Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
February 22, 2004
August 5, 2017
1st at I, Looking East-Southeast (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  
70 B/O I ST SE   BURGLARY
Burglary Two
 11/16/17
1200 HALF ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/15/17
1100 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/14/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/13/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 11/12/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/12/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/09/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 11/06/17
1200 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/05/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 11/05/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 11/01/17
100 B/O K ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/30/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 10/29/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/27/17
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/25/17
100 B/O K ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/21/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/19/17
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 10/19/17

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
10/26/17 
null / KENNETH J. LEMERE
E1800879 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/02/17 
BAKER DC / CHRISTINE LONG
AH1800167 / CONSTRUCTION
An after hours permit is respectfully requested from 5AM to 8PM daily
1331 2ND ST SE 20003   
10/30/17 
DC WATER / DAVE LEVINE
AH1800128 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours work for structure excavation and support for B1311474 DC Water, Corman Construction 301-343-5417.
1331 4TH ST SE CU   
11/02/17 
FC 1331 LLC / null
E1801120 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1023 4TH ST SE   
11/06/17 
MATTHEW E WEINER
BP1800535 / POST CARD
1331 4TH ST SE   
11/14/17 
FC 1331 LLC / PAUL E WARREN
E1801475 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1346 4TH ST SE   
11/07/17 
ALAN OWINGS / ROBERT HENRY
AH1800169 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours Permit for 11 / 10 / 17 from 7am to 7pm to perform concrete operations.
1015 HALF ST SE 7TH FL   
10/31/17 
HALF STREET SE LLC / null
P1800798 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1015 HALF ST SE   
10/23/17 
HALF STREET SE LLC / null
E1800739 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/23/17 
HALF STREET SE LLC / null
M1800233 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/23/17 
HALF STREET SE LLC / null
P1800599 / SUPPLEMENTAL
303 K ST SE   
10/22/17 
JONATHAN HERSHEY / null
P1800573 / SUPPLEMENTAL
555 L ST SE   
10/31/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / EDUARDO L. LOPEZ
E1801004 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/08/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
P1801050 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/08/17 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / null
M1800409 / SUPPLEMENTAL
80 M ST SE #110 20003   
11/03/17 
WELLS REIT II 80 M STREET LLC / null
P1800898 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE 402   
10/30/17 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1800973 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE STE# 402   
11/01/17 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / BERNARD CHAPPELL
E1801037 / SUPPLEMENTAL
110 M ST SE   
11/10/17 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / JIM RILEY
BP1800623 / POST CARD
922 M ST SE   
10/27/17 
MAIFEDI EQUITY LLC / FRED LATIMORE
E1800926 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1333 M ST SE   
11/03/17 
1333 M STREET SE LLC / JUSTIN BELLOW
B1801393 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of duct bank and light pole on private property
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/13/17 
SQUARE 737 LLC / N/A; BOB BIROONAK
SG1800066 / CONSTRUCTION
one apartment id sign illuminated
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
10/30/17 
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC. / NA CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.
AH1800132 / CONSTRUCTION
Work in public ROW within the Virginia Avenue Reconstruction Project LOD for utility, demolition, and concrete structure construction activities.
1000 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
10/26/17 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP17919268 / HOME OCCUPATION
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
11/03/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
E1801147 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
11/08/17 
SQUARE 742 LLC / null
E1801323 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE 20003   
11/02/17 
THE JBG COMPANIES / CODY LANG
AH1800140 / CONSTRUCTION
The location for the project is at the corner of South Capitol Street, SE and N Street, SE, to the North of Parking Lot B for the Washington Nationals Stadium. The permit numbers to reference are B1600228, PA10464330, PA115172-R2, and PA202883. These permits are attached for reference. In order to maintain our contractual requirements and progress with critical path interior finishes, rooftop bu...
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
10/31/17 
THE JBG COMPANIES / GLENNWOOD ROGERS
FB1800009 / 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
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





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