Zip Coding Through Life

When I was a kid, we lived at:

65-43 Parsons Blvd.

Flushing, 65, NY

The number 65 represented our zone – whatever that was. Sometime in the sixties, we changed and became:

65-43 Parsons Blvd.

Flushing, NY 11365

Down on the first floor, where the mailboxes were located, was a sticker with Mr. Zip. On TV there public service announcements set to the tune of Zip-A-Dee Doo Da:

Welcome to ZIP code, learn it today.

Send your mail out the five-digit way.

For a time-saver to lighten the load,

your return address should have the ZIP code.”

If we still lived there, the address would now be:

65-43 Parsons Blvd.

Flushing, NY 11365-2424

The Treitler’s in 5D would have shared that zip+4 address. The Westler’s, next door in Apt. 5F, were in 11365-2425.

But I digress.

This whole entry was spawned by a visit to The US ZipScribble Map. Imagine, if you will, a map drawn by connecting consecutive zip codes.

So, a line connects 11365 to 11366 to 11367 and so on.

The results are actually quite interesting. As you might imagine, there’s more density of scribbling in the East. Also, because of the method behind zip codes, state lines are easily discernible, even without them being drawn in!

I’ll admit, this is worthless stuff. It’s still very cool. And in true infomercial style, there’s more!

This site, Zipdecode (hey, it’s hosted at MIT, the author is nerdy by definition) allows you to visualize which zip codes represent which numbers. Enter a “9” and much of the West Coast lights up. Add a “2” and only the San Diego area remains lit.

Why is Holtsville, NY, a community on the east end of Long Island and home to the a large IRS facility, 00501, when everything else in Suffolk County begins “117”? Actually, everything else except Fishers island, which gets its mail from Connecticut and its zip code too – 06390.

Wikipedia says, “The White House has its own secret ZIP+4 code, separate from the publicly known 20500, for the President of the United States and his family to receive private mail” Really? How can that be?

Anyway, the two sites are worth checking out.

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