The ninth song on the album, the ballad tells the story of starting a new, magical relationship and being scared for its potential demise because it would be difficult for her to ever revisit the place where they fell in love.
It begins with the line, “We were in the backseat/Drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar/’I rent a place on Cornelia Street’/I say casually in the car.”
In the chorus, Swift, who produced the track with her frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, continues, “I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends/I’d never walk Cornelia Street again/That’s the kind of heartbreak time could never mend/I’d never walk Cornelia Street again.”
Swift, 29, did in fact rent a townhouse on Cornelia Street in New York City’s West Village neighborhood for a short time between 2016 and 2017, calling it home while her Tribeca apartment — which she still owns — was undergoing major renovations.
The 5,500-square-foot, four-bed, five-and-a-half-bath apartment was located at 23 Cornelia Street, and was rented to the songstress by David Aldea, a former Soho House executive, for a reported $39,500 a month.
Aldea, who owned the home for 15 years before selling it for $11.5 million earlier this year, admitted to Vulture that he “really didn’t know” who Swift was when he rented the townhouse to her back in the day.
“I’m just not a pop-culture guy, and I even said to someone, ‘I’m meeting a person named Taylor Swift who wants to rent my home,’” Aldea told the publication. “Now, mind you, I knew her songs because I had them on my running playlist. I just didn’t match the name to the song. I know, it’s silly.”
He does have strong memories of Swift now, however, remembering that she exclaimed, “Oooh, it’s so crafty,” when she walked into his home, asking if she could rent it fully-furnished.
“So towels and dishes and glassware and furniture and just kind of ‘Take your clothes and go,’” he said. “So I did. She was an absolute delight to deal with.” He moved out and she moved in approximately two weeks later.
The converted 1912 carriage house also offered security for the singer, Aldea says. Most of the windows face into the backyard, and there’s a massive garage that allowed her to come and go in a vehicle without being seen.
Swift returned to her Tribeca property in early 2017 when the renovations were complete, but the space evidently still means a lot to her as the birthplace of a relationship. It’s likely about her current boyfriend Joe Alwyn, 28. The pair have been dating for almost three years.
Last week, Swift revealed her own interpretation of the song during an appearance on the Elvis Duran radio show, saying, “It’s about the things that took place and the memories that took place on that street… all the nostalgia. Sometimes we bond our memories to the places that they happen. I wrote it alone and it ended up being one of my favorite songs.”
Swift made public a series of personal diary entries as part of Lover’s release, sharing one from January 2017 which refers specifically to the start of her relationship with Alwyn.
It reads: “I’m essentially based in London, hiding out trying to protect us from the nasty world that just wants to ruin things. We have been together and no one has found out for 3 months now. I want it to stay that way because I don’t want anything about this to change or become too complicated or intruded upon.”
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As for Aldea, he no longer owns the place on Cornelia Street that became Swift’s muse, but he is absolutely honored to have a song written about his former property, he tells Vulture.
“I put my heart and soul into building, designing, and decorating this house, and for somebody like Taylor to come along and see what I saw and love what I loved, love what I created, it was a total compliment and I will always be grateful to her for that,” he said. “And when I heard the song came out, I just thought to myself, ‘Wow, that is the most incredible sort of thank you and nod that anyone could ever get.’”
At just one block long, Cornelia Street also makes for a handy pilgrimage site for Swifties who want to soak up some of Taylor’s essence.