First the inventor of the trampoline dies, and now this.
The creator of a true American icon has gone to the great lunch counter in the sky:
It was for decades the most enduring piece of ephemera in New York City and is still among the most recognizable. Trim, blue and white, it fits neatly in the hand, sized so its contents can be downed in a New York minute. It is as vivid an emblem of the city as the Statue of Liberty, beloved of property masters who need to evoke Gotham at a glance in films and on television.
It is, of course, the Anthora, the cardboard cup of Grecian design that has held New Yorkers’ coffee securely for nearly half a century. Introduced in the 1960s, the Anthora was long made by the hundreds of millions annually, nearly every cup destined for the New York area.
A pop-cultural totem, the Anthora has been enshrined in museums; its likeness has adorned tourist memorabilia like T-shirts and ceramic mugs. Like many once-celebrated artifacts, though, the cup may now be endangered, the victim of urban gentrification.
The Anthora seems to have been here forever, as if bestowed by the gods at the city’s creation. But in fact, it was created by man — one man in particular, a refugee from Nazi Europe named Leslie Buck.
Mr. Buck, a retired paper-cup company executive, died on Monday, at 87, at his home on Long Island, in Glen Cove. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, his son Robert said. Mr. Buck, previously a longtime resident of Syosset, N.Y., also had a home in Delray Beach, Fla.
The Anthora has spawned a flock of imitations by competitors over the years, but it was first designed by Mr. Buck for the Sherri Cup Company in Kensington, Conn.
Mr. Buck’s cup was blue, with a white meander ringing the top and bottom; down each side was a drawing of the Greek vase known as an amphora. (“Anthora” comes from “amphora,” as filtered through Mr. Buck’s Eastern European accent, his son said.) Some later imitators depict fluted white columns; others show a discus thrower.
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