Like any great love, it keeps you guessing
Like any real love, it's ever-changing
Like any true love, it drives you crazy
But you know you wouldn't change anything, anything, anything
“Welcome to New York”
Taylor Swift 2014
Famous for her very public breakups that have inspired more than a bevy of hit singles, next year Taylor Swift will be celebrating what could be her longest love affair to date–her relationship with her adopted city, New York. And it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a decade since the chart-topping star released “Welcome to New York,” the first track from her fifth studio album “1989.”
“The inspiration that I found in this city is kind of hard to describe and hard to compare to any other force of inspiration I’ve ever experienced in my life,” she said of the single in a 2014 interview with Good Morning America. “I approached moving there with such wide-eyed optimism and sort of saw it as a place of endless potential and possibilities,” Swift told GMA of her move to Gotham “You can kind of hear that reflected in this music and this song especially.”
Now, nearly ten years after first dropping “Welcome to New York,” Swift’s anthem and love letter to Gotham will be getting a new life with the re-recorded release of her fifth studio album “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on October 27, 2023. And in the decade since she moved to New York, her song lyrics and videos have inspired hoards of her loyal Swifties to check out the locations that were part of their favorite Swift tunes.
Before famously dropping a reported $47 million buying up properties on a TriBeCa block in 2018, Swift lived in a West Village rental that inspired the single “Cornelia Street.” Contrary to any images of Swift living in an artist’s garret apartment, life in her Cornelia Street digs was anything but roughing it. She paid $39,500 a month for the 5,500-square-foot townhouse, which has a 30-foot-long indoor pool and private garage. Last May, Architectural Digest reported that her former abode hit the market for a cool $18 million–or $45,000 a month for the commitment-phobic.
The High Line - from “cardigan”
Images and sounds of the High Line–the 1.5-mile-long elevated park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan provided poetic inspiration for Swift’s single of lost romance. Walking around the High Line, you can buy a “vintage tee” at one of many boutiques, a “brand new phone” at the Apple Store, and hear the sound of “high heels on cobblestones” on the century-old streets under the rail line.
The Bus Stop Cafe - from “the 1”
With a net worth of $740 million, according to Forbes, it’s tough to imagine Taylor Swift taking a bus, much less waiting for one. So when she sings “I saw you at the bus stop” in the song “the 1” from 2020’s Folklore, sleuths have determined with almost certainty that it refers to The Bus Stop Cafe. A quick walk from her former place on Cornelia Street, this out-of-the-way eatery on Bethune Street has become a hit with Swifties who are eager to post their pilgrimages on social media.
Called a “lonely waltz down a Brooklyn boardwalk" by Spin critic Bobby Oliver, “coney island,” from 2020’s indie rock “evermore” is a reflective look at a lost relationship. The song plays in stark contrast to the beach amusement park’s happy brand and “the fast time, the bright lights, the merry-go” that usually embody it. Swift’s Coney Island “gets colder and colder when the sun goes down.”
Lovers of Today - from “Delicate”
Although it hasn’t been confirmed by Swift herself, Swifties were quick to deduce that the “dive bar on the east side” in her song “Delicate” from 2017’s “reputation” referred to East Village speakeasy Lovers of Today, where she is rumored to have been on a few dates. A fan was quick to note on social media “I feel like we need to talk to Taylor about what a dive bar is… $16 cocktails?” But any way you want to label it, this out-of-the-way watering hole that we mentioned in our profile 6 East Village Speakeasies & How to Find Them is well worth the visit.
The Housing Works Bookstore - from “All Too Well: The Short Film”
In 2021 Swift revisited her 2012 country single “All Too Well” as a 14-minute short film. Making her debut as a filmmaker, Swift put dialogue around a 10-minute version of the song and set many of the scenes in Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s home in the upstate New York community of Pound Ridge. The final scene takes place inside the Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby Street in SoHo.
Oheka Castle - from “Blank Space” video
Taylor Swift didn’t have to travel to France for the chateau with its opulent gardens that provided the backdrop for the video to her 2014 hit “Blank Space.” Located an hour’s train ride from the city in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island is Oheka Castle, the second largest private home ever built in the United States. A popular event space, the 127-room Gilded Age estate built in 1919, is rumored to have been the inspiration for the mansion in “The Great Gatsby.” “The video has spawned many a Taylor Swift-themed Sweet Sixteen Party,” said Oheka general manager Tucker Burns. “Guests love taking photos on the grand staircase and in the formal gardens. We just prefer that they don’t follow Taylor Swift’s lead and bring white horses into our ballroom.”