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How I Live: Zosia Mamet and Evan Jongikeit On Why the Upper West Side Feels Like Home

By Jennifer Flowers

08.10.16

From the September/October 2016 issue

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Gabriela Herman

The actors have made their home away from the spotlight in one of New York's most peaceful enclaves

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For Evan Jongkeit and Zosia Mamet, life is anything but quiet. Mamet has been immersed in intense shooting for the final season of HBO’s Girls in New York City, while Jonigkeit has been jetting between Canada and the UK to film the Netflix action-adventure series Frontier. But that’s exactly why the couple,who met onstage in Manhattan three years ago, found a perfect home base on the sleepy Upper West Side, where they spend their precious moments of downtime together.

“A lot of pockets in New York have become showy and hip to live in,” says Mamet, who was raised in Los Angeles and moved to the neighborhood from Brooklyn with Jonigkeit last year. “What drew us to the Upper West Side is that it’s not in the spotlight. It feels like a normal neighborhood. Everybody is just going about their business.”

Sandwiched between the western edge of Central Park and the Hudson River, the Upper West Side has long attracted famous residents from show business, including Miles Davis, Lauren Bacall, John Lennon, and Mick Jagger. But apart from visitor foot traffic to such landmarks as Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History, the neighborhood has remained a less-visited niche that truly belongs to its residents.

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“It reminds me of growing up in the suburbs and having those faces you can count on seeing every day,” says Jonigkeit, who was raised in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and rural Illinois. “That’s hard to find in New York. We love seeing the same people when we’re walking our dog. Some of them have become our good friends.”

On the rare mornings that Mamet and Jonigkeit are together, they like to keep things low-key, with long walks and stops at their favorite haunts. Their day might start with a stroll to the 72nd Street dog run or to Riverside Park with Moose, their lab-hound mix. Often they’ll pick up ground-to-order coffee and lox at Zabar’s, famed for its Jewish delicacies, or grab a midday meal at Barney Greengrass, a legendary restaurant and deli that opened in 1908. On nights when they’re entertaining friends, they might show up at the Mermaid Inn or Celeste—intimate spots they love for their casual, unassuming feel.

“Our conception of what we thought life would be like in Brooklyn—quiet, neighborhoody, family-oriented, residential—it’s exactly what we got when we moved here,” says Mamet. “The Upper West Side feels like you’re living in a Woody Allen movie. It just feels so New York.”

Take a tour of their 8 go-to spots on the Upper West Side


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