Have you ever been stumped on a question or in a weird predicament where you couldn’t figure out just who to ask about it? Well, living in New York, of course, you have. Being in this city often brings up issues that no other city would face… like a raccoon eating lasagna on your porch.
20 years ago, New York created one single answer to a million questions: 311.
In March 2003, the City of New York embarked on an ambitious endeavor that forever changed the relationship between New Yorkers and their city. With one bright idea, the city created a team that would consolidate more than 40 existing helplines, representing 14 pages in the phone book… a hotline, more like a lifeline, open 27/4, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to New Yorkers with the most pressing issues from questions about citywide strikes and snow storms to cats terrorizing neighbors and finding the best pizza in the area.
After 20 years of servicing some of the world’s most “colorful” people, it’s not alarming that 311 would have an ongoing list of odd requests and questions across all of its platforms, including Twitter, a mobile app, a text service, and Instagram. Over the last two decades, 311 has been there for New Yorkers through the hard times of 2005’s MTA Strike, the Great Recession, Hurricane Sandy, and of course, numerous snow
storms and blizzards, with the blizzard of 2010 reeling in 3.5 million service requests, 311’s busiest day.
With all of the serious calls out of the way… to commemorate 20 years of service, the 311 teams created a list of their twenty most memorable calls, questions, complaints, and service requests since 2003.
Here are the 311 Calls To Remember:
1. A cat is terrorizing someone through a screen door. (2003)
2. I’d like to file a noise complaint against my refrigerator. (2004)
3. Can you tell me the steps for boiling a live chicken? (2005)
4. Can I claim my dog as a dependent on my taxes? (2006)
5. Who won “American Idol”? (2007)
6. How long does a baseball game typically last? (2008)
7. Can I use Medicaid for my cat’s surgery? (2009)
8. Can you check if my boyfriend is married? (2009)
9. Is there a law limiting how many times you can flush the toilet? (2013)
10. What is the best pizza near me? (Multiple years)
11. When does Santa land in Manhattan? (Multiple years)
12. A raccoon is eating lasagna on my porch. (2014)
13. Do dogs see in black & white or in color? (2015)
14. I’d like to report a ghost in my window. (2015)
15. How do I cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? (2016)
16. I’d like to report my neighbor for waving to everyone on the block. (2018)
17. A goat is tied to the stairwell in my building. (2016)
18. If a couple is divorced, can they still live in the same house but in different rooms? (2019)
19. Can someone spray the trees so the leaves stop falling? (2022)
20. Can you transfer me to a “UFO-ologist”? (2023)
If only they also told us how they responded to these calls…