Want a 212 Number? This Man Has 100 of Them

IMG_2653Stephen Rex Brown Dennis Mykytyn paid $3,000 for 100 phone numbers with a 212 area code.

Newcomers to the city are often burdened with area codes that advertise their rookie status like a scarlet letter. But few go to the drastic lengths of Dennis Mykytyn, who wanted a 212 area code so badly he paid $3,000 for 100 of them.

“It’s prestigious,” said Mr. Mykytyn, who runs a record label, Modern Records, in an office at Lafayette and East Fourth Streets. “When 212 is on your phone, everyone knows where that it is, and it means you’ve been around for a while.”

Mr. Mykytyn bought the 212 numbers in bulk in 2007 when he was moving his hedge fund from Westchester to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. He’s since closed the fund and now uses less than 10 of the numbers.

But he has no intention of selling the dormant digits.

“I viewed it as a marketing expense,” he said of the purchase.

A bounty of 212 numbers in sequence is so hard to find that the telecom company that sold Mr. Mykytyn the numbers, Improcom, now sells them in bundles of five or 10, rather than by the hundreds as they did four years ago.

“A good percentage of our clients will ask for 212, but people are being pushed to 646s,” said Jason Alperovich, the director of business development at Improcom. “They’re extinct now.”

To top it off, anyone who buys a 212 from Improcom has to pay a $50 one-time fee up front. But Mr. Alperovich said plenty of clients think it’s worth it.

“It’s old-school New York. The number represents a business that’s been around for a long time,” he said.

Mr. Mykytyn is able to use the 212 cachet wherever he likes; he said he receives calls to his 212 number in Los Angeles because the phone service is digital.

“I had an analyst working for me in Minnesota who had a 212 number,” he said. “If anyone called, they thought he was in New York.”

And if the record impresario’s label takes off, he’ll have plenty of available phone numbers for his staff. But for now, dozens of new employees aren’t on the horizon.

“I guess I could sublease 212 numbers if I wanted to,” said Mr. Mykytyn. “But I’m not sure if that’s a business I want to get involved in.”