Mental Floss

Area Codes as Status Symbols

Ransom Riggs
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Area codes aren't a big deal everywhere -- Montana, for instance, which only has one area code for the entire state: 406. But in tightly-packed urban areas (and amidst the attendant sprawl that surrounds them), area codes tend to slice and dice cities into a half-dozen pieces, each of which represents a lifestyle, because in many big cities, you are where you live.

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Just one number away from 213, 212 is New York City's original area code, bestowed upon the city that never sleeps because it's the fastest three-number combination you can dial with a rotary phone. Today, only part of Manhattan retains the 212 area code, which is a mark of old New York pride among those who have it. 917 is the other code most associated with New York, and was created when cell phones started becoming popular to specifically service wireless and pager numbers. (A 1996 court order forced the expansion of 917 to service other types of phones as well.) I have friends here in Los Angeles who moved here from New York years ago, but staunchly refuse to give up their 212 or 917 cell phone numbers.

What about your area? Are there any stigmas attached to or assumptions made about the area codes where you live?

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