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lofter1
April 8th, 2006, 08:51 PM
Does anyone know the specific Exchange Names that were used in NYC before they were dropped in favor of numbered prefixes?

Here is a LINK (http://ourwebhome.com/TENP/Recommended.html) to the list of officially recommended Exchange Names from Ma Bell (from "Notes on Nationwide Dialing, 1955").

Where I grew up the numerical prefix "935" was previously referred to in telephone lingo as "Yellowstone".

One of the more famous NYC Exchange Names was coined by John O'Hara in the title of his 1935 novel "BUtterfield 8" -- a name that doesn't appear on the official list!

I'm curious if anyone knows what specific Exchange Names were linked to prefixes "431" and "925" in NYC.

Some possibilities (per the list):

431:
GEneral
GEneva
HEmlock
HEmpstead
IDlewood


925:
WAbash
WAlker
WAlnut
WArwick
WAverly

NYatKNIGHT
April 10th, 2006, 03:02 PM
KNickerbocker
NIghtingale
PLaza
ALgonquin
YUkon
KLondike
GRamercy
CAnal
UNiversity
DEfender
EXeter
STillwell

Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's number was MUrray Hill 7, I think.

And of course, the Hotel Pennsylvania: PEnnsylvania 6-5000.

Dagrecco82
April 10th, 2006, 03:15 PM
The Ricardos phone number seemed to change a lot. First it was, Murray Hill 5-9975, then it became Circle 7-2099, and then again to Murray Hill 5-9099. The reason for this was to ensure that fans would not call the number and actually get a hold of someone. (I think)

This is totally off-top ( I know :( )
Maybe someone else has stated this, but the Ricardos' address was 623 E. 68th Street. However, E. 68th Street in Manhattan only goes up to 600 - which means that the Ricardos' building was in the middle of the East River. I'm a BIG I Love Lucy Fanatic!

lofter1
April 11th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Aha -- Thanks for the new info ...

So a 219 prefix could be "CAnal" ...

Some more INFO (http://www.privateline.com/TelephoneHistory3A/numbers.html) :


People eventually knew exchange names belonged to certain parts of the city and made associations and assumptions based on your telephone number ... Your telephone number gave a clue. All number dialing wiped out all these names and the memories that went them, much angst ensued, and countless editorials mourned their loss. Witness this lament from New York City:

"You could learn about a fella by knowing his exchange. A MOnument fella was up near 100th Street and West End Avenue. You could picture him coming downtown on the IRT, strolling first to 96th and Broadway for the newspapers, passing the Riviera and Riverside movie theaters (both gone). The ATwater girl was an East Side girl, a taxi-hailing girl, on her way to her job at Benton and Bowles. A CIrcle fella was a midtown fella, entering his CIrcle-7 Carnegie-area office with a sandwich from the Stage Deli. And what about a SPring-7 girl, twirling the ends of her long brown hair as she lay on her bed talking to you on te phone? A Greenwich Village girl. A 777 girl is nothing. She is invisible. She is without irony, seldom listens to music."

Jonathan Schwartz, New York Magazine, December 21 -- 28, 1987, as reproduced in Once Upon a Telephone: An Illustrated Social History, (1994) Stern and Gwathmey, New York. Harcourt Brace and Company. p.47
As I mentioned at the top of this page, in 1958 The Bell System began phasing out exchange name dialing or letter prefixes. As Stern and Gwathmey put it, "the WAlnuts, LOcusts, SPruces and MAgnolias were just so much dead wood." As of 1977, nearly two decades later, only 74% of Bell System lines were ANC or all number calling, it would take years more to complete the job, removing a system which was never needed in the first place.

moogyboy
May 23rd, 2006, 02:20 PM
Sifting through my good friend Evan Doorbell's massive collection of '70s era telephone recordings (a very entertaining bit of nostalgia for many, I'm sure--how many here remember the noisy, gritty sound of the pre-digital Bell System phone network?), some of NYC's old prefixes include:

BEachview
GEdney (Brooklyn)
SHore Road
TRafalgar
ULster
MUrray
NEptune (Queens)

Check'm out: http://www.wideweb.com/phonetrips You'll need RealPlayer to listen to these recordings.

cheers,

Billy S.

lofter1
May 23rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
Thanks, moogyboy ...

...some of NYC's old prefixes include:

BEachview 23
GEdney (Brooklyn) 43
SHore Road 74
TRafalgar 87
ULster 85
MUrray 68
NEptune (Queens) 63

Schadenfrau
May 23rd, 2006, 09:13 PM
If any of you are ever near Yankee Stadium, you have to check out the sign for the liquor store on 161st, between River and Gerard Avenues. It still boasts an ME-XXXX phone number after all this time.

moogyboy
May 23rd, 2006, 09:32 PM
Thanks, moogyboy ...






