Under Cover

AWhitehead bashes White House

John Whitehead, the recently departed chairperson of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and a longtime friend-of-George W., is having second thoughts about the current Commander in Chief.

Speaking at the Millennium High School graduation ceremony last week, Whitehead, once Deputy Secretary of State for Ronald Regan, pondered, “Where are the great leaders in the world today? There used to be great leaders everywhere. And if you want me to be specific, which I’ve always had the rudeness to do, I don’t believe that either of the two presidential candidates that ran against each other for office — were these the best two people in the whole United States?” Can we say “Ouch!”

Wall St. High Line

All was friendly at the Friends of the High Line’s benefit bash at Cipriani’s 55 Wall Street last week. Chowing down on game hen and pilaf beneath the domed dining hall, 850 developers, pols and celebrities rubbed elbows and talked High Line.

Kevin Bacon and Diane von Furstenberg partied. Governor wannabe Eliot Spitzer “MC’d.” Guest of honor and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave a nod to her predecessor, Gifford Miller, for jumping on the Chelsea High Line train early on. Giff, the Princeton classmate and friend of Friends co-founder Robert Hammond, sat at the table, but the former speaker was never asked to, well, speak. And Downtown Express scribe Al Amateau, whose articles in the Express’s sister pub The Villager over the past six years were reprinted in the event’s souvenir newspaper, took a bow for his reporting.

Senate sniping

When we asked state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and his gubernatorial running mate, State Sen. David Paterson, to handicap the prospects of same sex marriage passing the state legislature, Spitzer deflected the question, but later, Paterson took us aside before the LGBT Pride March and said, “I’ll handicap the state Senate for you: The state Senate is handicapped.”

Picturing the future

The World Trade Center redevelopment may appear to be going nowhere fast, but that’s not what Lower Manhattan officials are saying and they’ve got to pictures to prove it. The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center has launched an ad campaign called “This is 2010. It’s happening now” and will plaster the neighborhood with images of a future Lower Manhattan. “I think people, they don’t see steel rising out of the ground yet and they’re skeptical that anything’s going to happen,” said Command Center spokesperson Jennifer Nelson. “But there’s a lot of work going on now. People need to know that the planning and the execution of their future is happening now.”

Top dog

UnderCover’s resident Schnauzer, Lilly, was top dog at the LGBT Pride Parade. Judge du jour Liza Minnelli bestowed the two-year-old pooch with the grand prize at the Rubyfruit Pet Pride Pageant on Sunday.

Troy Masters, Lilly’s owner, is the associate publisher of Downtown Express’s sister rag, Gay City News. Lilly shares more than a passing resemblance to Minnelli’s late pup — she was a Schnauzer also named Lilly. Masters’s Lilly was showered with a $150 prize, a spa treatment and a trip to Minnelli’s pad for a New York Dog magazine photo shoot.

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