Volume 19 • Issue 14 | August 18-24, 2006

Under cover

Movies with Charlie
Harvey Keitel is no John O’Neill. “John was a really dapper guy, always well dressed, very neat,” said Charlie Maikish, Downtown’s construction czar, as he sat at a private screening at ABC studios for “The Path to 9/11,” a six-hour film based on the 9/11 Commission’s report. “I guess Keitel makes for a more colorful character.”

The film, which will air on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, gives a history of the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, starting with the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, when Maikish was head of the W.T.C. In the years after the ’93 bombing, Maikish got to know many of the characters in the film, including O’Neill, an F.B.I. agent who tracked Osama bin Laden and died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center. (O’Neill had retired from the F.B.I. and taken a job as head of W.T.C. security for Larry Silverstein days before the attacks.)

“It’s very accurate,” said Maikish, perched beside Battery Park City Authority president Jim Cavanaugh. “Extremely accurate.”

In a scene where F.B.I. agents fly ’93 bombing mastermind Ramzi Ahmed Yousef over the Twin Towers, Maikish said: “How’d they get that bit of intelligence?” Then, laughing, he added. “He threw up.”

Producers spent two years making the film, a sweeping portrait of global politics that travels from Downtown to Washington D.C. to Islamabad to Afghanistan and back. B.P.C.A. spokesperson Leticia Remauro was mostly struck by Northern Alliance head Ahmed Shah Massoud. “Is it an accident that Massoud is so attractive?” she said of actor Mido Hamada, who UnderCover can attest, is a dapper fellow indeed.

Battle of the boards
UnderCover hears that some Community Board 1 members are jonesing to see Jennifer Hensley leave the board now that she’s left her post at the Downtown Alliance. Hensley joined the board six years ago to represent the Alliance, Downtown’s Business Improvement District. But she recently took a post at J.P. Morgan Chase and some members are grumbling that she should bid the community board farewell, too.

“A lot of people want to know what she’s still doing on the board,” said one board member who requested anonymity.

“If she was appointed to represent the Alliance, then yes, she should step down,” said board chairperson Julie Menin. “I’m not sure that representing the interests of J.P. Morgan Chase on our board” she began, and then finished with, “This is a community board.”

But Hensley, who was first appointed by former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields in 2002, is eager to keep her board seat. And she has the support of Borough President Scott Stringer, who reappointed Hensley this year.

“We’re not planning on removing her,” said Maibe Gonzalez, a Stringer spokesperson. “She’s still technically working in C.B. 1 —”J.P. Morgan’s offices are Downtown. “She can still prove that she still has influence in the community.”

Hensley did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Menin has her own beef with the Downtown Alliance. She has been vying for a seat on the organization’s board of directors since she was elected C.B. 1 chairperson in 2005. But Madelyn Wils, Menin’s predecessor, currently holds the seat and has not relinquished it. “It’s very unfortunate,” said Menin. “I am still quite surprised that that has not changed.”

The C.B. 1 leader is allowed to appoint four people to the Alliance board and all of those seats are still occupied by Wils appointees. The Alliance insists that the positions are not up for reappointment until the spring.

Grand birthday bash
The Soho Grand on W. Broadway will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary this September. Before the hotel opened, it faced stiff opposition from Soho residents and Councilmember Kathryn Freed, who railed that, among other things, it would attract prostitutes from Canal St. But times change and these days the residents only accuse it of contributing to sewer overflows during heavy rains in the former Lispenard Swamp, one of the lowest points in Manhattan. So, let’s just hope it doesn’t rain heavily in September for the Soho Grand’s sake. But seriously, the Soho Grand goings-on will encompass “all things Soho,” namely “art, music, fashion and film.” Bill Sofield, Tom Ford’s interior designer, will be joined by the fashion crowd for a Fashion Week wrap-up, and later in the month, according to the hype, Leonard and Emmanuel Stern will be hosting a celebration at which John Legend is expected to perform “to a mix of New York boldfaces and hipsters in the ultimate birthday celebration.”


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