‘The Tortured Poets Department’: Inside the Homes of All the People Taylor Swift Mentions on the Album

“You’re not Dylan Thomas,” Swift sings on the title track. “I’m not Patti Smith. This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel. We’re modern idiots.” Thomas, a poet and playwright, was one of many artists and musicians drawn to Manhattan’s Hotel Chelsea, which had a stunning redbrick façade but was crumbling and decaying inside during its heyday in the 1960s and ’70s. It was there that he died in 1953 after a stroke, at just 39 years of age. Before that, he raised his children in a cliff-set home known as The Boathouse, where at least some of his famous play Under Milk Wood was written. AD took a look at the poet’s last family home (now a museum) in a 1993 print feature.

Patti Smith: “Aggressively Seedy” town houses and a French poet’s home

Patti Smith is a four-time Grammy nominee.

Photo: Venla Shalin/Redferns/Getty Images

One of the most significant punk rock musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries, Smith is one of the Hotel Chelsea’s most famous residents. She praised its “shabby elegance, and the history it held so possessively.” Smith lived in room 1017, the smallest in the hotel, with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, paying just $55 per night at the time. They were in a romantic relationship, despite the fact that Mapplethorpe was gay, and Smith immortalized their bond—including their time at the Hotel Chelsea—in her memoir Just Kids. She spoke up in defense of Swift in 2019, saying, “I’m sure that she’s trying to do something good.” It must have stuck with Swift, because Smith also gets another shout out in the track “loml” with the lyric “We were just kids, babe.” She and Mapplethorpe also lived in an “aggressively seedy” New York town house before his death. Now an established (if never Establishment) musician and artist, Smith purchased the home of French poet Arthur Rimbaud in 2017.

Charlie Puth: Midcentury-modern Beverly Hills mansion

Image may contain Charlie Puth Electrical Device Microphone Crowd Person People Performer Solo Performance and Adult

Singer and songwriter Charlie Puth has been nominated for four Grammys.

Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images

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