Sunday, March 27, 1994

Delivered Vacant

by Nora Jacobson

San Francisco Art Institute

In the best tradition of muckraking vérité, Nora Jacobson’s heralded 1992 film Delivered Vacant (Special Jury Award at the 1993 SF International Film Festival) is a richly detailed documentary of urban transition, a Reagan-era gentrification saga with the scope of a 19th century novel. In the early ’80s, the ethnic, blue collar community of Hoboken, NJ began to receive an influx of artists and other residents who crossed the river from Manhattan in search of cheap rents. As real estate development heated up, thousands of Hoboken’s long-time residents were displaced, many of them becoming homeless. Hoboken resident Jacobson spent eight years documenting the city’s battles over gentrification, from boom in the ’80s to bust in the ’90s. Her dramatically engrossing documentary features a real-life cast of old-time residents, newly arrived Yuppies, tenants’ organizers, real estate developers, street people, immigrants from around the world, and local politicians, including the wackiest mayor in America.