Day 680

Ed Koch

November 9th, 2013

As we learned back in the early days of this walk, former mayor Ed Koch convinced Trinity Church Cemetery to label a nearby entrance "The Jewish Gate" so he could feel more comfortable being buried in a non-Jewish cemetery. The rabbis he consulted on this matter also suggested having rails installed around his plot (presumably as a barrier between him and the non-Jewish graves), but he appears not to have heeded that advice.

Koch designed his own headstone and had it installed while he was still alive, with only the dates of his birth and death left to be carved. According to the NY Times, "He laid out precise instructions for the design and the inscriptions*, and even inspected it himself when it was completed in 2009." After he passed away in February, however, the engraver made a mistake while etching his birth year, accidentally transposing two digits (carving 1942 instead of 1924). Shortly after the error was noticed (and reported with gusto in the news media), the engraver returned to the cemetery and corrected the date. Only on close inspection can you see where the erroneous digits have been filled in.

* I find the attribution of the quote near the middle of the monument needlessly divisive: "Daniel Pearl, 2002, just before he was beheaded by a Muslim terrorist."

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