‘Pie Man’ got Koch out of joint


Aron Kay, the “Yippie Pie Man,” offered Ed Koch a marijuana joint at a book party at Elaine’s in 1979, to which an annoyed Koch responded, “Why do you always have to be so obnoxious, Aron?” Kay, recalling the incident, which was covered by High Times, told The Villager, “Koch shows up and Dana [Beal] and I were smoking Colombian. And Dana and I agreed let’s go up to Koch and blow smoke in his face. We wanted to mess with his head.” Koch already knew Kay from another incident two years earlier during the mayoral campaign. “He saw me pie Abe Beame,” Kay said. “I pied Beame at a debate at Cooper Union.” On the stage with then-Mayor Beame were his rivals, Koch — who would win the race — Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo, Percy Sutton, Barry Farber and Joe Harnett. Kay snuck into the Great Hall using a fake press pass “from a reliable source.” “The cops hated Beame. He had cut back on the cops,” Kay recalled, adding, “Cop discipline was a lot looser. A couple of them knew I had a pie in my bag.” Kay’s pie of choice for Beame was an apple crumb, the message being: “He’s just a big crumb in the Big Apple.” At the decisive moment, Kay rushed toward the raised stage and heaved the pie up toward Beame, grazing his shoulder with it. Abzug, sitting next to Beame, was laughing, Kay said. “Cuomo tried to jump me, but he didn’t get me,” the “Pie Man” said. “He was really pissed, and wrenched his back.” Police ushered out Kay and took him to the Ninth Precinct. At least one officer seemed impressed by his running throw. “One cop asked me, ‘Did you ever play stickball?’ One shook my hand,” he recalled. Beame didn’t press charges and Kay was released after an hour. He went back to Yippie Headquarters, at 9 Bleecker St., to celebrate with Beal and his friends who had been watching the debate on Channel 13.

— Lincoln Anderson