Quotes From NYC Mayor Ed Koch

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch passed away on Friday at the age of 88. The outspoken, quick-witted attorney turned politician helped bring the city out of financial ruins in the 1970’s. According to current Mayor Michael Bloomber, Koch was a quintessential New Yorker and one of the city’s greatest mayors. “In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader,” said Bloomberg.

ed koch quotes

But along with his quick-wit, leadership and political views, Koch was also known for his take-it-or-leave-it attitude. In honor of his passing, we’ve compiled some of his greatest quotes spanning politics, religion, friendship, and life.

On Action

“I’m not the type to get ulcers. I give them.”
“In action be primitive; in foresight, a strategist.”
“You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it’s good for one’s self-respect to be a punching bag.”
“In a neighborhood, as in life, a clean bandage is much, much better than a raw or festering wound.”

On Religion

“I know that nothing happens here on this Earth that wasn’t ordained by God. I know that. You know that. And therefore, while I know that it was the people who elected me, it was God who selected me.”
“The art of creation is older than the art of killing.”
“Whether I am straight or gay or bisexual is nobody’s business but mine.”

On Politics & New York

“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.”
“At age 88, I wake up every morning and say to myself, ‘Well, I’m still in New York. Thank you, God.'”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.'”
“Whether I am straight or gay or bisexual is nobody’s business but mine.”


“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.”
“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.”
“The mere process of growing old together will make the slightest acquaintance seem a bosom friend.”
“Tone can be as important as text.”

Photo by LCBGlenn

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