Neighborhood Chatter: 70 Pine Could Become Home to 1,000 Apts

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18-Foot Surrealist Man Lands at the High Line There's a new work of art hitting the town this summer. An 18-foot, 1.6-ton German statue made of aluminum and enamel, appropriately named "Big Box Man," has been parked in front of the Standard Hotel in the West Village right above the High Line, with plans to stay put until November. According to the Standard, "Big Box Man" was created by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm "in the hills of southern Germany" and dropped off in front of the hotel by crane. A video of the impressive installation can be seen on the Standard's Culture blog at 70 Pine to Become 1,000 Rental Apartments The Financial District's 70 Pine St., which has had many owners over the years, has reportedly changed hands again. This time around, Rose Associates has purchased the former AIG office building with plans to build up to 1,000 rental apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail on the premises, reports Curbed NY. The exchange was not made public, as it was an "internal" transaction. Plans are still undecided for the building's existing art deco observatory. Calls for Task Force to End Rampant Deadly Crashes Transportation Alternatives released a statement this week reporting that three out of every five deadly pedestrian/cyclist crashes in the city are caused by illegal driving activities. "Lawbreaking drivers are responsible for the majority of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in New York City," asserted Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. White called for a complete overhaul of NYPD procedure in investigating fatal crashes. Currently, the NYPD's Accident Investigation Squad (AIS) only has 19 qualified officers to investigate the city's most serious crashes and are only called to a scene when a victim is "dead or likely to die." Only these 19 individuals are permitted to collect evidence, reports Transportation Alternatives. All other vehicular crashes are treated much more hastily, according to the group's release. "In those cases, even when the injuries are very severe, evidence of possible criminal conduct other than drunk driving is not collected," they reported. The NYPD could also be allocating their current resources more effectively, says Transportation Alternatives, by increasing ticketing for offenses like speeding and laying off on the reportedly less serious offenses, like tinted windows. The report released by the group calls for a task force specifically targeting traffic safety enforcement, with the goal of ensuring the NYPD does everything in its power to curb dangerous driving in the city and putting an end to crashes with unpenalized lethal driving. Pols Ask Army for 'More Meaningful Punishment' for Chen's Tormenters Sgt. Adam Holcomb was tried last week in connection with the death of Pvt. Danny Chen last October. A 10-member military jury recommended sentencing Holcomb to 30 days in a military prison without discharge. Council Member Margaret Chin and Speaker Christine Quinn think he deserves more. Chin and Quinn sent a letter to Lt. General Daniel B. Allyn, the convening authority who will decide the case's final verdict, asking him to impose an "appropriately serious punishment" on Holcomb for condoning and participating in the physical and verbal abuse of the 19-year-old Manhattan native while on deployment in Afghanistan. Chen endured six weeks of the intense, racially charged hazing, then shot himself while alone in a guard tower. Holcomb is the first of eight soldiers on trial for the abuse. The military jury convicted him on two counts of maltreatment and one count of assault consummated by battery, though they acquitted him of charges of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat and hazing. Chin and Quinn called the punishment "too lenient" and argued that it "would send the wrong message to the nation's armed forces and to our country as a whole: that the United States military tolerates this condemnable conduct."

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