Developer Bruce Ratner must be relieved this morning to see that big bad Nicholas Ouroussoff at Times does not revile the latest renderings for the Nets arena planned for Brooklyn. You'll recall that Ouroussoff dissed the last designs as "a monstrosity" and "a shameful betrayal of the public trust, one that should enrage all those who care about this city." But bringing young New York firm SHoP on board may be just the lipstick on the boondoggle Ratner needs; Ouroussoff, who had embraced Gehry's vision for the project, calls this new look"somewhat more promising."

But what troubles the Times is what's omitted, namely the mixed-use towers that were supposed to be built simultaneously with the arena. In the new renderings, they're reduced to vague phantoms surrounding the arena like Patrick Swayze on Demi Moore's clay. Says Ourousooff, "The current design was clearly conceived to be able to stand alone, and it is hard to see how it would be integrated into a larger, convincing urban whole. Despite Mr. Ratner’s reassurances, it is also possible that one or two of the towers will never be built, which would take us back to square one." Oh no, and we've come all the way to square... Wait, what square are we at now?

The new design also gets the Post's lukewarm blessing, in an article by Rich Calder headlined "Gehry'd Away." Still, the piece makes room for haters like Councilwoman Letitia James, who says the new arena design “looks like the ship on Battlestar Galactica.” Our commenters yesterday were going with the Foreman Grill comparison, while the Post cites another unidentified critic calling it "a deflated basketball." Which derisive simile do you prefer? And after meeting with the designers and "the man in black himself," Bruce Ratner, Curbed scored a lot more details about the arena.