Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed two Russian punk-rock protesters to City Hall Friday.
The two former members of the band "Pussy Riot" are on a tour of the city after spending nearly two years in a Russian prison.
They were convicted of "hooliganism" for staging a protest in a church.
They spoke to the mayor and first lady about their goal to improve prison conditions in Russia.
Before the meeting, de Blasio said that he admired their work as activists.
"They are speaking up for human rights," he said. "They're speaking out against oppression and against the denial of the right to free speech, and their strength and resilience in the face of what they've gone through is truly inspirational to me."
Since their release, the two women have continued to be critical of President Vladimir Putin and political conditions in Russia.