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Opening: Koch


Neil Barsky’s documentary about former New York City major Ed Koch commences in 1977 as the city is on the verge of bankruptcy. Abe Beame was mayor and Koch was running against him as an underdog among seven different candidates. By 1981, New York is booming and Koch is reelected by a landslide, landing on the cover of Time magazine as “the man who runs New York.” Koch, who describes himself as a “liberal with sanity,” is a crafty politician who ultimately embraces business as he spearheads the transformation of Time Square and then finds a way to gentrify the Bronx. A former Wall Street Journal reporter, Barksy not only does a good job of depicting the strife that existed in New York during the late ’70s, but he also paints a fascinating portrait of a political leader who wasn’t afraid to go against the grain and take on striking transit workers and shut down a Harlem hospital (a decision Koch says he now regrets). Cedar Lee Theatre.

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