Davis and the new Park Administrator formed the Central Park Conservancy. In 1980, Mayor Koch had the vision and courage to authorize an unprecedented public-private partnership between the City of New York and the newly formed Conservancy, with the ambitious goal of restoring all 843 acres of Central Park after decades of decay.

Under Mayor Koch's leadership, the Park, and the City, began to revive. His administration laid the bedrock of the safe and stable New York City we live in today. Central Park has never been more beautiful or better managed than it is today, and the partnership Mayor Koch had the foresight to allow has become a model for park systems and conservancies around the world.

Mayor Koch will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on for generations to come in every picnic, stroll, ballgame, and moment of reflection in a safe and vibrant Central Park.

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Things to See

  • Gapstow Bridge

    Curving gracefully over the neck of the Pond at 59th Street, Gapstow is one of the iconic bridges of Central Park. It is the second bridge in its place. The first, a much more elaborate wood and iron bridge, designed by Jacob Wrey Mould, deteriorated and was replaced in 1896.