Why you should never ask me for stock advice: Twenty years ago, when Starbucks announced they were on their way to New York, I predicted a fail, sure that New Yorkers were waaaay too savvy to pay premium for coffee when they could get fine brew in this cup for a mere fifty cents. In 1994, when the first Starbucks opened on Broadway, 500 million Greek coffee cups sold each year. A decade later, that number was down more than half, to 200 million. (And my tipster friends in Seattle were laughing all the way to the bank.)
The creator of the 57-year old cup was Holocaust survivor Leslie Buck (born Büch), a paper-cup salesman attempting to break into the New York diner market in 1963. Noting that most owners of diners were Greek, he concocted a design based on the image of the Greek vase known as an amphora. The cup soon became ubiquitous on the streets of New York, standard-issue at diners, coffeeshops, lunchtrucks and coffee carts, a requisite item not only for coffee-toters, but for propmasters for TV shows and films set in the city.