Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What's in a name, or an area code? 917press explained

My faithful friend, inspiration and reader Steve gave me a generous shout out, but inquires to the origin of this blog's name.

917 is an overlay area code assigned to New York City. Back in the day, all of New York City was 212. NYC always had a high concentration of phones, so when dialing, by definition on a rotary, 212 was the quickest area code to dial, as compared to 800. As numbers kept accumulating, the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and ShaoLin) were exiled to 718 (a much longer dial, no?). Since Manhattan has so many letters, I now often refer to it as the 212. Then, as mobile phones emerged, they were given the area code 917. There is now 212, 718, 646, 347, and 917 in the Five.

As some of you know, I resisted the mobile lifestyle until 2003 when I moved to the Heights (Brooklyn that is)and gave up having a landline. In fact I used a rotary phone, and really felt the pain of 718. Nonetheless, when, in 1999, I moved up to the Heights (in this case Washington) my landline number had a 917 exchange, which always led to assumptions that this was my mobile number. No no, no no no... though I lived in Manhattan, I was denied the 212. This kind of slight would happen again in a few months when Manhattan, north of 135th Street, blacked out in July. Above 125 gets no love, and yes, I've gone through two blackouts in New York.

So anyway, I started feeling a bit disconnected from Manhattan, though present all over, well at least throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. So later that summer, I embraced my nomadic area code when I made a chapbook of poetry published by 917press. Thus is the tale.

More on the history of area codes. And here's the mess we have now ever since they abandoned area codes having either a one or zero in the middle.

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