The quotable Ed Koch

New York Mayor EdKoch gestures with his Michael Jackson style glove during the MTV video awards ceremony, Friday, Sept. 14, 1984, New York. Koch introduced emcees Bette Midler and Dan Aykroyd. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett)
New York Mayor EdKoch gestures with his Michael Jackson style glove during the MTV video awards ceremony, Friday, Sept. 14, 1984, New York. (AP Photo/G. Paul Burnett)

With the death of former New York City mayor Ed Koch, America loses one of its most colorful, quotable and consistently funny politicians. Here are some of his best lines.

* On protesters: “If you don’t like the president, it costs you 90 bucks to fly to Washington to picket. If you don’t like the governor, it costs you 60 bucks to fly to Albany to picket. If you don’t like me, 90 cents.”

* On self-respect: "You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to be a punching bag."

* To reporters, at a 1986 press conference: "There's been corruption, as I've said on so many occasions, since Adam and Eve and the two gorillas who came before them. Some of you may be corrupt!"

* During the 1980 transit strike, as commuters walked over the Brooklyn Bridge: “We're not going to let these bastards bring us to our knees!”

* After his inauguration in 1978: “I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers. Why? Because I say exactly what I think. I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.”

* On Donald Trump, during a development dispute: "Piggy, piggy, piggy." Trump responded that Koch was a "moron."

* On his sexuality: "What do I care? I’m 73 years old. I find it fascinating that people are interested in my sex life at age 73. It’s rather complimentary! But as I say in my book, my answer to questions on this subject is simply F--- off. There have to be some private matters left."

* To Playboy, in an interview that may have cost him the governorship in 1982: "Have you ever lived in the suburbs? I haven't, but I've talked to people who have, and it's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life … This rural American thing -- I'm telling you, it's a joke."

* His catchphrase: “How’m I doing?”

* And on dying: “I had a conversation with God: ‘Take me totally or don’t take me. No salami tactics.’ He’s been very good about it.”

Rest in peace, Ed Koch.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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