By the time the sun came up on Monday, more than 1,600 people were waiting.

"In years past, everyone basically got a slot in the lottery that was in line," says Kwame Patterson, spokesman for the New York City District Council of Carpenters. "In fact, we had guys that would come in maybe two hours, three hours, four hours after the line was depleted, and they'd still get a slot.

"This year we ran out of slots in two hours," Patterson continues. "We had to inform everyone that was still standing in line after we ran out that we may do this again in 2015, but we're out. We don't have any more slots to provide."

Fewer than half of those who waited got a card. Even the ones who did will go back to the jobs they have (or back to the hunt for one) while they wait to hear from the union. They won't hold their breath. "We just recently called somebody who was on the 2009 list," Patterson says.

Outside the union hall, working men say gruff goodbyes and exchange phone numbers to keep in touch. Valentine sits on a loading dock across the street with his uncle, waiting for his brother to reach the front of the line. Asked if he'd be jealous if his brother got the call and he did not, Valentine shakes his head.

"I'd be happy for him," he says. "Can't be mad. This could really change someone's life."

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