Athena Calderone

Interior Designer | Founder, Eye-Swoon

| Dumbo

Talented dressmakers build sought-after clothing labels, passionate writers turn into journalists and editors, but what do you do if your interests lie in finding the beauty in fields as vast as food and entertaining and fashion and interior design? Well, if you’re Athena Calderone, you create a visionary digital platform dedicated to exactly that. With features that run the gamut from shoppable fashion stories to seasonal recipes by celebrity chefs, Eye-Swoon.com curates a life of beauty fueled by Calderone’s uniquely edited eye (we should mention that she also happens to be one of the most talented interior designers we know). From dinner parties at her Brooklyn home to her fiery red lips, Calderone’s taste is always on-point. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Vinegar Hill House (MAP IT, BOOK ITx). Their roast cast iron chicken is to die for!

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee at Jack’s (MAP IT, x) because it is BOLD.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Franny’s in Prospect Heights (*Location now closed). They have literally changed the way to cook and eat; the menu is ever-changing based on what is seasonal, local and fresh.

BEST BRUNCH: Roberta’s (MAP IT, x) has the best egg pizza in Brooklyn. I order the poached egg dish with crumbled chorizo, roasted potatoes and avocado.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The High Line (MAP IT).

MUSIC PICK: Always an eclectic mix. I love the selection of music that my dear friend, Chelsea Leyland curates.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: An Aperol spritz or a spicy, citrus tequila cocktail. Hotel Delmano (MAP IT, x) is the ultimate for bespoke cocktail creation.

HEALTHY STAPLE: ABC Kitchen (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). I order their kale salad and the fluke crudo.

GUILTY PLEASURE: A big bowl of pasta from Il Buco (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– Cacio e Pepe.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Last week, my date night was at Dirty French (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). This week, I’m going to Narcissa (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). We love date lunches at ABC Kitchen too. Our 15 year wedding anniversary was at Estela (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), but my go-to favorite is often Indochine (MAP IT, BOOK IT, )– my best friend owns it so I can always get a table and the food is ridiculously consistent and SWOONY!

DELIVERY GO-TO: Ki Sushi (MAP IT, x) because the fish is crazy fresh and yum.

NY’S BEST KEPT SECRET: Pizza by Chicco at Westwind Orchard in Upstate New York (MAP IT). Chicco also has a spot in Bushwick called Union Pizza (MAP IT, x) which is amazing!

REGULAR AT: One Girl Cookies in Dumbo (MAP IT, x) for the homemade yogurt, stewed fruit and granola. I’ll brunch at Mogador (MAP IT, x) in Williamsburg too– I love Middle Eastern flavors with my eggs.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: Fresh salads, green smoothies, local produce, Sunday brunch and PIZZA.

CLOSET CHECK: I love a balanced mix of tailored and sophisticated pieces with a bit of edge.   My personal style portrays extremes (and probably represents the contradictory sides of myself). I like sophisticated, tailored, edgy and sexy all at once! I love to shop at ZOE (*Location now closed) for my daily wardrobe and Melet Mercantile (*Currently relocating to LA) has incredible, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. I treasure each piece I purchase there from Bob.  Specifically, I have this stunning, pattered 1920’s dress that is cut on the bias. I continually wear it for events and weddings.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I love Factory20 and modern50 for unique antique oddities. I also love Canvas (MAP IT, x), Ochre (MAP IT, x) and Matter (MAP IT, x) in the city. For finding vintage furnishings that just need a little love and updating, Ebay is great.  The Edward Wormley Dunbar sofa in my Dumbo apartment was scored on Ebay. I think design should never strike just one note. I love combining polarizing qualities– using elements that seem like they shouldn’t work, but do because it creates a tension that brings intrigue and curiosity to a space. A clean environment with eclectic oddities, luxurious textures next to raw ones and old pieces with new ones… that’s what gives a room character and depth.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I love, love Brook General Store in Williamsburg (MAP IT), Joinery in Greenpoint (MAP IT, x) and Love Adorned (MAP IT, x).

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Manicures and pedicures from Jin Soon (MAP IT, x) only! They are THE best! I get my lashes done at Ebenezer (MAP IT, x) once a month too. I swear by it.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Last winter my husband, my son Jivan and myself decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge during our heaviest snow storm– we were the only people up there and it was pure magic. We ended up calling a few dear friends in Dumbo (Rebecca Minkoff and her family, 3-year-old son included) and, surprisingly, they all agreed to join us. We had this incredible NYC blizzard moment making snow angles and running, sliding and whipping out across the bridge with the snow falling and the skyline twinkling. It was something quite swoony to remember and very “NYC.” CP

Athena’s New York

From L to R: Jewels at Love Adorned; Kitchenware from Brook General Store; Roberta’s pizza; Sweet by One Girl Cookies. Second Row: Jin Soon nails; Estela; Décor from Canvas Home; Vinegar Hill House.

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