Where will the Obamas settle after D.C.? Insiders say NYC has edge over Chicago

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News
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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 15, 2014, from a trip to New York City. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

For the Clintons, it was New York. For the Bushes, it was Texas.

As President Barack Obama approaches the last quarter of his presidency, speculation has begun about where the Obamas will live after their eight-year stint in the White House is over.

Most observers expect the presidential library will be built in Chicago, where Obama worked as a community organizer, taught law, and served as a U.S. senator. But according to Politico, some insiders believe the Obamas themselves will settle in New York City. The reason? It's so big, even the Obamas — in theory — would have at least a modicum of privacy.

Via its report:

The president, who graduated from Columbia University, loves the city and the anonymity it can provide. It may be wishful thinking, but he and his wife crave a return to a life in which they can stroll into a CVS or down the street without fanfare.

“What he cherishes and misses is the serendipity — you don’t know who you’re going to bump into or what they’re going to say,” Obama senior adviser and close friend Valerie Jarrett told Politico. “He hungers for that.”

And the president himself has hinted that he'd love to return to the Big Apple.

“I just desperately want to take a walk through Central Park again, and just remember what that feels like,” Obama said at a Manhattan fundraiser in 2012, Politico reports.

Obama, who will be 55 when he leaves office in 2016, has talked openly about starting a foundation similar to the one President Bill Clinton launched after leaving office. In February, the president launched "My Brother's Keeper," a $200 million commitment to bolster the lives of young men and boys of color, a cause that will be a major focus of Obama — and the first lady — even after he leaves office.

"It’s something that's deeply personal to the president and first lady,” Jarrett told Yahoo News at the time. “I’m sure their commitment to this initiative will be a lifelong commitment. This is not something they simply want to do while he’s in office — it will continue.”

And Obama "has written extensively of the time he spent living in New York [in] the early 1980s," Vanity Fair points out, "mentioning at least three separate neighborhoods: Harlem (E. 94th Street), the Upper West Side (109th Street), and Park Slope, in Brooklyn (Second Street)."

Meanwhile, Michelle Obama, who grew up in Chicago, loves New York, attending fashion events and Broadway plays whenever she can.

Ex-NBA star Alonzo Mourning — who has counseled the president on nonprofits and runs the Mourning Family Foundation — told Politico that Obama has spoken about Hawaii (where he was born and where the first family frequently vacations) as a possibility. But, Mourning added, "the one thing that stood out more than anything else was New York." Mourning said.

But Barack and Michelle Obama may not be the ones who get to choose. In November, the president said his youngest daughter, 12-year-old Sasha, could ultimately decide where the Obamas wind up.

"We've got to make sure that she's doing well ... until she goes off to college," Obama told ABC News. "Sasha will have a big say in where we are."

Both Sasha and Malia Obama, 15, attend Sidwell Friends School in Washington.

"Obviously they — and Michelle — have made a lot of sacrifices on behalf of my cockamamie ideas, the running for office and things," Obama joked.

Home, until 2017, is the living quarters on the second floor of the White House.

"Everyone has to have their safe haven, a place of peace and calm," Michelle Obama said in 2013. "And, you know, that's home for us."

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