NEW YORK —
During the same interview he said that life in the country meant having to "drive 20 miles to buy a gingham dress or a Sears, Roebuck suit."
It cost him the race, but it convinced many of the 8 million city residents that Koch belonged in New York. Meanwhile, Cuomo went on to serve three terms as governor.
Koch's third term was beset by corruption scandals. Queens Borough President Donald Manes — a close ally — committed suicide in March 1986, after having resigned over kickback and patronage allegations. Bronx Democratic leader Stanley Friedman and three others were also tarred. Koch's commissioner of cultural affairs, former Miss America Bess Myerson, stepped down in the wake of a scandal involving her boyfriend and a judge overseeing a legal case concerning him.
As the pressure grew, Koch suffered a minor stroke in 1987.
The administration was also beset by racial unrest, first after the 1986 death of a black youth at the hands of a white gang in Howard Beach and three years later after a black teen was shot to death in Brooklyn's tough Bensonhurst neighborhood by a group of whites.
Six weeks after the second slaying, Koch lost the Democratic primary to Dinkins, the city's eventual first black mayor. Koch later said the simmering racial tensions didn't lead to his defeat.
"I was defeated because of longevity," Koch said. "People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out."
The man who bragged that he would always get a better job, but New Yorkers would never get a better mayor, left his City Hall office for the last time on Dec. 31, 1989.
Looking back, Koch said in a 1997 interview: "All I could think of was, "Free at last, free at last, great God almighty, I'm free at last."