Established in 1982 at LaGuardia Community College/ CUNY with a mission to collect, preserve, and make available primary materials documenting the social and political history of New York City. We hold nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival records and 3,200 reels of microfilm with almost 100,000 photographs and 2,000,000 documents available on our website.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Alair Townsend Debates Ed Koch: "She had the better book!"

Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs

As we approach tomorrow night's mayoral debate at the CUNY Graduate Center, I thought it was a good time to look at how other candidates prepared for a debate by watching a video of Deputy Mayor Alair Townsend describe her experiences as Mayor Ed Koch's practice debate partner in 1985.

To prepare for his debate against City Council President Carol Bellamy, his Democratic Primary opponent, Ed Koch chose Townsend. Townsend claimed she was chosen because she had glasses and high cheek bones like Bellamy, but it is also clear she was a more than worthy debate opponent.  When his campaign adviser David Garth told Koch that Townsend had beat him after the first mock debate, Ed Koch responded by saying, "She had the better [debate] book!"  Watch Alair Townsend describe the debate, her preparation and the debate book in this interview with the La Guardia and Wagner Archives' Tara Jean Hickman.

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