Koch governed through the worst years of the AIDS epidemic and there were those in the gay communities who felt he could have helped by coming out. But that, of course, was based on a premise he never acknowledged. ‘‘Those who seek to ‘out’ people who may or may not be gay can be described as comparable to the Jew catchers of Nazi Germany,’’ he said.
This can seem a little antique from the vantage of New York in 2013, where one of the candidates for mayor of New York is married to another woman and another, a male, is married to a woman who says she was a lesbian.
But Koch was very much a man of his time and very much his own man. He maintained his refusal to discuss his personal life to the very end. He was close to his sister and her kids and grandkids. He had lunch every weekend with a circle of staff members from his administration. I joined them for their weekly lunch not long ago; without a break, they managed to flit between present-day politics and reminiscences of past grudges and battles. Koch reveled in it all.
Just weeks before he died, a journalist asked Koch when in his life he had been happiest.
‘‘At City Hall,’’ he replied, ‘‘conducting the affairs of the city and providing services to more than 7 million New Yorkers.’’
And always, always talking about it.