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The Union Square Duplex Where Taylor Swift Took the 1989 Polaroids Is for Sale

The $3.7 million duplex was owned by the film director who helped Swift shoot the 1989 Polaroids. Photo: Carli Choi

When fans imagine Taylor Swift living the lyrics of 1989’s “Welcome to New York” and throwing her bags on an apartment floor, as the song goes, they probably don’t envision that apartment is a $3.7 million three-bedroom just off Union Square. But that’s where Swift shot some of the nostalgic Polaroids that went into the packaging for 1989, and it’s now on the market. 

The seller is Sarah Johnson, the daughter of billionaire financier and San Francisco Giants owner Charles Johnson. She created the two-story unit at 874 Broadway by buying and combining the apartments on the third and fourth floors. But she didn’t host Swift’s photo shoot; that happened when the apartment on the lower floor was owned by Tannaz Hazemi, a film director who helped on the 1989 photoshoot, one of many glamorous shoots in the space, according to broker Shane Boyle.

This door appeared in the 1989 shoot. The Polaroid showing the door. Photo: Shane Boyle.
This door appeared in the 1989 shoot. The Polaroid showing the door. Photo: Shane Boyle.

When Boyle glanced over the 65 Polaroids that Swift put into the 1989 album inserts, he recognized the apartment in many of them. The easiest one to line up is the shot of Swift slumped in front of the door, which is markered with the lyric, “IF YOU LEAVE ME I’M COMING WITH YOU.”

That writing is still there, nine years later, because Johnson preserved pretty much everything that made the apartment feel like an authentic artist loft. (And it wasn’t because she was a Swiftie; Boyle said, “She’s not in that generation. But it was kind of an added plus.”) When she renovated a bathroom, rather than throwing up drywall, she encased the mechanics of an old elevator shaft with glass. Other details include a copper tub, a rolling library ladder to a lofted storage space, kitchen cabinets made of reclaimed wood, and a steel spiral staircase that’s been threaded with tree branches, which Johnson had lined with plants. Still, the apartment’s best feature may be its bones: It’s a corner unit with two full walls of windows facing south and west.

“It’s for anyone looking for that Soho loft, back to the ’70s, edgy vibe,” Boyle said. Which is also the vibe that Swift seemed to be going for.

Swift also posed against these windows. There are 18 windows on both floors of the apartment, looking over Broadway & 18th Street. Photo: Carli Choi
The copper tub and the exposed wall give the apartment a raw, artsy vibe — sort of the vibe Taylor Swift was going for when she shot Polaroids for her 1989 album here. Photo: Carli Choi
The head of the steel spiral staircase, with entwined branches. Photo: Carli Choi
The kitchen cabinets are made of reclaimed chestnut. Photo: Carli Choi

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The Duplex Where Taylor Swift Took the 1989 Polaroids