A second area code for Nassau is necessary because seven-digit...

A second area code for Nassau is necessary because seven-digit phone numbers in 516 are projected to be depleted by 2023, according to the New York State Public Service Commission. Credit: Newsday/John Keating

Nassau County, meet your new area code: 363.

Supplementing existing 516 phone numbers, those in Nassau's future second area code are set to start being rolled out in the second quarter of 2023, the New York State Public Service Commission announced Monday.

A new area code for Nassau is needed by the second quarter of next year because that's when seven-digit phone numbers in 516 are projected to be depleted, according to a statement from the commission. A request for new service, an additional line, or a move in the location of service, might all be met with a seven-digit phone number with 363, not the 516 area code, according to the commission.

Existing phone numbers with 516 will keep that area code, under an "overlay" plan. But due to the complex way telecom carriers acquire numbers, it's possible 516 will still be assigned to new customers, at least for a while.

"The overlay area code will be assigned to newly issued telephone numbers in Nassau County once all existing 516 telephone numbers are exhausted, and will apply to all telephone numbers, regardless of service type," the commission statement said. "The new area code is projected to provide telephone number relief in Nassau County for approximately 49 years."

News that Nassau would be getting a new area code came last year, in an announcement by the commission. The 516 area has been on LI for at least 60 years.

What to know

  • Nassau's new area code, 363, debuts in April, May or June of next year for new phone numbers.
  • Existing phone numbers keep 516.
  • The additional area code is “is projected to provide telephone number relief” in Nassau for about 49 years.

The 363 area code joins 631, which, in 1999 became Suffolk County’s — splitting from what was then the Islandwide area code of 516. Then, in 2016, Suffolk got a second area code: 934.

New area codes in the United States haven’t been handled via geographic split since 2007, said self-described area-code guru Linc Madison, a retired telecom consultant who runs the website lincmad.com.

Madison predicted last fall that Nassau’s area code would be 363.

"I’m feeling pretty good about that," Madison, 58, of San Francisco, said Monday of his prediction.

So, how'd he get it right?

By undertaking a puzzle-like analysis via Microsoft Excel involving lists of available, and unassignable, prefixes, which are the first three digits of a seven-digit number, after the area code. An organization called the North American Numbering Plan Administrator rolls out the new area codes whenever numbers in the existing supply are exhausted, Madison said in an email to Newsday in October.

Some three-digit combinations are reserved, such as 911 and 311, others would conflict with what’s in use locally and by neighboring locales. Another clue came from a document the administrator accidentally disclosed some years ago, a leak known among area code buffs as "Oopsie."

At the Country Glen Center in Carle Place on Monday afternoon, some shoppers said they were indifferent to the looming area code, with others were unaware entirely.

Kathy Rohrer of New Hyde Park recalled how, around the time she lived in Queens, the borough and others were split off from the 212 area code in the mid-1980s and given 718.

"I think with the increasing population it’s inevitable," she said. "It takes a while for an adjustment but as long as they advertise it and send out the right messaging … I don’t think in the long run it’s a problem."

Ashley Estrella, 32, of Albertson, said it’s a bit shocking to hear the supply of numbers in the 516 area code is depleting. Estrella said she’s had the same number for more than a decade and wouldn’t want to lose her 516 digits.

"It’s maybe for nostalgic purposes I would keep my number," she said. "I would find it to be a little bit strange for me to switch it up."

Anyway, Estrella noted, she’s memorized a handful of phone numbers, since most people just save a number in a phone and click on the person’s name to initiate a call.

"You just put it in your phone, and there’s no reason for you to remember it," she said.

She wondered whether 363 might confuse callers with Suffolk County’s 631, given the similarity.

"If I could guess, people in Suffolk might do 631 accidentally instead of 363," she said.

Still, in an age of speed dial and smartphones and Google, a new area code’s introduction doesn’t inflict the same level of disruption of yesteryear, when callers would need to remember to dial, say, 5-1-6 with each call.

At Alex Pizza in Hicksville, which has a 516 number, customers who want to call the pizzeria tend to find the telephone number via the internet, said manager Brian Bonilla.

"Most people just Google it, and they find out the number," said Bonilla, 18, whose home and cell numbers are both 516.

As if proving Bonilla’s point, consider how a reporter reached Bonilla for this article: Googling on an iPhone, which called automatically with one tap. No actual numbers were dialed.

With James T. Madore

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