Edward N. Costikyan ’49 LL.B. was a skilled attorney and pathbreaking leader in New York City politics who served as head of Manhattan’s Democratic Party in the 1960s. He passed away on June 22, 2012, at the age of 87.
Costikyan was born in Weehawken, N.J., in 1924. He received an A.B. from Columbia College in 1947 before graduating first in his class from Columbia Law School two years later.
After earning his law degree, Costikyan spent three years as law secretary for Judge Harold R. Medina 1912 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. He made his first foray into New York City politics in the mid-1950s as a district leader for the Democratic Party. In 1962, Costikyan was elected county leader for the New York County Democratic Party, and he is widely credited with disassociating the party from the infamous Tammany Hall political machine.
In 1977, Costikyan embarked on a short-lived bid for the Democratic nomination for New York City mayor. He eventually supported Ed Koch as the party’s candidate and became his campaign manager. After Koch was elected, Costikyan served as his first deputy mayor. Over the next two decades, Costikyan served on numerous government committees, including the joint state and city Committee on Integrity in Government, the body tasked with investigating instances of government corruption and recommending reforms. He also worked as a special adviser on education and governance to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the mid-1990s. In addition to his many government posts, Costikyan served as a partner, and later as of counsel, at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Costikyan served as a Columbia University trustee from 1981 to 1993. He also founded the school’s Occasional Oratorio and Orchestral Society, and helped organize the society’s annual holiday concert each year.
Costikyan is survived by his daughter, Emilie; his son, Gregory; his brother, Andrew; and five grandchildren.