Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

They say you never really know what's going on inside the walls of someone's home, and that certainly would have been the case if you had wandered by the northwest corner of Half and N in the early 1980s. The red brick rowhouse at 36 N Street, SE (seen at left in May 2003) would have looked unassuming enough to you, until you opened up your copy of the Washington Post on March 2, 1981, and read this:
"It was his first night at The Playground Swing Club in Southeast Washington, and the 37-year-old Army veteran was ready. He stripped and headed up the red-carpeted stairs to the lounge where a few men and women, most dressed only in robes, were sitting on cushioned floors and platforms. [...] Soon, he and a young woman he had never before met strolled into The Playroom, where bodies were lying in all directions on mattresses and a raised platform. He and the woman joined in. 'Everybody freeze!" a voice suddenly shouted. 'This is a raid!' "
DC police had spent six weeks investigating The Playground, work which included having two undercover police couples "stripped to their underwear [who] spent three hours listening to the friendly discussions and watching the lovemaking." But when the bust happened in February of 1981, there were no charges of anyone paying for sex: the owner eventually was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $500 for operating a public hall without a license and failing to have a proper certificate of occupancy for the club. An additional charge of selling alcohol without a license was dropped.
A few of the "participants" at the house that night were charged under the city's sodomy laws, which brought swift condemnation from the ACLU: "Sexual conduct between consenting adults is none of the government's business." The raid also made for titillating reading in the Post, as the paper dryly explained the "swinging" culture: "What was happening at The Playground was a plain and simple orgy--an activity that seems to have become as common among a certain underground of adults as was dancing cheek-to-cheek in the 1930s."
The Playground was closed soon after, and a 1982 attempt to turn 36 N into an "erotica museum" was shot down by the city and neighbors. The rowhouse itself lasted until 2005, getting demolished two years before its neighbors met the wrecking ball as well. The site, now owned by Akridge as part of its Half Street footprint, is directly across from Nationals Park (which I guess you could also call a swinging establishment!), where the Bullpen now provides a different brand of entertainment during baseball season.
As for the Playground's owner? It was Dennis Sobin, longtime city activist and current mayoral candidate. A profile of Sobin earlier this year by the Georgetown Voice gives a quick summary of his years in Washington, including his ownership of multiple strip clubs, adult bookstores, and brothels in the late 70s, a third-place finish in the 1982 mayor's race, and a 10-year prison term in Florida on child pornography charges. He currently runs the Prisons Foundation, devoted to prison artists and their work.
(And no, I had no idea that this little item would end up tied to current city politics when I started!)
Comments (2)
   
 
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Jay says: (7/19/10 9:13 AM)
As I have said before, it was a paradox that this site was not highly thought of when the Post was ranking the possible ballpark sites.

Maybe this helps explain it, its sordid past, if you will.


c says: (7/19/10 2:51 PM)
ah the good old days, all that old fun used to come cheap, now it's $7 for a Hebrew National and more if you want a beer

I just hope they recycled the brick at that old dive - psyche

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City Government Data for Near Southeast Records added or updated recently displayed here; click the "archive" links to see additional detail and older records. All data from DC Government databases and RSS feeds. JDLand takes no responsibility for errors, omissions, etc. (read CapStat disclaimer). Data is retrieved daily.

Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 07/21/18
1000 B/O 5TH ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON
Assault W/i To Kill
 07/21/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/19/18
200 B/O I ST SE   ROBBERY  07/17/18
1200 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/15/18
1400 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/15/18
1200 B/O 4TH ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON  07/14/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/13/18
900 B/O POTOMAC AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/13/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/11/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/11/18
UNIT B/O L ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/10/18
100 B/O I ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/09/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 07/06/18
900 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/04/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 07/02/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 07/02/18
200 B/O L ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/28/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/28/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 06/28/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/28/18
900 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/27/18
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 06/25/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 06/24/18

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 1ST ST SE   
07/19/18 
ONYX ACQUISITION LLC / BAKER DC LLC
TC1800039 / CONSTRUCTION
Permit to erect tower crane on private property
1346 4TH ST SE   
07/02/18 
PC 1346 LLC / INSPECTOR STEVENS
B1811126 / CONSTRUCTION
For elevator review ONLY in reference to permit # B 1711594
   
