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Area Code Elitists

Remember that scene in the Sex and the City movie (the first crappy movie, not the second, crappier, insightful film about life in the Middle East and cross-cultural exchanges) when Carrie needs to get a new phone number and is dismayed to find that there are no more 917 numbers available, and that she’ll need to settle for a 646 number?


“I’ve got hoes, I’ve got hoes…in different area codes, area codes…”

Well, I’m not sure about other cities but here in New York, it sometimes does seem like there is a social dichotomy based on area codes. In other words, your cell phone’s area code may very well determine just how long have you been a loyal New Yorker.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of this phenomenon when I stumbled upon an article called 212 Area Codes Now “Retro-Chic” in the Gothamist. According to the post, 212 numbers (which is the original area code for Manhattan) for your mobile phone have become the new rent-controlled apartments: few and in between, and very difficult to obtain.

I actually do not know anyone in real life with a 212 cell phone number. But about half of my New York friends tote 917 numbers, which came right after 212, and have become pretty difficult to obtain themselves. I still proudly cling onto my own 917 number knowing that it is an “endangered species” (so to speak) and know that I would probably have the same reaction as Carrie if I ever had to change my number and became stuck with a 646 or 347 number.

Very mature, I know.

Have I become an area code elitist? Should I be concerned, because — as one commenter to the aforementioned Gothamist post says — you “can’t get much more shallow and insecure than thinking your area code makes you cool or not.”

Can anyone outside the New York area chime in on this phenomenon? Or is this another silly occurence specific to New York?