The commuters were descending to take the Q train at the 72nd Street station on the Upper East Side when it became stuck.
17 people were trapped inside.
First responders and MTA mechanics managed to bring the stuck cab back to the surface and open it up after 80 minutes.
No injuries were reported.
Schindler, a third-party contractor, operates the elevator.
"Obviously we are now having urgent discussions with Schindler as to why that elevator stalled," said Transit Authority President Andy Byford. "There's a number of reasons why it got stuck, but the bottom line is we're going to hold them to account. I do not want my customers trapped in elevators, period."
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