The Elevator Interview – Ed Koch (Exclusive)
by Dina Kupfer
DK: What’s the most striking change you notice in NYC from the time you were mayor to now?
EK: A reduction to nearly zero of racial division which I attribute to Mayor Bloomberg’s style of governance.
DK: Do you have a Jewish name? If so, what is it?
EK: Yiedel Itzak
DK: What’s going through your mind with regards to developments in Albany?
EK: The designation by the Brennan Centre for Justice of the Albany legislature as dysfunctional is an understatement.
DK: The Associated Press reported that you have chosen to include on your tombstone (may you live a long, healthy life!) the line, “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith.” What makes you fiercely proud of Judaism?
EK: The traditions, particularly the sense of justice that Judaism teaches. The biblical statement “Justice, Justice shalt thou render” has been explained by the sages to mean, justice for the non-Jew as well as the Jew.
DK: Is there a joke that still makes you laugh?
EK: A campaign anecdote from 1977: I told a group of 200 elderly New Yorkers that a judge I knew who had been mugged that week called a press conference and said, “This mugging of me will not influence my decisions,” and an elderly woman stood up and said to me, “Then mug him again!”
DK: What was an interesting experience as Judge on the TV show The People’s Court?
EK: A man sued, alleging that a woman had called him on stage, sat him down and leaned over him with her heavy bosom and, said he, gave him a concussion. Judgment for the woman.
DK: Israel. What’s there to still say?
EK: If I were the mediator, I have no doubt that I could settle the disagreements in two weeks of discussion.