Ed Koch, New York’s most colorful modern mayor, died this morning. My favorite memory of him is our interview for Rogues’ Gallery, the story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Koch had long disdained the place as a clubhouse for its wealthy and arrogant patrons and greatly enjoyed winning several battles against the museum’s board. Aside from the wealthy and the socially prominent, The Met had a history of putting powerful people on its board, sometimes to seduce and neuter them (newspaper publishers, for instance), sometimes to use them. Henry Kissinger‘s diplomatic contacts made him a natural choice for a museum that constantly crossed borders to borrow, buy and loan art works. For ten years, beginning in 1973, a proposed museum show of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic archaeological artifacts from a museum in the disputed West Bank in Jerusalem was repeatedly postponed due to fears–stoked by Kissinger–of sabotage by Arab terrorists. On learning this, Koch wrote to museum chairman Douglas Dillon, lambasting him for giving in to “political hallucinations and speculative fears,” and pointedly mentioning the city’s $10.6 million annual subsidy to the Met and the size of its Jewish community. Not only was the cancellation promptly reversed, but henceforth, an unstated quota on Jewish trustees on the museum board was lifted. Koch told me that after this victory, he became a regular visitor to the great museum and a fierce protector of those city subsidies. How’d he do? Just great.