"It's been like this since 11 or 12," said Betsy Abril, 23, who came to hand out coffee. "A lot of people are saying this isn't normal."
Ms. Morales, a city employee who didn't want give her first name, said the big problem is disorganization. She waited in a line inside for 20 minutes only to be told she had been directed to the wrong line.
"Come on. This is ridiculous. I mean, they don't know nothing."
Once inside, many said the small auditorium at P.S. 46, the Edgar Allan Poe School, appeared to be ill-equipped to house eight districts worth of voters who must vote at the school. It was packed with voters waiting in disorganized lines. Poll workers dodged between them, looking frazzled.
There was only one entrance for those coming in and they shared it with those leaving, so a big crowd waited by the door. One poll worker's job was just to stand by the door directing traffic. "Let the people in," he yelled over the crowd.
Older voters and those with disabilities were being let through a backdoor with a ramp. But once inside, chairs were scarce.
Many families waited outside, and kids ran up and down East 196th Street, which has been blocked off. Kabba Gassama waited outside with his daughter and managed to stay cheerful despite the wait and the cold.
"It's not so bad,” he said. “It's a beautiful day."
Produced in cooperation with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism's NYC News Service.