Volume 21, Number 43 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 6 - 12, 2009

Under Cover

Woody’s back
The film that heralded Woody Allen’s return to New York will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival’s opening night April 22.

“Whatever Works,” starring Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley Jr., is the first movie Allen filmed in New York since shooting in London and Spain over the past few years.

“A lovely idea of showing my film in a film festival in my own city,” Allen said in a statement. “It’s very exciting.”

Allen shot much of “Whatever Works” in Lower Manhattan, including Battery Park and Downtown Hospital. The comedy focuses on a young woman (Wood) who moves to New York City.

A very lucky UnderCover got to visit the set of “Whatever Works” last May to see Allen in action (and write about neighbors’ complaints about film shoots). The minute-long scene that day featured Wood and David bicycling along the water in Battery Park, then stopping at a bench to sit and talk.

Sony Pictures Classics plans to release “Whatever Works” on June 19.

Nadler’s waiting
U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler is likely not used to being kept waiting — especially by politicians who rank a bit below him in the food chain.

Nadler showed up on time to the City Hall press conference last week to urge Gov. David Paterson to fund Governors Island. But everything at City Hall always starts late, and Nadler had to wait around for about 10 minutes because City Councilmember Alan Gerson hadn’t shown up yet. Borough President Scott Stringer was missing as well, but once Gerson arrived the press conference started, and Stringer slipped in partway through.

For Nadler, though, the waiting wasn’t over. After he and Stringer had both spoken, Gerson, not known for his brevity, approached the mic. Gerson talked about the city budget negotiations, then about the importance of Governors Island, then about the Little Leagues that use the island’s fields, then about federal stimulus funding…and by then, it looked like Nadler had heard enough.

Nadler raised one wrist and pointed at his watch, making eye contact with someone in the audience who presumably could hurry Gerson along. It was unclear if Gerson received a signal, but he began wrapping it up shortly thereafter, and Nadler edged out of the press conference before the next speaker could begin.

Under Cover poked a bit of fun last week at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for joining Twitter (and at ourselves, for having only just figured out what it was), but now we’ll admit that we’re hooked on the constant updates.

And, as it turned out, it wasn’t enough for us to merely read other people’s 140-character “tweets,” so we’ve decided to get in on the action, too. Under the name “Downtown Express,” we’ll be posting breaking news updates on Twitter with links to our Web site. To join the savvy who have already begun following us, go to Twitter.com and sign up.

Trump G.M.
The Trump Soho project’s new general manager has been busy building his operations team in advance of the condo-hotel’s planned opening at the corner of Spring and Varick Sts. later this fall.

David Chase, a 17-year hotel-industry veteran whose names sake created “The Sopranos,” will oversee operations at both the 46-story building and its on-site venues after being hired to the post last October.

Chase came to Trump Soho from the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park City, where he had served as hotel manager since 2001, and has done stints at Midtown’s St. Regis hotel and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Boston and San Francisco.

In just the past couple of weeks, Chase has grown his executive team from two to about 10 staff, who will handle everything from food and beverages to marketing and public relations.

“It’s exciting to be a part of something that is so impactful,” he said. “The physical product we’re creating is absolutely exceptional.”

Neighborhood opponents no doubt agree on the impactful part, if not anything else.

In addition to day-to-day operations at the hotel, Chase will also oversee the hotel’s Italian restaurant Quattro, the private rooftop venue SoHi, and the 11,000-square-foot spa. He’ll also be tasked with assuaging community fears over residents’ stays, which are limited to 120 days out of the year.

“Transient owners do not stay in the hotel often,” he said, emphasizing that the buyers own other residences and tend to only stay for a few days at a time. “That’s not what people do who own condo hotels.” Chase acknowledged, though, that he’s never worked at a condo-hotel.

“David’s extensive experience in the luxury hotel sector will be a great asset to Trump Soho New York,” Donald scion Ivanka Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, said in a statement. “His ability to provide a style of customized service is unmatched in the market. He is the consummate professional to create the ultimate lifestyle experience for our owners and guests.”

Ultimately, Chase said that locals who oppose the project will come to embrace the project and “be proud” to be associated with it.

“It is going to be a place that the neighborhood and the community will want to have as a destination.”

Dry meeting
The Temperance Movement almost had a revival at Tuesday’s meeting of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee. Board member Barry Skolnick objected to a beer and wine license for Inatesso Café Casano at 38 West St. on the grounds that it planned to serve drinks during school hours, thus providing evil temptations for the neighborhood’s youth.

Leticia Remauro, a spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority, pointed out that there already were several restaurants in the area that have the audacity to serve spirits in the afternoon. Tom Goodkind, Skolnick’s board colleague, said even Pan Latin, which does tempt many of the youth with its food delicacies, serves beer, but there has never been a problem with underage drinking.

Remauro agreed that there was not much danger. “It’s a little obvious when an eighth grader walks in and orders a beer,” she said.

The committee’s advisory vote was in favor of the license over Skolnick’s objection, but members decided to revisit the issue of allowing school hour drinking by adults in the future.




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