Robert (Bob) Condon
Bob Condon, man about town and his wife Kathy, have been Old Town residents since 1997. They were pleased when they moved from the District to Old Town and count it as one of the smartest moves they ever made. Often seen in the local restaurants and watering holes, Bob’s elegant dress and casual demeanor is a product of his rise from the streets of New York City.
Bob Condon grew up in Long Island and attended high school in Brooklyn, N.Y. After graduating Bob enrolled in St. John’s University. After graduating from the university, Bob enrolled in Georgetown University law school in 1958. Keep in mind that back in the 60’s Georgetown University was a huge source for future restaurant and bar owners, as well as a built in source of customers. This would play out in the years to come.
By the time he graduated from law school, Bob was married and soon had children…four to be exact…three girls and 1 boy. The family moved back home to New York so Bob could pursue a career in law. He was hired by the New York County District Attorney’s Office and went to work for then District Attorney, Frank (Mr. Integrity) S. Hogan. During his time in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Hogan conducted many high scale and widely publicized investigations. Corruption and racketeering were high on his list. Concerning itself with both innocence and guilt, street crime and high-profile cases, the Hogan administration molded itself a national reputation based on resourcefulness, objectivity and honesty and Bob was with him every step of the way.
“Those were the best 5 years of my life,” he tells me. “I learned how to practice law, how to look, act, and not draw attention to myself in a courtroom.” The reference to acting is not entirely out of context, as there is a strong resemblance to the characters of Frank Hogan and Jack McCoy on NBC’s long running Law and Order. And the road to Hollywood doesn’t end there.
“I knew Frank Serpico very well,” Bob tells me. “He wanted me to handle all of his cases.” Serpico was assigned to the 81st precinct, and then he worked for the Bureau of Criminal Identification for two years. He was finally assigned to work plainclothes, where he uncovered widespread corruption in the police force. In 1973 the movie “Serpico” was made with Al Pacino playing the lead role. “It wasn’t like the movies, and these guys kept me busy,” Bob says. We dealt with drug addicts, murders and the bullets were real.”
Bob was also a friend with Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, the real life detectives portrayed in the 1971 it movie “the French Connection”, for which Gene Hackman won an academy award for portraying Eddie (Popeye) Egan. Grosso and Egan with other NYPD detectives broke up an organized crime ring in 1961 and seized 112 pounds of heroin, a record amount at the time. “This kind of stuff went on all the time,” Bob tells me. “Cops were bringing in heroin all of the time.”
“We had the largest jewel heist in history at the New York American Museum of Natural History.” Jack Roland Murphy or “Murph the Surf” was a surfing champion from California who discovered that the security at the museum was pitiful at best. He unlocked a window during the day and he and two accomplishes came back that night and strolled out with about 8 million in jewelry including the “Star of India.” The heist was made into a film in 1975 titled “Murph the Surf.”
The excitement was one thing, but the low salary was another, so after about 5 years Bob pulled up stakes and, after several years learning to try civil cases with a life insurance company took a position in D.C. at the powerful law firm of Danzansky, Dickey, Tydings, et al in 1972. “I had my duties and things went well until 1981 when both my career at that law office ended and so did my marriage. D and D merged with a large law firm in New York, which was good for me, but those partners started arguing and eventually the whole thing fell apart in 1987. “Once again, I had to reinvent myself,” Bob quips. He practices now as Counsel to the Alexandria based firm of Mitchell & Dunn, working with attorney Anne Mitchell on a variety of immigration-related matters.
While trying to find his niche, Bob met Kathy and in 1989 they were married and moved to Old Town in 1997. Together they have started a second life and seem to be living it very well. “Back in 1990 there were only about 45 wineries in Virginia,” Bob tells me, “and we decided to visit them all.” Well they made it to about 35 of those with about 25 new ones visited. His top three Virginia wineries are Sunset Hills, Linden and Tarara. They have joined many wine clubs and say they have never been disappointed.
Bob and Kathy also travel a lot with trips to the beach and to Europe and beyond. “Kathy grew up in Minnesota and never saw the ocean until she was 19, so to this day we try and get away to the shore,” Bob says.
Oh yeah, the DC bar scene. Over the years Bob has grown to represent and become friends with many of the original bar owners in D.C. He was a member of the “Lunch Bunch” which would gather at Fran O’Brien’s back in the day. If you are out and about in Old Town Alexandria and see Bob, our “Man About Town”, be sure to introduce yourself and tell him you saw it here.
Written by: Bob Tagert