Delivered Vacant is an eight-year chronicle of housing gentrification in Hoboken, NJ, a mile-square city across the river from Manhattan. Nora Jacobson, director of the film, captured all sides of the real estate struggle with an equally intelligent and wry eye, from eccentric politicians and naive developers, to Hoboken natives and newly transplanted yuppies. An intricate and deeply human portrait of the city and the people that lived there, the film went on to play at the New York Film Festival, Sundance, and the San Francisco Film Festival where it garnered a Golden Gate Award.
The screening will be preceded by Brandon Harris reading an excerpt from his New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice book Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make it in New York City. Through anecdotes of his own adventures trying to make enough money to live in a notoriously expensive city, Harris and others struggle to find affordable housing while their youthful idealism collides with the stark reality of adulthood.
Fred Lombardi, Variety, October 19, 1992:
“Producer-director Nora Jacobson keeps this bit of social history vibrant with a lively assortment of characters and an involving battle over displacement of residents.”
Vincent Canby, The New York Times, October 10, 1992:
“Delivered Vacant’ is a story of greed, hope, political action, bewilderment, free enterprise, idealism and rampant opportunism…an urban epic”
Dave Kehr, NY Daily News, August 6, 1993:
“…Nora Jacobson’s ‘Delivered Vacant’ is a documentary that puts many Hollywood epics to shame in terms of its scale, substance and intricacy of storytelling.”
Gene Seymour, New York Newsday, October 10, 1992:
“…we now have one of the best and most touching histories we may ever get of what happened to America in the last decade….this richly detailed saga of urban transition…comes close enough to be ranked with books like J. Anthony Lukas’ ‘Common Ground.’ It’s that good.”
Amy Taubin, The Village Voice, June 1, 1993:
“An ’80s gentrification saga with the scope and detail of a 19th century novel, Nora Jacobson’s Delivered Vacant has the charm but none of the smartass posturing of Roger and Me….more involving than the most impassioned agitprop or well-balanced PBS documentary….Jacobson has an amazing ability to get people to reveal themselves on camera…”