Beware the Call of the Subway Emergency-Exit Door


How many times has this situation occurred: You disembark from your cramped rush-hour subway train, along with seemingly everyone in the city. You bound up the stairs and head for the turnstiles, where you know you’ll have to waste precious seconds waiting for your turn as the masses merge into a single-file line. Out of the corner of your eye, you glimpse the emergency-exit door — calling to you, offering you a prompt escape and a palpably speedier reunion with your warm, cozy home. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, some badass will brazenly plow through the door, and because he already broke that physical and mental barrier, you feel comfortable following in his path. Maybe once in a while, you’ll decide to be that trailblazing badass. Either way, rarely does anyone get disciplined for it. If any subway employees are around at the time, they’ll just look on forlornly, powerless to stop this blatant flaunting of subway law. But unfortunately for one Queens man who recently used the emergency-exit door, two undercover cops were standing nearby — and they were pissed.

After they observed 32-year-old Todd Zielinski using the emergency-exit door, instead of just ticketing him, the policemen cuffed him and brought him to jail … where he stayed for the next 28 hours. “I couldn’t believe it; I was stunned and shocked,” Zielinksi told the Daily News. A police spokesman offered the paper the lame explanation that Zielinksi “went through a door he wasn’t supposed to.” While that’s true, putting someone in jail for over a day seems like a slight overreaction. Maybe the police officers were just in a particularly bad mood that night, or had to fill their monthly unnecessary-arrest quota. Regardless, let this be a warning to you all to ignore the temptation of the emergency-exit door.

Cops cuff and stuff Queens man Todd Zielinski in cell for 28 hours for using subway emergency exit [NYDN]