A new rendering by the Municipal Art Society suggests that Bruce Ratner's $4.9 billion plan to build a Nets basketball arena and mixed-use towers in Brooklyn is a far cry from what was originally proposed, duh. No official renderings of the 22-acre site have been provided to the public since Ratner revealed that starchitect Frank Gehry's ambitious arena designs had been scrapped to cut costs, so MAS has stepped in to show what the area will look like in the coming years.

Since MAS doubts that Ratner has the financing to build more than two of the 16 planned towers, their rendering simply shows an achingly banal sports complex surrounded by empty lots, as predicted last year. Opponents to the project say Ratner's changes call for a new environmental review process, and MAS president Vin Cipolla tells the Post, "The rendering reveals the dramatic differences between the new design for the Atlantic Yards arena and what was approved in 2006, and it highlights why the state must reevaluate the new project and its environmental impact."

But the Empire State Development Corp. maintains that the modifications "are strictly financial" and don't require a new application process. The agency is expect to approve the new plan within two months, but public hearings will be held tomorrow and Thursday. (The hearings run 2-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. each day at Klitgord Auditorium of New York City Technical College on Jay Street.) Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is organizing a protest outside the auditorium at 1 p.m. Wednesday, and encourages those who can't make the hearings to submit written comments. Details here.