Area codes 212, 646, and 332 are area codes in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for most of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. By area, it is one of the smallest numbering plan areas (NPAs). The three area codes form an overlay numbering plan, and are also overlaid by area code 917 of a numbering plan area that comprises the entirety of New York City. Area code 212 is the original code assigned for all of the city in 1947. After a restriction of 212 to just Manhattan in 1985, area code 646 was assigned to Manhattan in 1999. In 2015, area code 332 was also added to the Manhattan overlay.
Area code 212 is one of the original North American area codes assigned by AT&T in 1947, originally serving all five boroughs of New York City. For the next 37 years, New York City was one of the largest toll-free calling zones in North America.
On February 1, 1984, in response to a request from New York Telephone, the New York Public Service Commission voted to create a second area code for New York City. The split was implemented in a way that divided the city's three million telephone numbers roughly in half. Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island received the new area code 718, while Manhattan and the Bronx kept 212. 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, 718 began its split as scheduled on September 1, 1984. Permissive dialing of 212 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, 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.
With available 917 mobile numbers becoming scarce, area code 646 was implemented on July 1, 1999, as an overlay for Manhattan.
During November 2015, area code 332 was assigned as a third overlay area code for Manhattan, 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.
The Manhattan neighborhood of Marble Hill is located in the 718/347/929 numbering plan area (NPA), rather than the Manhattan NPA.
Marble Hill, although administratively a part of the Borough of Manhattan, was severed from Manhattan Island by the construction of the Harlem River Ship Canal during 1895. The by-passed segment of the Harlem River was filled in 1914, making the community a geographic part of the Bronx.
When the Bronx was reassigned with area code 718 in 1992, Marble Hill residents fought unsuccessfully to retain 212. Marble Hill's trunks are wired into the Bronx wire center, and it would have been too expensive for New York Telephone to rewire them.
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. An example is 212-736-5000 (PEnnsylvania 6-5000), the number for the Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown. Prior to its closure in 2020 and subsequent demolition, the hotel claimed it was the oldest telephone number used continuously in New York City, though this is disputed. The owners of the hotel have stated the phone number will remain in use for the new office tower replacing the historic hotel. The hotel's phone number appears as the title of the 1940 Glenn Miller Orchestra hit song, Pennsylvania 6-5000.
Area code 212 is considered prestigious by some Manhattan residents, because of its tradition as the city's original sole area code, and today's scarcity of available telephone numbers. Businesses sell 212-telephone numbers, although it is uncertain whether the customer or the telephone company is the legal owner of a number. In August 2010, AT&T reported that there were no new numbers available for area code 212. Several years prior, new landlines in Manhattan were assigned in the newer area codes, and users ported 212 numbers obtained from online sales.
- Rogers, Summer (August 12, 2011). "A Guy Bought a Hundred 212 Numbers for $3,000". Village Voice. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
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- Barbanel, Josh (February 16, 1984). "718 Area Code for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island Gains Approval". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- 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.
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- "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.
- NANPA area code map of New York
- North American Numbering Plan Administration
- Area Code 212 Map and Data
|West: 201/551||212/332/646, 917||East: 347/718/929/917|
|New Jersey area codes: 201/551, 609/640, 732/848, 856, 862/973, 908|