Come spring of 2017, there will be a new Manhattan area code in town. In addition to 212, 917, and 646, the city will now have 332. The news reignites the strange, only-in-New-York nostalgia and prestige that goes along with a 212 phone number, the original NYC area code. As 6sqft previously described, there are only a couple ways to get your hands on this coveted number: “Use the services of a phone number brokerage like 212areacode.com, which will sell you the number for anywhere from $75 to more than $1,000. You can also get lucky. Time Warner has a few dozen 212 numbers available each month from businesses shutting down or people moving.”
Why are New Yorkers jumping through hoops for 212? “On a practical level, people applying for jobs or making business calls feel that having a 212 area code pop up on the caller ID makes them appear to be well-established locals. Others however, merely enjoy their phone number serving as a conversation piece and source of envy.” What about you?
Images: Via BrocanteBedStuyHOMME (L); Via WNYC/Flickr (R)
Last month we posed the question, “Is 212 Fifth Avenue the ultimate Manhattan address?” Developers of a new condo at the location are hoping that the prestige of Fifth Avenue coupled with the synonymy of 212 with Manhattan (it served as the borough’s sole area code for 45 years) will make their new residence the New York-iest address in town. But the 212 fanfare goes far deeper than a real estate marketing tactic.
Just as “Seinfeld”‘s Elaine stole her dead neighbor’s 212 phone number after hers got changed to a 646 area code, real New Yorkers are going to great lengths to secure a phone number beginning with those three coveted digits. Today, the New York Times delves into the hype surrounding the 212 area code, looking at those who buy the phone numbers from “brokers” who sell them for upwards of $1,000, as well as the mathematics behind the area code system.
What’s with all the 212 hype?
That’s what developers of a new condominium at 212 Fifth Avenue are hoping. The prestige of Fifth Avenue is world-famous (it also adds a 5- to 10-percent premium to the price of an apartment), and as anyone who was around back in the days of analog phone exchanges knows, 212 is synonymous with Manhattan. Reporting on the “New York-iest address,” the Daily News mentions how even “Seinfeld”‘s Elaine steals her dead neighbor’s 212 phone number after she gets changed to a 646 area code. “The bearer of a 212 phone number looks like a longtime New Yorker. It’s the ultimate luxury accessory,” the paper says.
Is all the fuss justified?