Six inches of snow and sleet didn’t deter hundreds of tenants from across New York City and state from marching up Wall Street Thursday night demanding stronger protections for low-income tenants.

“I’m here to tell you what’s going on upstate!” yelled Barbara Rivera, a 30-year-old seamstress from Rochester, who drove six hours with fifteen of her neighbors to march and address the crowd. “The ceiling in my building fell on my daughter. By the grace of god she was not hurt. Other tenants are living with mold… we have rats, you name it. And when we brought it to the attention of our property manager, he said, ‘If you don't like it, get out.’"

Thursday’s rally was organized by the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, a coalition of thirteen tenant and homeless advocacy groups. Their goal is to cast the housing crisis as a statewide issue and pressure Governor Andrew Cuomo to bolster and expand rent protections, despite his long-standing record of accepting money from powerful real-estate interests.

Currently, counties outside of New York City and neighboring Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau cannot legally opt in to rent stabilization; tenants don’t have the right to a lease renewal, or incremental rent increases, or housing court. The alliance hopes to expand these rights statewide in addition to eliminating loopholes, including vacancy decontrol, that have contributed to the siphoning of hundreds of thousands of New York City’s stabilized apartments since the mid-1990s.

Josefina Ventura, a rent-stabilized tenant from Washington Heights, told Gothamist that she’s met with many upstate tenants recently. "It's horrible, I tell you,” she said. “Because at least here we can go to housing court and fight to keep a home. But in different cities they can't go nowhere.”

Strategically scheduled eight months to the day before the state’s rent-stabilization laws are set to expire, Thursday’s march gained new significance this week after Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio jointly announced their closed-door negotiations with Amazon. Many fear the corporate behemoth, wooed to the city with billions of dollars in incentives, will drive up rents and increase speculation and displacement, further exacerbate the city’s existing housing crisis.

"What happens with Amazon is they bring a huge workforce. They completely transformed a part of Seattle that hadn't been developed,” said Patrick Ayers, 39, a march attendee who moved to New York from Seattle three years ago. “Right before I left Seattle my former landlord had a divorce and when they started to bring people around to look at the house it was investment bankers.”

Whether New York’s new Democratically-controlled State Senate will prioritize expanding rent stabilization remains to be seen. Governor Cuomo has stated as recently as this summer that he is “open to a conversation with all stakeholders about the details of rent control statewide.” However, the Real Estate Board of New York is reportedly shifting its lobbying efforts from Republicans towards more moderate Democrats.

Julia Salazar, who attended the march, is a newly-elected state senator from North Brooklyn and a member of Democratic Socialists of America. She ran on a platform of universal rent control, alongside Zellnor Myrie, another freshman Senator from Brooklyn.

But Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, one of the more senior legislators in attendance Thursday and a vocal critic of how the Amazon deal was brokered, demurred on expanding rental protections statewide, focusing instead on existing rent-stabilized tenants. “I am working hard to eliminate [major capital improvements], preferential rent and problems associated with vacancy decontrol,” he said.

“I don’t think it guarantees anything,” said 24-year-old Sean Riley, a DSA member from Brooklyn, of the new Democratic State Senate majority. “I mean, we had Nancy Pelosi calling for bipartisanship with Trump… last week. We have a possibility of winning stronger rent laws now, but the Democrats aren't going to do it themselves. We have to keep up the pressure.”

Chanting “1-2-3-4, tax the rich and house the poor!” marchers wound their way north from Bowling Green, some clearing snow from the road with their gloved hands. They finished at the headquarters of the Rent Stabilization Association, a statewide trade organization that lobbies for the interests of landlords. Afterwards, Rivera and her neighbors planned to drive home to Rochester through the storm.

"As soon as we leave out of here we're going to go home, and I can't wait to brag about all of this beautifulness,” Rivera said, smiling. “I can show my friends and family what they can do with power in numbers. I'm moved by everything here.”