by diane clehane photography by eric ryan anderson| September 30, 2014 |
For actor Dash Mihok, downtown Manhattan will always be home.
Actor Dash Mihok on the High Line in the West Village. “I’m a big view person,” he says.
Dash Mihok proves that old chestnut true: You can take the man out of New York City, but you can’t take New York City out of the man. The Greenwich Village native’s red-hot acting career—thanks to his standout performance as the troubled, alcoholic Bunchy on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and a slew of big-screen roles (in Silver Linings Playbook and next year’s Somnia)—has him spending time in Los Angeles, but his heart remains firmly in downtown Manhattan.
The son of two actors, Mihok learned to navigate the city early while taking the D train to the Bronx High School of Science (“I was 14 years old riding the subway, and the trains were pretty rough”) and attending the Professional Children’s School. Mihok took us on a tour of his downtown neighborhood, reminiscing about his days as a city kid and giving shout-outs to his favorite hangouts.
Street signs in Mihok's old neighborhood.
“I grew up in the West Village when it was a really interesting place to be. As kids, we were always going up on the roofs of buildings where you could see for miles and miles. From my bedroom window, I could see the Hudson River. To this day, I’m a big view person."
“Now that I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, I kind of get a jones for the city every three months or so. Going home is always great because my parents are still in the city. They’re in a rent-controlled building. They love it and they’re never going to move. When I walk in, there’s still that familiar smell that always takes me back to when I was a kid. I’m still looking out the same windows. And there’s the kitchen—it’s the only kitchen I’ve ever known."
“I love downtown, and whenever I can I walk around and check out the great places in the neighborhood. You just can’t do a lot of that in Los Angeles. Downtown spots draw me in because your neighborhood is your neighborhood, no matter how long you have lived elsewhere. I will always be a New Yorker no matter what. Everything about the city is changing, but it’s still my city."
The High Line, which Mihok describes as “magical.”
“I’ve walked the High Line many times and it’s magical. Every time I go, there’s something different to see, a new piece of art, a new street performer. Being there reminds me how much has changed in the old neighborhood. The Village was a very different place when I was growing up—it had more of a beatnik, artsy vibe. The place was a bit seedy, but it was great. There was literally the smell of blood in the air because there really was a Meatpacking District."
“My family isn’t big on special occasions—to us that would be when as many family members as possible are in the same room. But when my sister comes into town from Long Island, we love to go to the restaurant Gradisca, which is within walking distance from my parents’ apartment. It’s a great place because most of the people working at the restaurant are from Italy. Mama is sitting in the front of the restaurant making pasta."
Mihok at Automatic Slims, which he likes for its old-neighborhood bar vibe.
“Not far away, there’s Automatic Slims. It’s been there for a hot minute but has the feel of an old neighborhood bar. Now I drink whiskey when I’m there. I think the whole Ray Donovan thing has rubbed off on me. I like the Boom Boom room much more now than I did when it opened, because the bar side has mellowed out and it’s not too crowded. The mood is tranquil even when the DJ is spinning. I could stare out the windows and ponder the city for hours. Another place to enjoy a break from the bustle of the city is Jefferson market library, although I know people don’t often go to the library anymore."
“I still haven’t made the time to go kayaking on the Hudson. I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t want to wait in line or because I grew up seeing a lot of interesting stuff floating around in those waters.”