Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
September 22, 2004
May 6, 2008
Half at O, Looking South (see more)

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)
   
 
 More About West Half St.

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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  
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 01/19/19
100 B/O I ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 01/19/19
1200 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 01/18/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 01/15/19
200 B/O WATER ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 01/14/19
UNIT B/O K ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (theft From Building)
 01/12/19
1000 B/O 8TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 01/11/19
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 01/11/19
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
 01/06/19
1300 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 01/04/19
900 B/O 3RD ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 01/03/19
UNIT B/O M ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 01/03/19
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 12/30/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 12/30/18
200 B/O M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/29/18
100 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 12/28/18
700 B/O L ST SE   BURGLARY
Burglary Two
 12/28/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/28/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 12/26/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/26/18
UNIT B/O I ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 12/25/18
300 B/O I ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 12/24/18
900 B/O HALF ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 12/23/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 12/22/18

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
926 4TH ST SE   
01/16/19 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP19950290 / HOME OCCUPATION
1346 4TH ST SE   
01/11/19 
ALAN OWINGS / SEV HENRY
AH1900404 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours Work on Saturday (1 / 12 / 2019) and Sunday (1 / 13 / 2019) for the Following Operations Saturday, 1 / 12 / 2019 ---Interior Operations after 7PM Sunday, 1 / 13 / 2019 ---Interior Operations: 7AM-7PM ---Exterior Operations: 7AM-7PM ---Sitework Operations: 7AM-7PM
900 5TH ST SE   
01/02/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MATT HUPPMAN
D1900229 / CONSTRUCTION
the Berg Corporation has a project located at 900 5th Street SE that has suffered a major fire and is considered an emergency job. Twenty percent of original structure was immediately demolished following the fire for safety reasons. The Berg Corporation is now pursuing a demolition permit to remove the balance of the stick built portion of the structure. The following improvements are to ...
1000 5TH ST SE 1ST FL   
01/09/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / WALTER T JONES
E1903161 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1000 5TH ST SE   
12/27/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / TANYA HILL
B1902924 / CONSTRUCTION
DGS RENOVATION OF EXISTING WARMING KITCHEN AND FITNESS ROOM OF APPROXIMATELY 900 SF TO BECOME RESIDENTIAL GRADE DEMONSTRATION KITCHEN. RENOVATION OF EXISTING APPROXIMATELY 300 SF OPEN LOUNGE AND SOME DEMOLITION OF INTERIOR PARTITIONS, NEW FINISHES AND MEP. This permit dose not include the Child devolepment center, There work in this area.
   
01/02/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
P1902543 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
01/11/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / KASMIN HOLT
AH1900407 / CONSTRUCTION
Work under permit E1903161 on starting at 7pm - 7am.
1005 5TH ST SE   
01/04/19 
ALEXANDRA H HARRIS / HOLLIE MASON
F1800763 / CONSTRUCTION
Requesting permit to add an ornamental black iron fence with gate, not to exceed three feet, enclosing / surrounding front yard area. Installation of the fence may require concrete footings. The fence will be the same as others in the neighborhood and one of the approved transparent designs approved by the HOA; "hairpin" front section and "picket" return sections with ball finials on posts. Sol...
328 I ST SE   
01/11/19 
BRIAN HUSEMAN / MELVIN CRENSHAW
B1904212 / CONSTRUCTION
Remove and replace kitchen on 2nd floor and update electrical. Remove and replace bathroom on 3rd floor and update electrical. Total SQFT 248
401 L ST SE   
01/15/19 
MICHAEL R BRICKMAN / SHELBY FIGAROORE
P1902908 / SUPPLEMENTAL
250 M ST SE   
01/07/19 
SQUARE 769 LLC / BRIAN STROTT
SH1900002 / CONSTRUCTION
Support of excavation system for a nine story 188,000 GSF office building with three levels below grade located at 250 M St. SE.
   
01/08/19 
SQUARE 769 LLC / ROBERT HART
AH1900389 / CONSTRUCTION
After hours work permit for installation of DDOT approved TCP jersey barriers.
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 20590   
01/03/19 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LLC / SAM HOLLEN
B1900891 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION TO 7TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS, FURNITURE, MEP, LIFE SAFETY AND NEW STRUCTURAL HANGING PARTITION. 7581 SQUARE FEET. US DOT **LEVEL 2 ALTERATION
71 POTOMAC AVE SE   
01/08/19 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS II, LLC / MITCH A. PERMUY
E1902865 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
01/10/19 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / DANIEL M. NARH
P1902751 / SUPPLEMENTAL
227 TINGEY ST SE   
12/26/18 
JOHN MORIARTY & ASSOCIATES / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
AH1900354 / CONSTRUCTION
Yards Parcel L-2. Afterhours permit for the purpose of dismantling the tower crane on private property. Work to take place Friday 1 / 18 – 7pm-10pm, Saturday 1 / 19 – 7pm-10pm, and Sunday 1 / 20 – 10am-7pm.
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
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Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
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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)
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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)


Overviews
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