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In Washington DC's Kalorama - the area's leafy streets are overwhelmingly quiet, rich and white

In Washington DC's Kalorama - the area's leafy streets are overwhelmingly quiet, rich and white

The Washington DC neighbourhood of Kalorama is used to some rather high-profile residents.

Not only is it home to the embassies of nations such as China, Oman and Serbia, but it is also where the ambassadors of France and Mexico have their private residences. During the administration of George W Bush, his defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld lived here.

Now the exclusive area is getting ready for some more famous residents – the Obamas, and Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. The former first couple, and the current first daughter and son-in-law, are going to live just a few hundred yards from each other.

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Ms Trump and Mr Kushner paid a reported $5.5m for this home (Andrew Buncombe )

“I don’t think it’s any surprise that Ivanka is moving in here. It’s full of ambassadors and politicians,” said Bheeshm Chaudhary, who was walking in the Sunday afternoon rain with friends, as drizzle dripped from the trees.

“Mr Obama is the ex-president of the United States. He can live anywhere he wants.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Ms Trump and her husband had bought a large home on the corner of Tracy Place for $5.5m (£4.5m). Last year, it was reported that the Obamas had bought a 8,000-square-foot house for $6.35m (£5.12m) on nearby Belmont Road.

A steady stream of people, many of them who said they were in the city for the Women’s March on Washington, made their way to the end of Belmont Road, hoping for a glimpse of the Obama house. As it was, Secret Service vehicles were blocking off both ends of the street.


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“No, sorry – you can’t go down,” said one young officer. Outside Ms Trump’s new home, a security guard sitting in a parked car was asking people to walk on the other side of the street.

The two high-profile couples have different reasons for needing to be in Washington.

Mr Kushner has been sworn in as advisor to the President and will work out of the White House. It was initially believed that Mr Trump’s daughter would also take a White House job, but she decided not to. But both of them are to move from New York.

Meanwhile, the Obamas have decided to remain in Washington, unlike most ex-presidents, to enable their daughter, Sasha, to finish high school here.

It is unclear whether the couples will bump into each other much. There is no local restaurant, no neighbourhood coffee store, within the immediate vicinity. The leafy streets are popular with joggers, so it is conceivable they could run past each other.

Other than that, the neighbourhood is overwhelmingly quiet, rich and white.

A couple who live opposite Ms Trump’s new house were climbing into their car. How would they best describe the area? They were clearly reluctant to say the wrong thing, or indeed, say anything at all.

“Well located,” said the man, before the woman glared at him. (“Hurry up Richard.”)

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The road where the Obamas are to live was closed off by the Secret Service (Andrew Buncombe )

The neighbourhood is also home to the Islamic Centre of Washington, a mosque that has stood close to a bridge over Rock Creek since 1957. A week after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Mr Bush visited there and delivered a televised address in which he said the overwhelming majority of Muslims were peaceful.

While diplomats from countries with large Muslim populations worked to establish the centre, it is ordinary citizens, many of them taxi drivers, who attend the mosque, which has a friendly, welcoming reputation.

The taxi drivers frequently park in the streets close to where the Obamas and Ms Trump will be living. “I don’t think the extra security is going to be a problem for us,” said one man who asked not to give his name, who had just left afternoon prayers. 

Some people have suggested that the arrival of the new celebrity residents will push up local property prices.

“I think that if Ivanka moves here, it will put up property prices, and may force some locals to move out,” said Tressa Munoz, who lives in the city’s Columbia Heights neighbourhood, which she said was the most diverse in the city.
Asked if she thought, Mr Trump’s daughter should move to that more diverse area, she said: “I think she should stay in New York”.

source


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