On February 1, 1984, the New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) voted to split New York City into 2 area codes. Manhattan and The Bronx would continue to use 212 and Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island would be designated 718. All subscribers in the new 718 area would keep their 7 digit number but with a 718 area code. The cutover date for phone numbers in the new area code was set for September 1, 1984. NY Telephone instituted a ‘permissive dialling period’ to allow callers to adjust.
After the breakup of the Bell System that same year, New York Telephone became a subsidiary of NYNEX, the Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) serving New York and New England. While New York Telephone kept the iconic Bell System logo designed by Saul Bass in 1969, NYNEX and NY Tel were on their own to implement the new area code. Launching an immense coast-to-coast information campaign, NYNEX completed cutover on the specified date with little service interruption.
By 1992, Manhattan’s insatiable appetite for telephone numbers had forced planners to begin delegating Bronx numbers to the 718 code. This led to an outcry from the residents of Marble Hill, who had historic ties to Manhattan but were physically connected to the Bronx, as they were required to adopt the 718 code as well. Around the turn of the century, the proliferation of cellphones required even more numbers for use: 917, 646, 347, and 929 were all introduced as New York City area code overlays.
- New York Telephone and NYNEX logos
- Map describing the future implementation of dialling codes following the 1984 changes, as outlined in a memo from the NANP administrator to North American telephone operators.
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