Michael D.D. White, in his Noticing New York blog, offers Reflecting Pictorially, And Otherwise, On The Un-Truth And Consequence Of BP Markowitz’s Assertion Arena Is In Business District, Not Brownstone Neighborhood:
Does it matter if the borough president’s assertion that the arena was put into a “business district,” not into a brownstone neighborhood, is false? Well, as with most things that people say publicly and emphatically when they know what they are saying is false, it probablydoes matter. The more emphatically something false is publicly said, the more it probably matters. In this, borough president Markowitz’s statement about what kind of neighborhood the arena was shoehorned into has much in common with his strenuous efforts to sell the Atlantic Yards mega-project to Chinese investors, saying “Brooklyn is 1000 percent, 1000 percent behind Atlantic Yards” when he certainly knew and believed that as he stated later in a subsequent interview:For more, go to Noticing New York. Note the photo at right, which shows the Barclays Center arena at the end of modestly scaled Fifth Avenue.
It will certainly be written, in the days to come, as among the most contentious developments in America's history--there's no question. . . It's not just New York history, it would be in the nation.
Looking up Fifth Avenue to arena.
My take: the arena block encroaches on a residential/brownstone district, though the northern edge of the project site is broad Atlantic Avenue, and the northwest section of the site is across the street from two large malls.
In other words, it's a transitional zone, at least on the northern edge. But a business district? Not when buildings used for manufacturing and warehousing had already been converted into apartments.