NYC Mayoral Candidates Spend Night in Harlem Housing Projects

Sunday, 21 Jul 2013 06:14 PM

By Greg Richter

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Spurred by the Rev. Al Sharpton, all five Democratic candidates for mayor of New York spent Saturday night in public housing project apartments to draw attention to poor living conditions, the New York Post reports.

"Here I am — your roommate for the night!" ex-congressman Anthony Weiner said to resident Diane Beeby upon entering her apartment.

The candidates emerged Sunday morning saying they were humbled by the experience, the New York Daily News reports.

"Just one night won’t solve all the problems, but one night will take the issues out of the margins," Sharpton said at a 6 a.m. press conference after he and the candidates stayed in the apartments as guests of various residents.

Some of the apartments didn't have working air conditioning and one, in which City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stayed, had a years-long mold problem in the bathroom. The New York City Housing Authority spruced up the area ahead of the candidates' arrival, but with 3,800 repair requests in backlog, the candidates still experienced the smell of urine in hallways and busted door locks, the Daily News noted.

Sharpton invited all mayoral candidates to spend a night at Lincoln Houses in Harlem, and Quinn, along with Weiner, Bill de Blasio, William Thompson and John Liu took him up on the offer. Republican John Catsimatidis originally planned to participate, but didn't. Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion, who is a former Housing and Urban Development official, did not accept the invitation.

The candidates took note of the differences in their own comfortable homes and what the tenants of Lincoln Houses have to put up with.

"In our house, when something’s broke, repairs get made right away. You don’t have to worry about broken door locks, urine in the hallways," said de Blasio, whose 18-year-old daughter, Chiara, also stayed the night with him and resident Katherine Wilson. "Here in Lincoln Houses, Mrs. Wilson had to wait two and a half years for a repair that’s really hurt the health of her family."

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