If you’ve watched any TV shows set in New York City in the past 50 years, you’ve probably seen characters drinking coffee from an Anthora coffee cup.
The blue, white, and gold “Anthora” paper cup with the Greek-themed design became the favorite coffee-to-go cup among New York City coffee drinkers after its 1963 introduction by the Sherri Cup Company. Customers of coffee shops, diners, bodegas, and street vendors became accustomed to drinking their java from the ubiquitous cups with the friendly “We Are Happy to Serve You” message.
So it’s no wonder that television show characters are often shown drinking coffee from an Anthora cup in New York City, whether they’re on the street or at work. When the Anthora cup appears on the screen, it sends an immediate, if subconscious, signal that the characters are in the Big Apple.
Here’s a sampling of TV shows whose characters enjoy drinking their coffee from the iconic Anthora cup. I intend to add more as I discover them. If you have another show or episode to suggest, please post a comment to let me know.
Suits is a legal drama that premiered on USA Network in 2011 and ran for nine seasons. The show is set at a fictional Manhattan law firm that hires its new lawyers only from Harvard Law School. It stars Gabriel Macht as litigator Harvey Specter and Patrick J. Adams as super-smart Mike Ross, whom Harvey hires as an associate despite the fact that Mike never graduated from college, let alone attended Harvard Law.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
The police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premiered on the NBC network in September 1999. The show focuses on the detectives in the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Unit who investigate sexually-oriented crimes. Many exterior scenes are filmed on location in New York City.
Mariska Hargitay has starred in SVU from the beginning as Detective Olivia Benson. During the show’s long run—it now ranks third all-time among live-action TV dramas—the cast has been bolstered by many excellent actors in regular or recurring roles or guest appearances.
Mad Men is a period drama centered on a fictional advertising agency in midtown Manhattan in the period from March 1960 to November 1970. The series explores the professional and personal lives of advertising executive Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, and his colleagues and family members. It also depicts the momentous changes that were occurring in American society at the time. Mad Men ran on the AMC cable network for seven seasons from 2007 to 2015 and is widely considered to be one of the best TV series of all time.
Billions is a drama series that debuted on the Showtime network in 2016 and is currently in its fifth season. The show explores the world of high finance personified by billionaire hedge-fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). Knowing that Axelrod’s financial moves often skirt the law, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) of the Southern District of New York is determined to bring him down.
The Sopranos is a crime drama series that ran for six seasons on the HBO network beginning in 1999. It is widely regarded as one of the best and most influential television shows of all time. Although the show is set primarily in northern New Jersey, crime boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his crew have strong connections to the New York mob. New York City is only minutes away, and in the show’s opening credits, Tony is driving out of the Lincoln Tunnel from the city back to New Jersey.
NYPD Blue is a police procedural drama series that aired on the ABC television network for 12 seasons from 1993 to 2005. The show is set in the detective bureau of a fictional New York City police precinct. Dennis Franz starred as Detective (later Sergeant) Andy Sipowicz during the entire run of the show, leading a strong ensemble cast that at various times included David Caruso, James McDaniel, Nicholas Turturro, Gordon Clapp, Jimmy Smits, Jacqueline Obradors, and numerous others.
White Collar is a police procedural drama that premiered on USA Network in 2009 and ran for six seasons. It features Tim DeKay as FBI Special Agent Peter Burke and Matt Bomer as con artist and thief Neal Caffrey. When Burke captures Caffrey after a prison escape, he offers him a deal to stay out of prison by helping Burke apprehend other white-collar criminals.
More Anthora Cups on Other TV Shows?
As I’ve shown here, the Anthora coffee cup is a popular TV show prop in New York City scenes. But this article features only a fraction of its appearances. If you find additional scenes where the characters are using the Anthora cup, please post a comment to let me know.
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