Hoboken Historical Museum Holds Events Exploring City’s Gentrification

The Hoboken Historical Museum will be holding a series of events in early February that explore a rather recent part of the city’s history: the gentrification and displacement that overtook Hoboken in the 1980s and 1990s.

On February 1, the museum will screen the 1992 documentary “Delivered Vacant.” Director and Hoboken-resident Nora Jacobson captured the struggle of blue-collar residents who were forced out during a wave of condo conversions that catered to white-collar New Yorkers. The film played at the New York Film Festival, Sundance, and the San Francisco Film Festival.

The following day, February 2, scholar Dylan Gottlieb will speak at the museum about his recent article on the suspicious fires that occurred in Hoboken during this period of gentrification. Hoboken suffered from nearly 500 apartment fires between 1978 and 1983. Although fifty five people died, no one was every prosecuted for arson.

In December, the Hoboken City Council approved a resolution to place a plaque dedicated to the victims of the fires in Tom Olivieri Park. The resolution was inspired by an earlier article by Gottlieb published in the Journal of American History and the efforts of the community group Hoboken Fire Victims Memorial Project.

The Hoboken Historical Museum hopes that the programming will not only resonate with long-time residents, but will help educate newcomers on this part of the city’s history.