NEW YORK -- Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, the combative politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during three City Hall terms, has died at age 88.
Spokesman George Arzt says Koch died Friday morning of congestive heart failure. In City Hall, Koch embodied New York for the rest of the world.
He won a national reputation with his feisty style and his trademark question, "How'm I doing?"
During his years as mayor, from 1978 to 1989, his tight fiscal policies pulled the city out of severe financial difficulties. But homelessness and racial tensions soared and critics charged that City Hall's responses were ineffective.
His mark on the city was set in steel when the Queensboro Bridge, connecting Manhattan to Queens, was renamed in Koch's honor in 2011.
Here are some of his most famous remarks:
"How'm I doing?"
"I'm not the type to get ulcers. I give them."
"You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to be a punching bag."
"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."
"Have you ever lived in the suburbs? It's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life." (On the prospect of living in Albany, during his failed 1982 race for governor.)
"Whether I am straight or gay or bisexual is nobody's business but mine."
"If they want a parade, let them parade in front of the oil drums in Moonachie." After the New York Giants, who play in New Jersey, asked for a permit to hold a parade in the city after winning the Super Bowl in 1987.
"I was defeated because of longevity, not because Yusuf Hawkins was murdered six weeks before the election, although that was a factor. People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out." After losing the 1989 mayoral primary.
"It's not soaring, beautiful, handsome, like the George Washington or the Verrazano. It's rugged, it's hard working - and that's me." On the 59th Street Bridge being renamed for him in 2011.
"I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone. This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me." After purchasing a burial plot in Manhattan's Trinity Cemetery in 2008.
"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." In 1985, during an Easter Sunday worship in Harlem explaining why he thought he was selected by God to be mayor. The next day, Koch stressed that it did not necessarily mean he was endorsed by God. "Not that I was given approval by the Deity, but I am delighted I was given the opportunity by the Deity."