Even pitched as a sitcom, it would seem farfetched: Marital problems force the Republican mayor of New York out of Gracie Mansion and into the apartment of a gay friend and his life partner. That’s what happened when Rudy Giuliani moved into the 57th Street apartment of longtime friend Howard Koeppel and his partner, Mark. Queens native Koeppel, owner of a string of car-dealerships, spoke to Jed Heyman about his friend’s plans for 2008 and aversion to “doggy talk.”
Jed Heyman What was your day like with Rudy in the house?
Howard Koeppel Mark made breakfast for all three of us. We had orange juice and different kinds of cold cereal in Lactaid milk, because that’s all I buy. When he lived in Gracie Mansion, he never had breakfast—he was always on the run—but we insisted that he had breakfast. He had staff meetings every morning very early. He had to be out of the house by 7:30 a.m., and I had to help him pick out his ties. He’d come out with two or three ties and ask, “What tie looks better with this suit?” I would say, “I think that this tie would be better,” and he’d say, “Well, I guess if you think so, then I think so.” It was kind of cute. The guy would trust me enough to pick out his ties.
Was he a good roommate?
Sure. He used to make his own bed. I’m not telling you how well he made it, though. I’m not sure he had ever made a bed before in his life. The only thing we didn’t agree with was how he would squeeze the toothpaste from the middle—that would drive me crazy. I should have gotten him his own toothpaste, really. That was the only annoying thing he would do.
How did he get along with your dog?
For the first month, I don’t think Bonnie cared for him very much. Every morning, he’d come out and Bonnie would grab the cuff of his pants and start tugging back and forth. I said to Rudy, “Look, if you want to get along with Bonnie, you’re going to have to talk doggy talk. You have to bend over and pet her and say ‘Goo-girl, goo-girl.’ ” And he asked, “Why can’t I say good girl?” I said, “Because that’s not what she likes,” and we got him talking doggy talk.
Do you think he’s going to run for president in 2008?
I hope he does. I’d vote for him. Aside from being so bright and so worldly, he’s so honest. I’ve never met a person more upright. I think this country needs somebody like that, to be honest with the country. We’ve had presidents in office lately who haven’t been.I’m talking about the last two. And I don’t think Rudy would do that.
Do you think his political ambitions are affecting his performance at the convention?
If he doesn’t support the party, it wouldn’t support him. Now, does he want to be president? I can probably tell you, “Yeah.”