Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, who died Friday at age 88, wasn’t shy about expressing his opinion. Here are seven quotes that capture his spirit and spunk.
Ed Koch was bold and principled, gruff and crusading. The former New York City Mayor died Friday morning at age 88. In a career filled with memorable quotes and pithy rejoinders, none stood out like Koch's "How'm I doing?" which he barked at constituents in his quest for constant feedback.
Here are seven other quotes that mark the legacy of one of New York's greatest — and perhaps most memorable — mayors.
1. "Walk over the bridge! Walk over the bridge! We're not going to let these bastards bring us to our knees!" This was Koch’s advice to frustrated outer borough commuters during the 1980 New York City transit strike, and a taunt at striking transit workers.
2. "My answer to questions on this subject is simply, 'F--- off.' Inveterately brash, Koch never took well to inquiries about his sexuality. He was a lifelong bachelor.
3. “If you agree with me on nine out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist." Deeply principled, Koch undertook a series of unpopular measures in office. He knew, however, that he could never please everybody.
4. "I am the sort of person who will never get ulcers. Why? Because I say exactly what I think. But I am the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.” Ever plucky, Koch never backed down from conflict. He famously clashed with former New York City mayors Abe Beame, David Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani, as well as President Barack Obama (over U.S. relations with Israel).
5. "Have you ever lived in the suburbs? It's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life," Koch remarked after losing the 1982 New York gubernatorial race. Many questioned whether he belonged anywhere else besides New York City.
6. "I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone," Koch told The Associated Press. "This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me." Koch was militantly devoted to the city he served and loved.
7. "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish." This last quote wasn't actually uttered by Koch, but is the epitaph he chose for his tombstone. The quote is reportedly the last words uttered by slain journalist Daniel Pearl.
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