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Late NY Mayor Koch recalled as 'doting' by family at funeral

NEW YORK--Ed Koch had a big heart and a bigger brain, but the quintessential New Yorker's outsized personality was matched by his integrity, family members and politicians said Monday as they honored the colorful former mayor at his funeral in Manhattan.

An organist played “New York, New York,” the iconic ballad made famous by Frank Sinatra, in a Manhattan synagogue Monday as the former mayor's oak coffin was carried past thousands of mourners, concluding a funeral that recalled the quintessential New Yorker's famous one-liners and amusing antics in the public eye.

Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at age 88.

Recalling Koch as “brash and irreverent,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the man who governed the city during the late 1970s and 1980s must be “beaming” from all the attention created by his death.

“No mayor, I think, has ever embodied the spirit of New York City like he did,” Bloomberg said.

Noah Thaler, Koch's grand-nephew, praised him as a “doting grandfather” who was devoted to his family.

Former President Bill Clinton said the world was a better place because Koch had “lived and served.”

“He had a big brain,” Clinton said. “But he had a bigger heart.”

The funeral was held at Temple Emanu-El, one of the nation's most prominent synagogues. Parts of the funeral were in Hebrew. Ido Aharoni, Israel's consul general, praised Koch's fervent support for Israel and called him “one of the most important and influential American Zionists of our time.”

“I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone,” Koch told The Associated Press in 2008 after purchasing a burial plot in Trinity Church Cemetery, at the time the only graveyard in Manhattan that still had space. “This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me.”

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