Tutorial: How to Get a 212 Area Code Phone Number

When I attended graduate school at Columbia University in the City of New York in the late 1980’s, one of chits of living on the Morningside Heights Campus — believe it or not — was getting a phone number with a 212 Area Code.  I know that may sound silly to some, but if you had a 212 phone number, that meant you lived in the exclusive borough of Manhattan, and you were desirable and important and to be envied by the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, at that time in America, there was no such thing as the FCC-enforced — Local Number Portability — and that meant if you moved, you had to change your phone number too.

Telephone numbers were regional, and based on local phone exchanges.  You could look at someone’s telephone number and know in what State they lived and even their local municipality.  Growing up in the Midwest, you stayed put your entire life, and the one phone number you had in your home defined you.  One of the hardest adjustments I had to make when I moved to another State was learning 10-digit dialing.  I grew up having to only enter seven numbers to call anyone in the entire State of Nebraska!

After I left the Midwest, I moved something like six times in a year in Washington, D.C. and New York City and, each time I moved, my phone number was forcibly changed.

Today, we are allowed to “own” our phone number and take it with us when we move or if we change wireless phone carriers.  Our phone numbers now tend to publicly anoint our personas more than our Social Security numbers.

I used to have one of the 212 Area Code phone numbers:  212-529-3939.  It was infamous in my circle of friends and admired by my close associates and everyone used to ask me, “How did you get such a great phone number?”  I simply asked Bell Atlantic (which became NYNEX which became Verizon) for an “easy to remember” number when I moved into Alphabet City in Manhattan from Morningside Heights, and the woman had two phone numbers I could pick from, and we went with the 3939 number and history was made ever after.

Unfortunately, and more crushingly, we had to move from our apartment a few years after the 3939 phone number acquisition, and I lost that number forever.  I was not allowed to take that number with me because it belonged to Bell Atlantic.  That beloved 3939 number lives again today as the main number for some Manhattan hotelier.  Sigh.

After there were no more 212 phone numbers to be had anywhere in Manhattan in the early 1990’s– 917 and 646 Area Code overlays were put in place — and you couldn’t get a 212 number if you wanted to pay for one.  917 started out in New York City as the number for pagers and fax machines and secondary voice lines.  212 was only to be used for primary voice telephone numbers — if you could somehow wheedle your way into getting one from the phone company after the rise of 917 and 646.

Today, thanks to Local Number Portability, you can have a phone number that travels with you anywhere you go.  You can have a 212 phone number in Nebraska or California or any other place you live.  You now own your phone number and it identifies you.  The wireless and landline phone carriers cannot force you to stay with them just because you want to keep your cool phone number.

With the recent and quite keen rise of Number Porting and Google Voice — we now have a fantastic way to keep our memorable phone number and pipe everything into and out of that One Phone Number for a mere $20.00USD porting fee!

Having a Google Voice phone number you really love means your home phone number and cellular phone numbers no longer matter.  You only give out your Google Voice phone number and then let Google ring all your sundry phones to find the best one you want to answer.



There’s a way…

To get a 212 Area Code phone number…

And make it your Google Voice phone number, too.

Enter 212AreaCode.com!

Yesterday, for some odd reason, I did a Google search on “212 Area Code Google Voice” and found a link to 212AreaCode.com.

I was amazed to find that I could, for a small fee, purchase a beloved 212 Area Code phone number and port it over to Google Voice and then have that new 212 number be my One Number now and forevermore.

I certainly didn’t mind paying to regain a 212 Area Code because getting what you want is never free.  When Gmail started years ago, I was an early adopter when I purchased a beta invitation on eBay to get the email address I wanted — and it was the best $40.00USD I’d ever spent.

I pawed around 212AreaCode.com to see what sort of phone numbers they had available.

I knew I didn’t want anything with a “4” in it because that is the sound of death, and I found a new phone number I liked a lot under the “Business” heading.  I didn’t love it as much as my previous 3939, but it would do just fine as my new 212 eternity number.  The 212 number I really wanted was selling for $1,750.00USD and that wasn’t a pocketable possibility for me right now.

After I picked my number and paid via PayPal, I received this email giving me the detailed steps of what to expect in the Google Voice porting process.

Now that you purchased a 212 number, the next step is to port the number to Google Voice, here are simple instructions to assist you with the process:

Porting the number to Google Voice:

1. Verify that your Google Voice account allows number porting by visiting: https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/porting

2. Input your new 212 area code phone number at the required field and click: “Check”, Google will analyze it to see if it’s eligible for porting.

3. If it is, you’ll just click through a few disclaimers – just as you would when opening up a new email account.

4. On the next step Google will attempt to call the number you are porting in to complete a “voice Verification”, for this step to complete successfully you will need to contact us at the time you attempt to port in the number so we can answer the phone and input the correct verification code.

5. Next, Google will ask for your personal details such as: address, account number etc. the account has been registered to your name and address, the account number is displayed below.

6. Use Google Checkout to complete the $20.00 porting fee.

7. You will receive an email from Google Voice stating that some information is missing, the info missing is the PIN number, follow the link in the email and input the PIN as displayed below.

Here’s a screenshot of the important details of my new 212 phone number.  I was surprised to see the number was currently tied to a prepaid T-Mobile account.

I liked the 917 Google Voice number I’d been using, but for a 212-snob like me, a 917 number reeks of fax machines and smells of pagers, and so I’d sort of been loathe to give out the number much.  I clicked on the “Change/Port” link and I was off!

I clicked on the second URL: Use my “existing” mobile number.

I answered all the Number Porting questions.

When I received this verification step, I called 212AreaCode.com, gave them the special Google confirmation code. I clicked on the “Call me Now” button.  Google called my new 212 phone number and the folks at 212AreaCode.com answered, and punched in the code for me, and we were done!

After confirming the code, I entered my personal information.

Next, I had to pay Google their $20.00USD porting fee.

I use Google Apps for My Domain, and I was surprised I didn’t have to logout of my BolesUniversity.com email account and login with my ordinary Gmail account to pay.

I could use Google Checkout with my domain email address!  Yes!  That’s a change I didn’t know had happened yet.

Done and done!

As 212AreaCode.com promised, I quickly received an email from Google telling me there was a “problem” porting my number.  I clicked on the URL provided and entered the PIN number.  No problem.

This morning, exactly 24 hours after I ported my new 212 phone number over to Google Voice, I received this email from Google telling me the Number Porting process was complete!


I am now back in the ironclad land of 212, and that’s a perfect precursor to our eventual move back to The City.

I immediately logged in to Google Voice and saw my new 212 phone number sitting there and shining back at me.

My old 917 Google Voice phone number will be valid for 90 days and then it will expire, so for three months I actually have two Google Voice numbers that are alive: 212 and 917.  I have no idea if, in 90 days, I can re-port a new number or not.

Since my 212 number is now My Number for All Things, I decided to set up Google Voice on my iPhone.

Now you know how you can buy a new 212 Area Code phone number and have it working with Google Voice in 24 hours.  Your hourly setup mileage may vary from mine, but I was surprised and delighted at the seamless and transparent 212 purchasing process and the smooth transition to porting that number into Google Voice.  Oh, if we’d only had that process available 20 years ago, I’d still be calling you, and getting called on, my 212-529-3939 number.

My wife, Janna, was so impressed with my new 212 phone number –she wanted one of her own for her iPhone — and today we bought her one from 212AreaCode.com, too!  She will also use her 212 phone number with Google Voice.  Now we can be 212 snobs together!

Thank you, 212AreaCode.com, for giving us a second bite at the 212 Big Apple.