Mayor Bill de Blasio and four of his primary opponents made their pitch to voters at a candidate forum in Manhattan.
The mayor's rivals criticized him on issues like homelessness and the closure of Rikers Island.
But the audience was even tougher on him, including one woman who grilled him on the city's plan to redevelop a garden in Little Italy into affordable housing for seniors.
"It looks to me as if listening to the community is what you say you do, but that's not what you're doing on Elizabeth Street Garden," the woman said. "What's going on there?"
De Blasio responded, "I think it's a very fair question, and I believe I am because, look, Elizabeth Street Garden is a lovely amenity in the community."
"More than an amenity. It's a community gathering," the woman replied.
"It's a wonderful thing," de Blasio said.
Sal Albanese, Robert Gangi, Michael Tolkin and Kevin Coenen also took part.
The event was hosted by the Village Independent Democrats, who will announce an endorsement next week.