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Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Mysterious Case of the Ghost Zip Code

In doing our walk from the lowest zip code in New York (10001 in Midtown) to the highest (11697 in the Rockaways), we came up against a problem – one member of the group had heard of an even lower Zip Code: 00083, which is Central Park. I had never heard of Central Park having its own Zip Code, and decided to look into if this a little deeper. Evidence is mostly negative. To note:

1) Looking up all Zip Codes for "New York, NY" on the United States Postal Service Zip Code Lookup doesn't return 00083.

2) Downloading the GIS shapefile for NY State Zip Codes clearly shows no separate Zip Code for Central Park, instead dividing it up amongst several different Upper East and Upper West Side Zip codes.

3) The NYC Parks Department Headquarters, which is actually within Park boundaries, does not use the 00083 zip code, instead having Zip Code 10065. Likewise, the NYPD Central Park Precinct uses 10024. Others places, like the Central Park Boathouse and Central Park Zoo don’t list zip codes at all.

4) Entering “00083” on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, Mapquest, or yields nothing.

5) Googling “New York, NY 00083” yields 290 results, most of which are property listings through Real Estate Websites on Central Park West or South, which are obviously not correct. To contrast, Googling "New York, NY, 10001" yields about 28 million results.

The only mitigating evidence I can find in favor is that if you enter "00083" on OasisNYC it directs to Central Park (I don't know what base files Oasis is using for Zip Code data). To a lesser extent, there are also a few websites (,, that list places in Central Park as having a "00083" zip code.

On the surface, it looks like there's nothing official about 00083 at all, but that it somehow has gained a toehold in the general public consciousness. If anyone wants to look into how Central Park got an Urban Legend Zip Code, it’d be an interesting story.


  1. Looks like someone at ESRI entered 134 ZIP Codes from 00001 to 00199 for National Parks, Forests, and other land features for their 2010 datasets to use with their ArcGIS software. Not sure if they made them up or pulled them from some sort of Census Bureau internal use numbers. So anyone using their dataset overlay will get those ZIPs plotted.