For one night, residents of the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem saw an increased police presence, cameras documenting their grievances, and politicians on their couches. A handful of candidates for mayor accepted Rev. Al Sharpton's invitation to spend a night in public housing.
But once they left, few who lived in the building seemed convinced the visit would make much of a difference.
"There's nothing wrong with the building," tenant Mary Vanderhorst said. "It's just the people and the management."
Like many in the Lincoln Houses, Vanderhorst has lived there for much of her life. The weekend's one-night candidate slumber party did little to impress her.
"Oh, that's bull," she said. "I was shocked when it heard [about it] on TV last night."
Few of Vanderhorst's neighbors seemed swayed by the overnight, either.
"It's nice to see them in the neighborhood and everything like that," tenant LaMoat Foxhall said, "but it's election time and this is New York."
"They [couldn't] wait for daybreak to haul tail," tenant Mary Myers said.
"I couldn't tell you the last time [the city] came and mopped the floor," Vanderhorst said.
But Monday, we found New York City Housing Authority workers doing just that, although mopping seemed to taper off significantly when one ventured to floors above the lobby.
"I see the drug addicts come late at night and they push the door open and they put garbage and juice on the floor," tenant Martha Santos said.
In a statement, the Housing Authority pointed out that this year alone it had reduced the number of open work orders by half, but still had more than 200,000 orders left to fill.
"I don't have to live like this," Myers said, "and we shouldn't have to live like this."
The candidates, meanwhile, all said the right things before and after their slumber party.
"We have to understand the true crisis that public housing is in here in New York City," City Comptroller John Liu said.
"For too long people have been ducking responsibility and that's got to end," mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner said.
But many tenants of the Lincoln Houses felt the actions of those politicians did more to help their respective campaigns than the 600,000 New Yorkers in public housing.
"One night ain't going to change it," Foxhall said.
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