An everyday icon for the daily grind

Every now and then someone dies. Someone who, before that point of passing, was unknown to you. Although they were – in a manifest way. And so it was with Leslie Buck, the creator of the iconic NYC disposable coffee cup, who died this week.

The design elements of that simple paper cup are legendary – the last thing you expect on a coffee cup in NYC are Greek columns and a font style which suggests Grecian ! And the message, ‘We are happy to serve you’. Emblematic of a city with, despite its tough exterior, has an embedded culture to serve and make a buck. For almost a decade I would spend a buck, 5 days a week, for a donut and a coffee wrapped in a brown bag on the way to work.

But back to Leslie. He was born Laszlo Buch in Eastern Europe and survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald. emigrated to the USA, changed his name and at the same time changed the early mornings of millions of people.

What a great legacy. Leslie Buck we hardly knew you.

PS The MOMA Store do an excellent ceramic version for those of us unlucky enough not to be able to pick up a fresh paper cup every morning.


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