In An Interview With Playboy, Ed Koch Delivered A Famous Line About The Hell Of Living In The Suburbs

Ed KochEd Koch meeting with Playboy advertising director Henry Marks

Photo: AP

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who died this morning at the age of 88, always said that he doesn’t hold back on saying exactly what he thinks.”I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers. Why? Because I say exactly what I think. I am the sort of person who might give other people ulcers,” he once put it.

One of those moments of candor — a 1982 interview with Playboy — might have cost him a shot at New York’s governorship, but forever cemented his status as a city icon.

Koch was asked by Playboy about a possible move to Albany as governor. His response:

“Have you ever lived in the suburbs? It’s sterile. It’s nothing. It’s wasting your life, and people do not wish to waste their lives once they’ve seen New York! … This rural American thing — I’m telling you, it’s a joke.”

He added that living in Albany was a “fate worse than death.”

The quote was considered a major reason — if not the single reason — he lost New York’s gubernatorial race to then-Lt. Gov. Mario Cuomo. But to New Yorkers, he belonged in the city. Koch served out his second term as mayor, ran again in 1985 and won a third term.

For more memorable Koch quotes >

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