Angell, on telephone exchanges

I thoroughly enjoy research and it is my intent to share the gems I find along the way to completing my novel on art forgery in 1914. Today, in searching for information on telephone exchanges in New York, and specifically Butterfield, I came across this delightful memory piece written by Roger Angell for The New Yorker magazine. My thanks to the author and to the blog the WASP Manifesto for posting the story so that I could find it.

The WASP Manifesto


Dial Again

by Roger Angell
February 10, 2003

Verizon has applied the branding iron, and starting this week everybody in Manhattan must punch in a 1 and then a 212 (or a 646 or 917) in front of the old local number before talking to his or her office or bookie or life companion or dog-walker or newspaper-delivery service (where was our Post yesterday?). It’s not such a big deal—I already knew I was a 212—but eleven numbers instead of seven are now required to bring about a conversation, which means a further lowering of the gray digit cloud that hangs over each of us, Pig Pen-like, from the moment we get up in the morning to the time we brush our teeth at night. The added numbers also signal the end of my hopes that the phone company might someday see the error of its integer…

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