Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
January 22, 2006
July 8, 2018
4th at I, Looking North (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)
   
 
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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  
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
300 B/O VIRGINIA AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/18/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/18/18
800 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 06/18/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/16/18

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
06/19/18 
CAPPER CARROLLSBURG VENTURE LLC / null
E1807795 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1346 4TH ST SE   
07/02/18 
PC 1346 LLC / INSPECTOR STEVENS
B1811126 / CONSTRUCTION
For elevator review ONLY in reference to permit # B 1711594
100 H ST SE   
06/19/18 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / RUSSELL COX
FD1800083 / CONSTRUCTION
Construction of foundation only
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
4 I ST SE   
06/18/18 
CRESCENT COMMUNITIES / KIM MITCHELL
B1804349 / CONSTRUCTION
VELOCITY - 4 I ST SE- IS THE PHASE II OF A MIXED-USE RESIDENTIAL PROJECT LOCATED AT 2 I ST SE. IT SITS AT TE CORNER OF I ST & SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE. PHASE II CONSIST OF 184 RESIDENTIAL UNITS AND ROUGHLY 3,800 SF OF RETAIL ON 1ST FLOOR FACING I STREET. TWO LEVELS OF UNDERGROUND PARKING GARAGE SERVES BOTH PHASES OF THE PROJECT. BUILDING HEIGHT IS 130 FEET. INCLUDING 3 ELEVATORS.
417 I ST SE   
06/28/18 
DALE E OWEN / TIMOTHY P. CROPP 703-698-8855
M1802925 / SUPPLEMENTAL
202 M ST SE   
06/22/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / DAVID BERUBE
TN1800146 / CONSTRUCTION
40'x60' and 16'x16' tent for a private event not open to public. Event to take place during daylight hours between 1130 and 1630.
300 M ST SE   
07/02/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1808201 / SUPPLEMENTAL
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***
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 1ST FL 20590   
07/06/18 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LLC / DAVID T. MORALES
P1807299 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1115 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 20001   
06/21/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRON PROPERTY / null
P1806901 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 20590   
06/20/18 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LLC / ALFRED F JORDAN 202-437-5067
E1807865 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1299 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
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
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   
06/18/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / MITCH PERMUY 7272100492
E1807256 / 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)


Overviews
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Anacostia Riverwalk
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M Street
South Capitol Street
The Yards
Lower 8th Street
East M Street
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