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)
   
 
 More About West Half St.

JDLand.com Home

Comments

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

Add a Comment:

Comments are closed for this post.

JDLand Comments RSS Feed


 More News


See All Current News Items | Full Blog Archive

 
 Recent Posts

RMP on Tidbits: @CJBabyDaddy it feels like a treat these days to get to use the crosswalk in fro...
CJBabyDaddy on Tidbits: @RMP: Brookfield retains control of some blocks that have yet to be turned over...
RMP on Tidbits: Who is responsible for the new block of Water between 4th and 5th? DDOT? Brookfi...
jdc on Tidbits: With build out around Yards Park nearing completion, I wonder if attention will ...
202_cyclist on Tidbits: Here are some photos of the new public space/park at the end of 4th Street that ...
202_cyclist on Tidbits: When we were walking along the river today we must have seen two dozen turtles a...
Get JDLand Updates In Your Inbox!



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  
UNIT B/O I ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/21/19
400 B/O M ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 04/19/19
70 B/O I ST SE   ROBBERY  04/16/19
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/15/19
1500 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/13/19
800 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 04/12/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/05/19
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/05/19
1500 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/03/19
200 B/O I ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/02/19
200 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 04/02/19
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 03/30/19
1200 B/O VAN ST SE   BURGLARY
Burglary Two
 03/25/19
800 B/O 3RD ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON  03/25/19

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
04/10/19 
SQUARE 769N OWNER LLC / FRANK CAVANAGH; X
SG1900275 / CONSTRUCTION
Install one building sign
1331 4TH ST SE CU   
04/01/19 
FC 1331 LLC / null
P1905037 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1000 5TH ST SE   
04/09/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / TANYA HILL
B1906864 / CONSTRUCTION
***DGS REPLACEMENT OF EXISTING SINKS WITH NEW SINKS AND CABINETS AT THE DAYCARE SPACES. REVISION OF EXISTING WATER SUPPLY AND WASTE PIPES FOR NEW SINKS.
   
04/13/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
E1906382 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
04/17/19 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / FRANKLIN T GAINES
P1905523 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1003 5TH ST SE   
04/19/19 
MICHIKO BONAWITZ / DOUGLAS IAN BONAWITZ
F1900293 / CONSTRUCTION
Put in an iron fence 3feet high and gate by R & F Metals.
150 I ST SE BASE   
04/09/19 
null
E1906206 / SUPPLEMENTAL
150 I ST SE   
04/01/19 
PEPCO UTILITY WORK / MIKE BOONE
AH1900707 / CONSTRUCTION
PEPCO-WR#3518247-ALLEN / POWER COMM-CREWS TO INSTALL TRANSFORMER / CABLE MON-SAT.
250 M ST SE   
04/15/19 
SQUARE 769 LLC / STEVEN CHEN
AH1900779 / CONSTRUCTION
Work Onsite Only - Emancipation Day
   
04/18/19 
BAKER DC LLC / CHRISTINE LONG
TC1900019 / CONSTRUCTION
Permit for Baker DC LLC to temp erect tower crane on private property
300 M ST SE   
04/01/19 
FEDERAL CENTER, LP / SAM HOLLEN
B1907517 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION TO 2ND FLOOR OFFICE SPACE.  PARTITIONS, FURNITURE, MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL AND LIFE SAFETY.  980 SQUARE FEET. ICI SERVICES
   
04/02/19 
FEDERAL CENTER, LP / SAM HOLLEN
B1907519 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR RENOVATION TO 8TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE.  PARTITIONS, FURNITURE, MEP AND LIFE SAFETY.  990 SQUARE FEET. ICI SERVICES
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
04/19/19 
880 NEW JERSEY AVE LLC / JAMES W LASHER
E1906502 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
04/15/19 
EARL MITCHELL / null
E1906389 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
04/09/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / MICHAEL ZEARING
AN1900118 / CONSTRUCTION
Remove (3) (E) 2.5GHz RFS (APXVTM14-C-120) Panel Antennas with Associated Cabling Remove (3) (E) 2.5GHz Alcatel Lucent (TD-RRH8x20-2500) RRH's with associated cabling Contractor to verify existing mount and if necessary replace with 3.5" OD x 8' SCH. 40 Pipe per Sprint standards Install (3) (N) 2.5GHz Nokia Airscale MAA 64T64R 128AE B41 120 AAHC MIMO Antennas Install (3) (N) MIMO Mounting Br...
125 O ST SE   
04/18/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / BILL SAUNDERS; TBD
B1908317 / CONSTRUCTION
ADD 1 RESERVE TANK TO CLEAN AGENT FIRE SYSTEM.
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
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
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)


Overviews
Capper/Carrollsburg
Anacostia Riverwalk
New Jersey Avenue
M Street
South Capitol Street
The Yards
Lower 8th Street
East M Street
Boathouse Row





                  © Copyright 2019 JD.