...some of NYC's old prefixes include:
BEachview 23
GEdney (Brooklyn) 43
SHore Road 74
TRafalgar 87
ULster 85
MUrray 68
NEptune (Queens) 63






No problemo...to be a little more specific, according to the website NE4/634 was/is in Belle Harbor, Queens, and GE9/439, or at least the actual phone company building serving that prefix, was somewhere in the upper 70's in Brooklyn...77th St., I think.

cheers

Billy S.

stache
May 24th, 2006, 06:38 AM
There was a CHelsea exchange, too.

JBG
June 20th, 2006, 10:51 PM
I grew up in 914 area code.

I lived in SCarsdale 3. Others in my area were GReenleaf 2 (Scarsdale), WHite Plains 6, 8 and 9, YOnkers 5, 6, 8 and 9, NEw Rochelle 3 and 6, OWens 8 (Mamaroneck), MOunt Vernon 4 and 8, MOunt Kisco 6, CEntral 8 (Chappaqua).

Margot
May 12th, 2010, 12:39 PM
There was a CHelsea exchange, too.

Most Greenwich Village phones still had the exchange printed on the dial label as late as the 70s. I remember seeing CH 3-6848.

As to the og commenter's notion that John O'Hara 'coined' a fictitious exchange with Butterfield 8, that was and is a genuine exchange common on the Upper East Side. There are probably lots of old desk phones and letterheads around with BU 8 on them.

ZippyTheChimp
May 12th, 2010, 04:19 PM
You can identify the oldest exchanges by the first 3 letters in the exchange name. That was the naming system used by NY Telephone in the 1920s.

It was the BUTterfield. exchange. The "T" equates to an 8. There was no BU-4 or BU-5, just BU-8

Same thing for the Glen Miller song, "Pennsylvania 6-5000." The 6 is the N in the PENnsylvania exchange.

Other oldies:

254 - ALGonquin
472 - GRAmercy
687 - MURay Hill
236 - BENsonhurst
644 - NIGhtingale.

If you gave someone your telephone number, you said, "Butterfield 1234."

As telephone service exploded, they quickly ran out of exchanges. So by the 1930s, there was a GRamercy-5.

JBG
May 13th, 2010, 12:06 AM
You can identify the oldest exchanges by the first 3 letters in the exchange name. That was the naming system used by NY Telephone in the 1920s.

It was the BUTterfield. exchange. The "T" equates to an 8. There was no BU-4 or BU-5, just BU-8

Same thing for the Glen Miller song, "Pennsylvania 6-5000." The 6 is the N in the PENnsylvania exchange.

Other oldies:

254 - ALGonquin
472 - GRAmercy
687 - MURay Hill
236 - BENsonhurst
644 - NIGhtingale.

If you gave someone your telephone number, you said, "Butterfield 1234."

As telephone service exploded, they quickly ran out of exchanges. So by the 1930s, there was a GRamercy-5.Boston used three-letters for a lot longer. KENmore became KEnmore 6-. COPley became COpley 7. But they never branched out the exchanges, as they did in NY with MURray Hill and GRAmercy.

ZippyTheChimp
May 13th, 2010, 11:36 AM
^
New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago were the first US cities to use what was called 3L-4N format. It's true that many places retained the 3 letter format for a long time. That depended on the need for more switches; there are 10,000 possible numbers of 4 digits.

Sometimes in old movies, it seems like telephone numbers were only 6 digits, like when Lou Costello was trying to reach Alexander 4444 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1i9rTwmZxk)



List of New York Telephone exchanges from 1920 to 1930 (http://phone.net46.net/nyc/earlyalpha.html#Academy).

List of New york Telephone exchanges after 1930 (http://phone.net46.net/nyc/latealpha.html).

Telco Guy
August 1st, 2010, 01:29 PM
With exchange names people who didn't spell well often received wrong numbers. If they thought YUkon 8 on Staten Island was UK, they would reach ULster 8 in downtown Brooklyn. SK dialed for SChuyler 4 on the Upper West Side, sent their call to PLaza 4 on the East Side.

Errors also occurred with names of states. If VIrginia 3 in Queens were dialed as VA, the call went to TAlmadge in the Bronx. PEnnsylvania 6 (as PA) reached RAvenswood in Long Island City.

Two-name exchanges created problems for some. Wrong numbers were sure to happen if someone thought MUrray Hill was MH, BOwling Green, BG and SAint George, SG.

