The death of Mayor Koch is not a surprise. At 88 he had become frail. Now come the memorials. Let's hope they don't lose their perspective. Ed Koch was no saint. He had a sharp tongue, and over his many years in public life he made many enemies. But he was also much loved in NY. Before Koch, the city was drifting in a post-Robert Moses funk. It was dirty and unsafe and in many ways just didn't work. Koch did much to turn the city around. And he didn't apologize for being a New Yorker. When he asked "How am I doing?" don't think it wasn't with much irony. What could possibly stop a New Yorker from telling you how you're doing. And it's not usually going to come with a hug or a pat on the back, although Koch was the exception, on the boardwalk in Coney Island or in the subway under Manhattan, people told him to keep up the good work. We appreciated what he was doing for the city. NY is and was and always will be a tough place, on a personal level. But it's a place of symbols. Koch was us, and the reflection wasn't so bad. We have a sense of humor, a sense of what-the-fuck. Somehow we'll get through this, and a feeling that it can be better if we work together, dammit. Koch embodied that for his generation.