March 1, 2011 (Mike Groll/AP)

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch died Friday morning at the age of 88. He plans to be buried in Manhattan, the three-term mayor said in 2008. His headstone and a memorial bench, placed at Trinity Church Cemetery in 2009, evoke his faith and his admiration of a murdered journalist. Koch explained his plans to the Associated Press:

The marker will bear the Star of David and a Hebrew prayer, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One." It also will be inscribed with the last words of journalist Daniel Pearl before he was murdered by terrorists in 2002: "My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish."

Koch explained that he had been moved that Pearl chose to affirm his faith and heritage in his last moments.


Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded while in Pakistan investigating Al Qaeda. He died 11 years ago today.

In an interview with The Washington Post last year, Pearl's father talked about the dangers journalists face:

It may be that Daniel Pearl was a precedent, in that the aura of protection was broken. It was understood even to extreme elements that you don’t touch a journalist, that you will pay, but that myth has been broken. Now they look at the journalist as an agent of a foreign body.

Ed Koch's headstone, with Daniel Pearl's words, awaits him in the cemetery where two other mayors are buried, according to The Bowery Boys.

Koch entered the hospital earlier this week and was moved to the ICU Thursday. But the obituaries were written long before then:

 

After leaving office in 1990, Koch enjoyed being on the other side of journalism. From The New York Times obit:

At various times he wrote columns for The Post, The Daily News, the online magazine Jewish World Review and the right-wing Web site NewsMax.com. He also wrote movie and restaurant reviews for local weeklies.

He made regular appearances on WCBS-TV, had talk shows on Fox television and on WNEW and WABC radio, teamed with former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato for a Bloomberg Radio program and was a frequent commentator on the local news television station NY1.

His remarks often sounded like pronouncements by an officeholder, proposing policy changes and oozing invective for political opponents and journalistic rivals. Mr. Koch denied he was wreaking vengeance on old foes, but, as he told New York magazine, “It’s a lot more fun being a critic than being the one criticized.”

Related: New York Times revises Koch obit to address AIDS controversy | Roundup of Ed Koch obituaries and coverage (Capital)