I don’t know why people have so much trouble remembering all these new area codes. They’re almost as logical as the original ones. Let’s start with those: 201 (the very first) is New Jersey, followed by 202 for Washington, 203 for Connecticut and, thus, obviously, 204 for Manitoba, 205 for Alabama and 206 for the Seattle area of Washington State (Microsoft has its own area code).

Based on that pattern, you can probably intuit the rest. If not, click here for the whole list. A handy place to bookmark, along with its companion alphabetical list.

For those of you who like this sort of thing, here is a question that Mr. Crandall, our wonderful tenth grade math teacher (and tennis coach) gave us one day to cut our overweening little egos down to size: 14, 23, 34, 42, 50 — what comes next in this progression?

(Scroll down for the annoying answer.)

The answer is 59. New York’s West Side subway line stops at 14th Street, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 50th and then . . . 59th. (Our school was up at 246th Street, so we got to know the subway stops pretty well. But I don’t think anybody got this right.)

Meanwhile, the original reasoning behind area code requirements, back in the days of dial phones, was to assign the quickest-to-dial codes to the most populous regions. A number like 919 took a lot longer to dial than 212 or 213 or 312 — and who the heck lived in North Carolina compared with New York, LA and Chicago anyway? Now they are assigned, as best I can discern, by trying them out on focus groups to determine the absolutely hardest to remember, least connected codes possible.


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