Category Archives: Ed Koch

Coincidence or Causation? Koch and the Decline of Ulcers

Among Mayor Koch’s many memorable quotes is:

“I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers,” the mayor — eyebrows devilishly up, grinning wickedly at his own wit — enlightened the reporters at his $475 rent-controlled apartment in Greenwich Village on Inauguration Day in 1978. “Why? Because I say exactly what I think. I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.” (New York Times 2/1/13)

In the Koch era, ulcers really were the ailment of the times.  It seemed like ulcers were ubiquitous, both in real life and in pop culture.  The 1970s version of food allergies:  widespread, often very serious, but newly focused on and receiving outsized social attention.

Notwithstanding significant medical advances, the fading attention given to ulcers as the Koch era faded suggests a clear conclusion: maybe Ed Koch really did cause all the ulcers.