To rent an apartment at the Totten Towers in Columbia Heights last December, Joel Greenfield walked under an impressive archway and was buzzed into the lobby of the adjoining Benjamin Warder Mansion. He sat down in one of two leather chairs beside a fireplace, across from a plush velvet sofa and two modern-looking ottomans, all resting on a marble floor. Greenfield signed a lease, swayed in no small part by the prospect of impressing friends with his upscale entryway. After signing, he says, he had one question: “How late can I use this entrance?” The reply: Actually, you can’t. Totten residents are required to enter through a door on 15th Street NW that keeps them out of the mansion’s lobby. Property manager Heather Pooley confirms the segregation continues but says that applicants to the Towers are told ahead of time that they won’t have access to the mansion, where one-bedrooms go for around $1,700 a month, $700 more than in its stepsister building. The Totten masses can claim one exclusive privilege, though: They need not fear an intrusion by the Warder bourgeoisie into their cinder-block halls. “Mansion residents don’t have access to Totten,” says Pooley. —Ryan Grim

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