The Best Lines from the Great Ed Koch Obituaries

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died early this morning at the age of 88. Below are some highlights from the many glowing remembrances of the very memorable politician.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died early this morning at the age of 88. Below are some highlights from the many glowing remembrances of the very memorable politician.

The Wall Street Journal:

"He was New York," said John LoCicero, a chief political aide for Mr. Koch and a longtime friend.

The Washington Post:

“How’m I doing?” the mayor liked to bellow as he gallivanted up and down city streets, arms raised above his lanky frame, bald pate bobbing. His signature greeting was delivered in a whiny, nasal voice that was as recognizably New York as the screech of an A train.

The Jewish Week:

With Koch, the qualities of the street-smart, fast-talking, occasionally off-putting Jewish New Yorker were always on full display. He denied the New York Giants a parade permit to celebrate their 1987 Super Bowl victory because they played their home games in New Jersey. He heckled the hecklers.

The New York Post:

His 1982 gubernatorial bid blew up after Koch mouthed off about life outside his hometown. "Have you ever lived in the suburbs?" Koch told an interviewer who asked about a possible move to Albany. "It's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life."

The New York Sun:

Mayor Bloomberg named a bridge to Queens after him, a choice [Koch] appreciated. “There are other bridges that are more beautiful, like the GW or the Verrazano, but this more suits my personality cause it’s a workhorse bridge,” he told WNYC. “I mean, it’s always busy. It ain’t beautiful but it is durable.”

The New York Daily News:

In August 2008, firefighters and paramedics raced over to his Greenwich Village apartment after he accidentally set off his Life Alert pendant in his sleep. He jovially told the Daily News that he had not died. “To the consternation of my enemies, I'm still alive,” the then 83-year-old said.

The National Review:

Although he was known publicly for almost never confessing error, in reality I found Ed Koch to be one of the few politicians I ever met who could listen to an argument and then say, “You may be right. I may be wrong” and mean it.

New York:

Today, it would seem unthinkable — perhaps, some might say, unwise — to have another populist mayor who was deeply suspicious of the financial sector. But for Koch, appealing to Main Street was less a political play than an expression of who he truly was.

The Associated Press:

"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 had a quip for every occasion and once said he wanted to be mayor for life. He was the only U.S. mayor to have a bestselling autobiography that was turned into an off-Broadway musical.

The New York Times:

Out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.


Mr. Koch is survived by New York itself, as an old friend put it a few years ago.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.