Friends and family gathered in Manhattan Tuesday to remember the head of the Port Authority, Neil Levin, who was on the 68th floor of One World Trade Center when it was hit by the first hijacked plane September 11. NY1's Todd Baer filed this story.
Bette Midler remembered Port Authority head Neil Levin as a hero in front of his family and closest friends Tuesday with a tearful, personal rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings."
Longtime friend Alfonse D'Amato, a former U.S. senator, remembered Levin as a great friend and true professional.
"Yes, Neil was driven," D'Amato said. "He was results-oriented. He was a guy who set high standards for himself and those around him."
Governor George Pataki had a hard time speaking about his old friend. "And we had so many fun times," Pataki said. "The dinners, the feasts out in Sagapaunic and the walks we had together."
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani also had trouble expressing his grief in words. He brought the packed synagogue to its feet.
"Neil was a hero, as were all the people at the Port Authority," he said. "And if we can stand and give Neil a standing ovation."
Neil Levin gave up a career as a banker at Goldman, Sachs to work in public service, first on Capitol Hill, alongside Senator D'Amato. While there, he helped draft legislation to protect investors.
Later, he was Pataki's superintendent of banks.
Running the Port Authority was his latest challenge. And according to a colleague, Amory Houghton, Levin did it better than anyone he's ever known.
"He was a wonderful guy," Houghton said. "He just had an ability to touch the right button in people to make them do more, to think more creatively and be more inclusive."
Neil Levin was a man who meant so much to so many.
Bette Midler's lyrics echoed the feelings of many: "Thank you, thank you, thank God for you: the wind beneath my wings."