Residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village rallied Friday at City Hall, saying their apartments need to stay affordable when the complex is sold.
High-end developers have expressed interest in taking over the complex on Manhattan's East Side.
However, residents are wary after what happened the last time the property was sold, in 2006, when the new owners tried to price out long-time tenants. Those owners defaulted on the property a few years later, and the current management took over.
Community members and elected officials say they are committed to keeping the apartments affordable.
"So this was a way for tenants to let the world know that we're going to fight to remain in our homes and for it to remain middle class," said Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg.
"Our fight is for the millions who want to live in New York City, who want to live a good life in New York City, who have a modest income and just need a decent place to live," said Senator Charles Schumer.
Schumer says the nation's largest mortgage lenders have agreed they will only finance a sale if tenants and the city support it.