Outside Housing Court in the Bronx, the line invariably winds down the block, snaking past the vendors at tables hawking cellphone plans and by a man selling moving boxes.
Inside, tenants clutching folders of documents, or lugging toddlers on their hips, stagger through the hallways.
On a recent Tuesday morning, the fear and confusion was palpable. Some tenants owed back rent, money they did not have. Two had already received eviction papers but said they had paid their rent, proffering copies of money orders and tattered receipts as proof to anyone who would stop to look.