NEW YORK (AP) — Ed Koch is being remembered as the quintessential New Yorker — an admired but tough, colorful former mayor who will be honored at his funeral by former President Bill Clinton.
At the service Monday morning at Manhattan's Temple Emanu-El, mourners will also hear about Koch's other fierce loyalty: Israel. The Israeli consul general is set to speak, along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
And New York Police Department helicopters are expected to fly over the synagogue in honor of Koch.
About 350 people were already standing in two lines outside the temple more than an hour before the funeral began. The crowd braved temperatures in the low 20s and a fierce wind as helicopters hovered overhead.
Inside, six uniformed officers from the NYPD and the fire department were standing alongside his wooden coffin as part of Koch's honor guard.
Koch was a friend of both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and was helpful during her successful campaign for the U.S. Senate from New York, according to Koch spokesman George Arzt. Koch also backed Hillary Clinton in her presidential run.
Bill Clinton will serve as a representative for President Barack Obama at the funeral.
Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at age 88.
The funeral will be held at one of the nation's most prominent synagogues, a Reform Jewish congregation on Fifth Avenue. Bloomberg is a member, as are comedian Joan Rivers and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
"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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