07/11/18 
FC1346 LLC / ASHLY SALISBURY; KONE
EN1802014 / SHOP DRAWING
Installation of 4 KONE Mono500 Elevators
2 I ST SE   
07/02/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / DANIEL P. THOMPSON
P1807204 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
07/03/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / BOB BIROONAK; X
SG1800364 / CONSTRUCTION
one illuminated ID sign
150 I ST SE   
07/18/18 
null / JOHN H THOMSON 301-864-5080
E1808693 / SUPPLEMENTAL
417 I ST SE   
06/28/18 
DALE E OWEN / TIMOTHY P. CROPP 703-698-8855
M1802925 / SUPPLEMENTAL
200 K ST SE   
07/19/18 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / XIOMARA A VARGAS APONTE
TN1800154 / CONSTRUCTION
The International Colombian Festival at Canal Park. We are placing 8x8 fences (560 feet total). 2 tents 20 x20, 1 tent 10x30 20x16x3 plus a catwalk 8x8 65 KW
300 M ST SE   
07/02/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1808201 / SUPPLEMENTAL
400 M ST SE   
07/09/18 
null / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1801113 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3476633-VAETH / BRUNO-PEPCO CREWS WORKING THE 300-400 BLK OF M ST SE SPLICING CABLES - FROM TUESDAY NIGHT (7 / 10 / 18) THROUGH SATURDAY NIGJT (7 / 14 / 18) FROM 9PM TIL 9AM
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
06/28/18 
CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION / NA CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.
AH1801055 / CONSTRUCTION
Work in public ROW within the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Project LOD for utility, demolition, and concrete structure construction activities. TO EXCLUDE LEGAL HOLIDAYS***
   
07/12/18 
CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION / RPS INC
SB1800373 / CONSTRUCTION
PER WORK PLAN, ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION, DATED JUNE 25, 2018 (SEE ATTACHED), THE WORK INVOLVES DRILLING 10 SOIL BORINGS USING A GEOPROBE RIG FOR THE PURPOSE OF COLLECTING SOIL SAMPLES FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL SUBSURFACE EXPLORATION. BORING DEPTHS RANGE FROM 20 TO 50 FT. BORINGS WILL BE PROPERLY BACKFILLED AFTER COMPLETION.
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 1ST FL 20590   
07/06/18 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LLC / DAVID T. MORALES
P1807299 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1299 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
07/12/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / GARRETT MILLS
TN1800142 / CONSTRUCTION
Event: Play Ball Park DC Location: The Yards, Parcel A (Corner of First Street and M Street); Play Ball Park is a Fan event sponsor zone that features BaseBall clinics, Sponsor Areas, Food and Beverage, and Entertainment.
   
06/29/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / SHANNON BURKE
SB1800332 / CONSTRUCTION
Site is being investigated before construction in accordance with Consent Order between GSA and EPA. Temporary soil borings will be installed for soil and groundwater sampling.
71 POTOMAC AVE SE   
06/27/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / BARR CONCRETE
TC1800036 / CONSTRUCTION
towercrane for jobsite use
   
07/02/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / DANIEL P. THOMPSON
P1807202 / SUPPLEMENTAL
79 POTOMAC AVE SE   
07/13/18 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS I LLC / CARLOS H. LOPEZ
P1807478 / SUPPLEMENTAL
221 TINGEY ST SE   
06/27/18 
GONE YARD HOTEL OWNER, LLC / STEPHEN J. EXELBERT
P1807049 / SUPPLEMENTAL
(1) Gas generator (1) Gas Meter (1) Eye washer (12) Backwater Valve
227 TINGEY ST SE   
07/09/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
AH1801111 / CONSTRUCTION
Afterhours Permit to allow for work under Permit B1801871 (Yards Parcel L2) to occur from 5am to 7am on July 12 through July 17. ANC approval provided.
   
07/12/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
B1806775 / CONSTRUCTION
Parcel L1 - Revision to Permit FD1700126 to incorporate changes requested and approved by DC Water.
355 WATER ST SE   
07/12/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
E1808509 / SUPPLEMENTAL
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

Real Property Sales Archive  
No commercial transaction records added or modified in the past two weeks.


Project Directory
Completed
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)


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