It’s the most
exciting Brooklyn news in five decades.

But Bruce Ratner’s plan to bring the New Jersey Nets to an arena
he would build near the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues
is miniscule in comparison to all the development planned for the greater
Downtown and Brownstone Brooklyn areas. The arena is even dwarfed by the
massive office and residential towers that Ratner plans to build immediately
adjacent to it, towers that would substantially obscure the arena from
the view of motorists on busy Flatbush Avenue.

The massive Downtown Brooklyn Plan — which would turn the area into
a sister to Midtown Manhattan with skyscrapers meant to attract corporate
back-office leases and government tenants — is, right now, coursing
through the city public review process. The Downtown Plan overlaps both
the Brooklyn Academy of Music Cultural District and Ratner’s Atlantic
Yards, where the Nets arena would be located.

Meanwhile, just south of the arena site, Park Slope’s Fourth Avenue
has been up-zoned to allow taller buildings and encourage commercial and
residential development. To the west, Lowe’s home improvement and
Fairway supermarket will soon open traffic-generating big box stores,
and an Ikea is planned in Red Hook.

On the waterfront, there’s Brooklyn Bridge Park commercial-recreational
development, negotiations to bring Carnival Cruise Lines to Pier 7, and
a city-Port Authority review of the best uses for Piers 8 through 12 in
Carroll Gardens and Red Hook.

If anything, this photo, taken by Space
Imaging in December 2002 and annotated by The Brooklyn Papers this week,
omits some projects.

If implemented, these projects would, collectively, forever change Brooklyn
as we’ve known her. Some will, by law, require public review; for
others, developers and elected officials will seek to skirt scrutiny and

• • •

Advocates of the overlapping Downtown Brooklyn Plan and Atlantic Yards
(which form one entity, only a tiny portion of which would house the Nets)
want the projects discussed separately.

But only by considering jointly the imact of all the projects shown above
can any of them be properly evaluated.

In the center spread: an enlarged view of the Downtown Plan and Atlantic