Newton ZIP Codes Have Changed

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(As of July 1, 1998)

The Facts: 021 --> 024

First, the facts: as of July 1, 1998, all ZIP codes for addresses in the Newton area have changed.

According to published reports, the United States Postal Service says that the change is only in the first three digits: from 021 to 024. Thus, the ZIP code for my house in Newton Center will go from 02159 to 02459.

There will be a "six month grace period".

I have now changed all zip codes on this Web Site

Warning: Rant Ahead

As if it weren't enough that the greater Boston area just underwent a major Area Code Change (no, Newton wasn't affected, but several of our neighboring communities where we do business, have friends, etc., were), the U.S. Postal Service is inflicting upon us the first major relignment of ZIP codes since their inception in the early 60's.

Why? You might ask. (I certainly did!) Because, due to increased volume, the USPS built a new processing station in Waltham, and they want the mail that goes to Brookline, Newton, Waltham, etc., to go straight there without passing through the Boston processing station. Currently, their processing computers key on the first three numbers of the ZIP code, and 021 means "send to Boston for processing". So they are creating ZIP codes that begin 024 so that their processing equipment will interpret that as "send to Waltham for processing. "

<Sarcasm Alert>(I guess they don't know that a computer could possibly be re-programed to know that 02111 goes to Boston, while 02159, for example, goes to Waltham) <End Sarcasm>

So rather than upgrading their computer processing capabilities to sort on 5 numbers instead of three, they are creating a major inconvenience for the rest of us! (Not to mention costs; letterheads, business cards, etc.)

Despite disclaimers that most of the folks that send us mail, such as our banks, magazine subscriptions, etc., will get a computerized update, I bet dollars-to-bagels that we can anticipate major headaches. And that "six month grace" period worries me: does this mean that a letter sent on the 30th of June with the new ZIP code will be delayed or not be delayed? Why is it that the folks who cause us the most trouble (i.e., the junk mailers of the world) will get some kind of computerized update, while the rest of us will have to do it by hand? (The ZIP Code FAQ informs us that they are not prepared to do "batch" ZIP Code fetching -- indeed, they don't commit to having the correct ZIP Codes available via the Web for 30 -60 days after the change is made!)

And why, oh why, didn't they coordinate with the extremely well-publicized Area Code Re-assignment?

I know I'll get that anticipated headache. I've got more than 60 ZIP codes on this site that I'm going to have to change:-(. I'll be changing them around mid-June. (They have been changed.)

If you wish to let the US Postal Service what you think of this...

...the E-mail address is

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