TommyB
August 5th, 2010, 07:03 PM
Growing up in Rahway, NJ our number was FUlton2-xxxx so technically there was someone with the number F-U spelled out!

marcat
August 19th, 2010, 01:19 PM
Growing up in the Bronx, zip 10472, our exchange was TIVoli1-xxxx

stache
August 19th, 2010, 02:21 PM
I like that one.

lofter1
August 19th, 2010, 04:09 PM
Growing up in California ours was YEllowstone.

stache
August 19th, 2010, 06:46 PM
I can remember when I was a wee one, the population of my home town was close to 50K and we still had four digit phone #'s. Then they switched to seven digits without initials. At first everyone had the same prefix but they soon added a couple more. I'm guessing they did this for direct long distance dialing.

east215
December 1st, 2010, 12:26 AM
I still remember remember NY in the 80s. I worked in Midtown, and many of the the employees at my firm still gave out our number as PLaza 5-2000. My number in the Bronx was 367-6437, but my neighbor always said FOrdham 7-6437. I can't remember the name of the car services, but well into the late 90s, the numbers were written on the cars as FO4 and TA8. Also, does anyone remember the number for Time-Of-Day service? It was ME7-1212. I still have my neighbor Ann's number in my personal phone book as OL (it would have been OLinville) 5- **** (privacy, she still has the same number) and my friend George's number in Chelsea as YU (YUkon?) 7- **** (Ditto, privacy) as well. It's funny, I still think of those numbers the same way.

mariab
March 25th, 2011, 01:08 PM
New Jersey man hawks his (212) phone number on eBay wants $1 million for swanky area code



By New York Daily News (http://news.yahoo.com/bloggers/new-york-daily-news) new York Daily News (http://news.yahoo.com/bloggers/new-york-daily-news) Fri Mar 25, 8:59 am ET
http://l.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/us/news/editorial/7/12/71254a67d97ddbfcb91dfe235b46d645.gif (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=10sd6qia1/*http://www.nydailynews.com)

Katie Nelson (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11j189t4u/*http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Katie%20Nelson), DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/1/a1/1a129c44e69e94ce7e13ad68334fecb0.jpeg
An eager eBay (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11drs5u6m/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/eBay+Inc.) seller hopes to capitalize on the cachet of a 212 phone number by hawking his digits for a cool $1 million.
A listing for (212)-5XX-9000 went up a year ago on the auction site, and 26 offers rolled in.
They ranged from $2 to $500, though, and none was "serious," said the seller, Carmen, who doesn't want to give his full name or phone number, fearing pranksters.
A demand exists for the coveted area code, said David Day (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11daj4n5j/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Day), manager of 212areacode.com, a site selling the Manhattan (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11dqu63nm/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Manhattan) numbers. He called it a status symbol.
"Individuals come because they don't want to get stuck with a 347 or 646 from the phone company, which makes them look like they are new to the city," he said. "Then you have corporations or businesses that come to us because they have a reputation and they want to stand out. They don't want to look like they just set up shop."
A 212 number goes for anywhere from $50 to $500 on eBay. But Carmen, a retiree from Fort Lee (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11c03hjsu/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Fort+Lee), N.J. (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11e4fkaa4/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+Jersey), is banking that a company will pay much more for his easy-to-remember digits for its business branding.
Carmen got the number 35 years ago for his business, when he had an office in midtown.
On a whim he requested a double or triple-zero phone number from Verizon (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=11vh9eofm/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Verizon+Communications+Inc.)'s customer service. To his surprise, the phone company granted his wish.
"I was tickled pink when I got that number," he said. "I was a one-man-show at that time. I advertised considerably back in those days. The name and number association was one and the same."
Roughly six months later, Verizon came calling back and said they gave out that number by mistake, Carmen said.
"They typically reserve numbers like these for big companies, and they wanted it back. I said, 'No way,'" he recalled.
Now he hopes the sale of the digits will help cover the care of his 98-year-old mother, who has dementia.
Is it legal? Verizon said it's unclear, but points out that New York State Public Service Commission (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/yblog_localnyc/ts_yblog_localnyc/storytext/new-jersey-man-hawks-his-212-phone-number-on-ebay-wants-1-million-for-swanky-area-code/40822938/SIG=12ctk4o4q/*http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+State+Public+Service+Commission) rules say subscribers have "no proprietary right in any number that is assigned by the Telephone Company."
That said, switching a phone number over is technically possible, said Bill Kula, Verizon's director of media relations.
Both Verizon and AT&T say they still hand out 212's on a rolling basis because people give them up when they move out of the area. Neither company would specify if they had any to hand out.

Ninjahedge
March 28th, 2011, 08:14 AM
$1M for something he does not really own, and did very little to actually get....


I don't think so.

ZippyTheChimp
March 28th, 2011, 09:36 AM
Edit: Merged threads.

Fabrizio
March 28th, 2011, 04:49 PM
My number in Manhattan was 0900. A number I'll never forget. It was assigned to me, no request and quite a surprise.

1 million is exaggerated but I would think a number like 9000 will get a good price.