Area codes 212, 646, and 332 are area codes in the North American Numbering Plan for most of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. By area, it is one of the smallest numbering plan areas (NPAs). These area codes are overlaid by area code 917, which covers the entirety of New York City.
On February 1, 1984, in response to a request from New York Telephone, the New York Public Service Commission voted to divide New York City into two numbering plan areas. Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island received the new area code 718, while numbering plan area 212 was reduced to Manhattan and the Bronx. Amid protests from local officials and state lawmakers, the commission was persuaded by New York Telephone's reasoning that a new area code was needed to "prevent an impending exhaustion of telephone numbers."
New York Telephone made some 718 telephone numbers operational several days in advance. Despite state lawmakers for the outer boroughs threatening legislation to stop the division, code 718 was initiated as scheduled on September 1, 1984. Permissive dialing of 212 telephone numbers continued across New York City, during which either 212 or 718 could be used, until January 1, 1985, when the use of 718 became mandatory for the boroughs affected.
On July 1, 1992, the 718 territory was expanded to include the Bronx and the Marble Hill neighborhood of Manhattan (see below), while the rest of Manhattan remained in 212. Permissive dialing of 212 continued across the Bronx until May 16, 1993, during which either 212 or 718 could be used; after that date, 718 had to be used for telephone calls to the Bronx from everywhere outside the borough except the three boroughs that originally had the 718 code, and Bronx residents telephoning Manhattan had to dial 212. On September 25, 1993, callers from the Bronx no longer had to dial 718 to reach Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Area code 646 overlaid area code 212 in Manhattan on July 1, 1999, when available 917 mobile numbers were becoming scarce.
During November 2015, area code 332 was assigned as an additional overlay area code for Manhattan's numbering plan area 212 and 646, the fourth serving the area and the seventh serving New York City. Area code 332 became active on June 10, 2017, as area code 212 was expected to become depleted of numbers during the third quarter of 2017, and 646 is expected to become depleted of numbers by 2018. This effectively allocates 23.4 million numbers to a borough of 1.6 million people.
One Manhattan neighborhood, Marble Hill, is part of the 718/347/929 codes, rather than the 212/646/332 area codes.
Marble Hill, although officially a part of the Borough of Manhattan to this day, was severed geographically from Manhattan Island by the construction of the Harlem River Ship Canal during 1895. It was physically connected to the Bronx in 1914 when the by-passed segment of the Harlem River was filled in. When the Bronx shifted to 718 in 1992, Marble Hill residents fought to stay in 212, but lost. Marble Hill's trunk cable system is wired into the Bronx line, and it would have been too expensive for New York Telephone to rewire it.
A business with a 212 area code is often perceived as having the prestige of Manhattan and the convenience of stability, particularly if a number has been in service for several decades. One example is PEnnsylvania 6-5000 (presently 212-736-5000), the number for the Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown. The hotel claims that it is the oldest telephone number used continuously in New York City. This claim is disputed, but PEnnsylvania 6-5000 did appear in a 1940 Glenn Miller Orchestra song title.
The scarcity of available telephone numbers in area code 212, combined with it being the city's original area code, result in the 212 area code being considered prestigious by some Manhattan residents. Businesses now sell telephone numbers with 212 area codes, though it is uncertain whether the customer or the telephone company is the legal owner of a phone number.
During August 2010, AT&T reported that there are no new numbers available in the 212 area code. Several years before then, new landlines in Manhattan started to be assigned numbers in 917 (or 646). In addition, the Inwood section in far northern Manhattan is overlaid with area code 347, which also began as a cellphone area code. Those who now get a 212 area code must rely on luck of the draw when they establish their service or use websites where they can purchase a telephone number with the coveted area code which they can port to their landline or cellphone service.
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- Heller Anderson, Susan; Carroll, Maurice (August 30, 1984). "New York Day by Day – Reaching Out And Touching 3 Boroughs". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- "Calling the Bronx – 718 Today". The New York Times. May 16, 1993. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- "Telephone Identifications – In the Bronx, 718 Is Up, 212 Is Down". The New York Times. July 1, 1992. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- McFadden, Robert D. (June 5, 1990). "917 Area Code Is Proposed For the Bronx". The New York Times. p. B6. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- Hu, Winnie (June 30, 1999). "In Manhattan, the 646 Area Code Is Correct, but Somehow Wrong". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- "Planned NPAs Not Yet in Service". North American Numbering Plan Administration. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- MacMillan, Thomas. "Manhattan Is Getting Another Area Code: 332". The Wall Street Journal. December 1, 2015.
- Levine, Alexandra S. (June 9, 2017). "New York Today: Welcoming a New Area Code". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- Slattery, Denis (May 3, 2017). "Manhattan to see new area code 332 next month". New York Daily News.
- "2015-1 NRUF and NPA Exhaust Analysis". North American Numbering Plan Administration. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "New Manhattan Area Code Needed to Meet Demand". TWC News. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- Mcgeehan, Patrick (March 24, 2015). "Manhattan Area Codes Multiply, but the Original, 212, Is Still Coveted". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- Nelson, Katie (May 25, 2011). "New Jersey man hawks his (212) phone number on eBay: Wants $1 million for swanky area code". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- "Manhattan mobile misery: coveted 212 area code becomes rarer". Reuters. May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- Span, Paula (July 6, 1999). "Six-What? New Area Code Lacks the Status of 212". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- Kugel, Seth (March 20, 2005). "The 212 Cachet: Now Available on Cellphones". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- McGeehan, Patrick (March 24, 2015). "Manhattan Area Codes Multiply, but the Original, 212, Is Still Coveted". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Waxler, Caroline (August 10, 2010). "212 Lust: Old Phone Numbers Are New Thing in Tech Scene". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- "Additional Area Code Planned for New York City". Neustar, Inc. PR Newswire. June 10, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- North American Numbering Plan Administration
- North American Numbering Plan Administration Area Code Map of New York
- List of exchanges from AreaCodeDownload.com, 212 Area Code
- 212 Area Code Information
- Interactive Map of Area Code 212
|West: 201/551||area code 212/332/646 overlaid by 917||East: 347/718/929/917|
|New Jersey area codes: 201/551, 609/640, 732/848, 856, 862/973, 908|