The Anthora Coffee Cup: A New York Love Story
A brief history of the Anthora, New York City’s iconic blue-and-white coffee cup, and a writer’s quest to get her hands around one.
The Anthora is an iconic New York City paper coffee cup. Resting in the hands of fictional detectives (NYPD Blue) and on the counters of set restaurants (“Seinfeld”), it is one of New York’s ambassadors. When there’s no yellow cab or Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty, the cup speaks of place. Blue and white with a Greek frieze around the rim, it has a scratchy depiction of an urn and the words “We are happy to serve you” written in ochre along the sides. The little deli cup quietly triggers a recognition of the Big Apple, separating it from the Windy City, the City of Light and other metropolises.
When I moved to New York City two and a half years ago, I wanted to see taxis muscling their way up New York’s clotted thoroughfares, subways packed with commuters avoiding eye contact, coffee carts with bagels and stacks of blue-and-white cups. If, as one friend recently said to me, Manhattan’s architecture defined how it should feel to walk in a city, then …