PEnnsylvania 6-5000 is a telephone number based on the U.S. numbering plan that used telephone exchange names as part of the number, and was phased out starting in the 1950s. The number is claimed by its owner, the Hotel Pennsylvania, to be the oldest continuing telephone number in New York City. The first two letters, PE, in PE6-5000 stand for the numbers 7 and 3, making the number +1 212 736-5000, using its Manhattan area code. The exact age of the telephone number, and the veracity of the hotel's claim, are unknown. The earliest it could have existed is around 1930, when seven-digit telephone numbers were first adopted in New York City.
When seven-digit telephone numbers were assigned in New York, along with Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, the 3L-4N (3 letter-4 number) system was initially used. Thus originally, the Hotel Pennsylvania would have written its telephone number as "PENnsylvania 5000". A few years later, this was replaced by the 2L–5N system, using two letters and five digits. The number connected to the exchange Pennsylvania, which served the area around Penn Station, would be shown as PEnnsylvania 6-5000.
In 1969, the PE6 telephone exchange was the first in Manhattan to be transferred from its panel switch to a 1ESS switch, temporarily making it a significant part of New York Telephone's service crisis.
1940 Glenn Miller recording
Many big band names played in the Hotel Pennsylvania's Cafe Rouge, including the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The phone number became the inspiration for the Glenn Miller 1940 Top 5 Billboard hit of the same name, the music written by Jerry Gray and the lyrics by Carl Sigman, and released as RCA Victor Bluebird 78 B-10754-A backed with "Rug Cutter's Swing". In turn, the tune was tributed by synthpop duo Erasure on their little-known song 'Sixty-Five Thousand' from The Innocents. It also inspired the pun title Transylvania 6-5000, used separately by a Bugs Bunny cartoon and a full-length live-action film. The number was requested in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, referenced in a mix of the Milli Vanilli song "Baby Don't Forget My Number," and used by David Lynch in the third episode of his television series, Twin Peaks.
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