Posts from February 2013
Posted by Carole Stuart on February 03, 2013
When I heard the news of Ed Koch’s being hospitalized again last week, I looked out the window of my apartment in Ft. Lee at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I silently thought, “that’s probably the last time.”
And so on February 1st, the news of Edward I. Koch’s death appeared on Page One of the New York Times, and went on at great length about his career. Articles suggested Koch was both admired and detested, but all agreed he was one of the more colorful people in New York politics.
I knew him as one of our authors. Barricade published his GIULIANI: NASTY MAN in 1991. It is a collection of articles Koch wrote for the New York Post and New York Daily News chronicling Giuliani’s two terms in office. Koch thought Giuliani was a good administrator but believed he had a tyrannical streak, a nastiness, that was an impediment to effective governing.
We came to know Koch by way of Allen G. Schwartz, who was Lyle’s partner when Barricade Books started. Within a few years he was appointed a federal court judge and gave up his association with Barricade.
Allen was Koch’s law partner when they were both new attorneys. They shared one desk, sitting opposite each other in a very modest office. As Koch’s political career grew he promised Allen that one day Koch would be mayor of New York and Allen’s son, David, would have his bar mitzvah party in Gracie Mansion. He kept that promise.
Allen remained one of Koch’s closest friends and after the first mayoral win, Koch called him the morning after his inauguration and asked Allen, “What job do you want?” Allen took only a moment to respond, ”Corporation Counsel,” and Koch granted him his wish. They remained great friends until Allen’s death in 2003.
Koch, who was remembered by many for his standby remark, “How’m I doing?” was a great promoter of himself and his books. We had a book signing for GIULIANI: NASTY MAN at Bookends, a terrific independent bookstore in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he sold more than 160 copies. People were lined up outside the store waiting to get in to buy a book and listen to his stories.
I will always remember him as a good guy.
A recent book, “GOING CLEAR: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” by Lawrence Wright exposing the Church of Scientology just appeared on the New York Times best seller list high up on the non-fiction list. Good job!
Many of the readers of this blog will not be surprised that Barricade had its own expose of Scientology written by Bent Corydon and published in 1996.
Corydon had left Scientology and wrote about the Church as a number of other ex-Scientologists had done. The run-up to publication was quite an adventure, much of it unpleasant. I went with Lyle to the celebrity headquarters of Scientology in Hollywood where they put on a great show trying to convince him not to publish the book. If you knew Lyle, you would know it only made him more eager to publish.
In the months before publishing, Scientologists were turning up in the parking lot of our offices in Secaucus, N.J. and also in front of our apartment building in Fort Lee in an attempt to discourage bringing the book out.
They are determined “good soldiers” who work for their Church. They use threats and intimidation against those who write about them in any negative way. What they didn’t realize was that Lyle was fearless. And, of course, Barricade published the book.
There’s an interesting aspect to the story. When Lyle came out of military service after World War II, with the help of the G.I. Bill he took a few writing classes at New York’s New School. In his class were such budding writers as William Styron, Mario Puzo and, yes, L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard, went on to his first success as a science fiction writer. But back then he said to Lyle, “If you really want to get rich, you should start a religion.”
Until next time
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