Koch: I wanted to get rid of New York’s graffiti problem, but I wasn’t in charge of the subways, the MTA was. I called the MTA into City Hall and told them they had to get rid of the graffiti. I presented them with a plan to do it: Kids were spray-painting train cars in the yards at night because there weren’t any fences. I told them, just put up a fence and put some dogs inside. They got scared, worried that the dogs would bite people, so I said, “OK, if you don’t want any chance of dogs biting people, get wolves.” That’s the problem with the new Liam Neeson movie, The Grey. There’s no recorded case of a wild wolf ever having bitten or attacked a single human being in North America.
I don’t believe that.
Well, it’s true. The next day Clyde Haberman of the New York Times came to me and told me he’d checked my statement and that there are records of domesticated wolves biting humans. I said, “I know that! I’m not talking about a domesticated wolf. I’m talking about wild wolves. Let’s have wild wolves protect the trains. If the wild wolves become tame, replace them with more wild ones.”
So you recommended that the MTA fight graffiti with wild wolves?
—Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has died at 88. We spoke with him in 2012.