Ed Koch Quotes

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Ed Koch

Koch in August 1988
105th Mayor of New York City
In office
January 1, 1978 â€“ December 31, 1989
Preceded by Abraham Beame
Succeeded by David Dinkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York’s 18th district
In office
January 3, 1973 â€“ December 31, 1977
Preceded by Charles Rangel
Succeeded by Bill Green
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York’s 17th district
In office
January 3, 1969 â€“ January 3, 1973
Preceded by Theodore Kupferman
Succeeded by John Murphy
Personal details
Born Edward Irving Koch
(1924-12-12)December 12, 1924
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Died February 1, 2013(2013-02-01) (aged 88)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater City College of New York
New York University
Religion Judaism
Awards

Combat Infantryman Badge
EAME Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal

Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943–1946
Rank Sergeant
Unit 104th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II

Battle of Hürtgen Forest
Battle of the Bulge

We're in the hands of the state legislature and God, but at the moment, the state legislature has more to say than God.
Ed Koch
When all are wrong, everyone is right.
I said, to be a New Yorker you have to live here for six months, and if at the end of the six months you find you walk faster, talk faster, think faster, you're a New Yorker.
Ed Koch
The best way to lose weight is to close your mouth – something very difficult for a politician. Or watch your food – just watch it, don't eat it.
Ed Koch
It's a lot more fun being a critic than being the one criticized.
In a neighborhood, as in life, a clean bandage is much, much better than a raw or festering wound.
Ed Koch
There was always a love-hate relationship with New York in the rest of the country, but I made them feel more love than hate.
Ed Koch
The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.
Ed Koch
I think that every Saturday, we ought to say, 'My father's a Jew, my mother was a Jew, and I'm a Jew,' with great pride.
Ed Koch
Twelve years ago, if someone attacked me, I wouldn't let them get away with it. I'd take them on. I now perceive my job to include allowing people to vent their rage.
Ed Koch
You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to be a punching bag.
Ed Koch
The knife of corruption endangered the life of New York City. The scalpel of the law is making us well again.
Ed Koch
I was drafted into the Army when I was 19 and came out at age 22. Most people that I knew didn't think they'd come home alive. I didn't think I would either, so I was happy when I did.
Ed Koch
Jews have always thought that having someone elevated with his head above the grass was not good for the Jews. I never felt that way. I believe that you have to stand up.
Ed Koch
Citizens, thank you for all your birthday wishes. I am 88 years old today and still lucky to live in the greatest city in the world.
Ed Koch
I probably enjoy campaigning more than most other people in public office because I like people and I enjoy going out there and telling people what I've done.
Ed Koch
I'm sure that people who elected me, some of them thought I was gay, some of them thought I wasn't gay, and most of them didn't care.
Ed Koch
I changed the city of New York. I gave people back their morale.
You want me to tell me the truth or do you want me to stroke you?
If they don't want to pay for it, they can stop drinking it.
I think I have a very good reputation amongst the gay population and among the whole country because I stood up on the issue of gay rights. It is not easy to stand up on that issue when you are single and male in New York City. I did it anyway.
Ed Koch
In action be primitive; in foresight, a strategist.
When I came in, the city was on the edge of bankruptcy. I'm proud of what I did. I built the foundation that mayors after me built upon – particularly Bloomberg. But the foundation was essential because if it hadn't occurred, we would have been another Detroit.
Ed Koch
I was not afraid of the press or the militants. It was uncomfortable, but I was not afraid. With respect to the press, I knew I knew more than they knew about city matters. With respect to the militants, I understood it. I mean, everybody believed in those days that they were being screwed, you know, that somebody was getting ahead of them.
Ed Koch
I injured myself politically when I took on Jesse Jackson' in the 1988 presidential campaign. I was too strident. I didn't recognize the emotional tie that he had with all black voters.
Ed Koch
I know many writers who first dictate passages, then polish what they have dictated. I speak, then I polish – occasionally I do windows.
Ed Koch
