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The Cup Story:

Every city needs a symbol. In its coffee cup, New York has something that’s both genuinely unique and almost timeless. This humble coffee cup is one of the things that makes New York, New York.

When Greek immigrants arrived in New York in the early part of the last century, they brought their coffee culture along with them, giving birth to the city’s ubiquitous Greek diners and sidewalk pushcarts. In 1963, the Sherri Cup Company set out to produce a to-go coffee cup that would appeal to the Greek vendors. Marketing director Leslie Buck dreamed up a motif that included blue-and-white colors from the flag of Greece. His message, WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU, was printed in Greek-style letters, adorned with a trio of steaming, mustard-yellow cups, flanked by ancient “Anthora” urns, and framed with a Greek Key pattern. No one, before or since, has been able to capture, by accident or design, the city’s self-identity.

Currently, hundred of thousands of them are carried out of New York delis full of hot coffee! Due to the vast number of them, the length of time they have been around and New Yorkers' appreciation for their design, the cup has come to be a quintessential New York icon. It is very likely the world's most famous coffee cup!

For more info, here are some links:

Lucky Beggar Change Purse

Article and Cup Pictures by Andy Levine

We Are Happy to Serve You, Cool Hunting, Josh Rubin

Greek Anthora Coffee Cup, by Barry Popik

Urban History to Go: Black, No Sugar. New York Times, by John Freeman Hill

Cleanliness is Next to Greek-Design Godliness, by Jennifer 8. Lee

Anthora, New York Daily Photo, by Brian, July 2008

Ode to a Grecian Coffee cup, by Jen Chung

Abstract City, I Lego NY, The New York Times, by Cristoph Nieman, February 2009

The Cup That Launched a Thousand Sips, New York First.

A Historical brief of the Anthora, Jpedia, March 2009.

Coffee To Go, Dis Magazine, Anna Lundh, March 2010.

A History of New York in 50 Objects, NY Times, September 2012.