News & Politics

Maryland’s New “227” Area Code Should Really Belong to DC

Can we arrange a swap for 771?

Marla Gibbs, center, issurrounded by other 227 cast members. ©Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Marylanders will have a new 227 area code in the near future—and some people in DC aren’t happy about it. 

First, the pertinent details. According to the Maryland Public Service Commission, available telephone numbers with the standard 240 and 301 area codes are in short supply. They’re expected to run out sometime next year, possibly spring, at which time new numbers will be assigned with the 227 code. The change won’t impact existing numbers in the counties where 240 and 301 are used, including phone numbers in Montgomery, Prince George’s, Frederick, and Anne Arundel counties. 

Now, the details obvious to those of us over 35. The number 227 really belongs to DC. Lest the millennials at the North American Numbering Plan Administrator forget—and that’s the agency responsibly for dispensing area codes, and creating this debacle—227 was a popular mid-80s NBC sitcom set in Northeast Washington. The comedy starred Marla Gibbs of The Jeffersons fame as sassy housewife Mary Jenkins, and it followed her family and their neighbors in the 227 apartment building for five seasons. It has been heralded as a show that paved the way for Black comedies and sitcoms for generations to come. 

It’s bittersweet that 227‘s opening theme song—“There’s no place like home”—might now wind up in the heads of Marylanders who are too young to otherwise know about the show (or the ’80s, or life), but are old enough to receive their first phone number. Maybe there’s time to arrange a swap for 771?

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.