I'm not the type to get ulcers. I give them.
To learn something new every day is still exciting!
The mere process of growing old together will make the slightest acquaintance seem a bosom friend.
Ed Koch
You don't have to love them. You just have to respect their rights.
Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.
Ed Koch
The person who is bent on killing you will follow you wherever you are.
There's enormous energy required to carry grudges – enormous energy! And I'm getting too old to expend my energy that way, cause I think every person has a limited amount of energy. So I have given up all grudges.
Ed Koch
Clinton has more important things to worry about. He not only risks being destroyed historically, like Afghanistan's Buddha statues; he also could end up going to jail.
Ed Koch
I have a social life. But I don't discuss it.
I never doubted that I would be a good mayor. I never did.
The Republicans are coming - make nice.
If I were running against Chuck Schumer. I would take every one of his Sunday press releases – and there are 52 for as many years as he's been there – and I would ask, 'How many of the things he said he was proposing became law?' I doubt many.
Ed Koch
I love being the mayor. I want to be the mayor forever.
Tone can be as important as text.
If I traveled to the end of the rainbow as Dame Fortune did intend, Murphy would be there to tell me the pot's at the other end.
Ed Koch
The very fact that I became mayor in 1977 conveys how you can't figure out what the people will do. Nobody thought I would be elected. When I entered I got four percent of the vote in the first poll, four percent.
Ed Koch
Have you ever lived in the suburbs? It's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life.
Ed Koch
I'm coming to the end of my life. I do reflect on what I've done for the 85 years that I have been given so far. And I'm proud of what I've done.
Ed Koch
No, I am not a homosexual. If I were a homosexual, I would hope I would have the courage to say so. What's cruel is that you are forcing me to say I am not a homosexual. This means you are putting homosexuals down. I don't want to do that.
Ed Koch
If you seek violence, we will seek to put you in jail.
How'm I doing?
Maybe he just looks good compared to the bores he's running against.
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.
Ed Koch
God gave me a very good hand to play over my 88 years. I have no regrets.
My brain is good, but my body is deteriorating. I probably have another two or three years. Or I can pass tomorrow, but it doesn't make a difference to me.
Ed Koch
I don't believe that in our society that we should have guns.
I enjoyed my stay in the Congress. Most people do not. And too many people who have been elected really don't understand the nature of government.
Ed Koch
The art of creation is older than the art of killing.
When I was first elected I got 50% of the vote in '77 in the general election. In '81 I got 75%. In '85, I got 78%. No mayor has ever gotten that high a vote. So it was not an issue. Except for people who were very hostile to me. They thought they would injure me.
Ed Koch
The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.
Ed Koch
I'm confident President Obama will continue his unambiguous commitment to the Jewish state in his second term.
Ed Koch
Whenever I leave Manhattan, I get the bends!
It happens that I'm heterosexual, but I don't care about that. I do care about protecting the rights of 10 percent of our population who are homosexual and who don't have the ability to protect their rights.
Ed Koch
Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That's how I get my kicks.
Ed Koch
Water, water, everywhere, Atlantic and Pacific. But New York City's got them beat, Our aqua is terrific!
Ed Koch
I was born at the age of twelve on a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.
I'm just a simple Jewish boy from the Bronx.
There's a nastiness out there that wants to harm me with words. These are my enemies – the ideologues, the populists, the columnists who don't like the fact that I take them on toe-to-toe. What I try to do is tell the truth. It's not the coin of the realm in politics.
Ed Koch
I like to think that I'm one of the few people in public life who write their own material. I write every word. And I really enjoy writing – especially my political commentary.
Ed Koch
If you listen to Giuliani, it's like nobody did anything to improve the city except him. I'm not part of the history. Bloomberg's not part of the history. It's like, he did it. He's the only one. That's why he's a little crazy.
Ed Koch
People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out. And so help me God, as the numbers were coming in, I said to myself, 'I'm free at last.'
Ed Koch
If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.
Ed Koch