by Kevin Walsh

I find it interesting that the name of the Bliss Grocery at Queens Boulevard and 47th Street in Sunnyside was not named for the owner of the grocery, or from his/her state of mind, but from the former name of 46th Street that has been retained by pure serendipity on the name of the nearby elevated train station. A lot of stuff had to fall into place so that this grocery was named Bliss.

Neziah Bliss, inventor, shipbuilder and industrialist, owned most of the land in Greenpoint, Hunters Point, and the small wedge of territory east of Hunters Point centered around Greenpoint and Bradley Avenues called Blissville in the 1830s and 1840s.

Bliss, a protegé of Robert Fulton, was an early steamboat pioneer and owned companies in Philadelphia and Cincinnati. Settling in Manhattan in 1827, his Novelty Iron Works supplied steamboat engines for area vessels. By 1832 he had acquired acreage on both sides of Newtown Creek, in Greenpoint and what would become the southern edge of Long Island City. Bliss laid out streets in Greenpoint to facilitate his riverside shipbuilding concern and according to some records built a turnpike connecting it with Astoria (now Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Vernon Blvd. in Queens); he also instituted ferry service with Manhattan. Though most of Bliss’s activities were in Greenpoint, he is remembered chiefly by Blissville in Queens and by a stop on the Flushing Line subway (#7) that bears his family name: 46th Street was originally known as Bliss Street.

In the 1920s, Queens streets were numbered (for the most part) but the elevated stations at 33rd, 40th, 46th, 52nd and 69th Streets retained the former names Lowery, Rawson, Bliss, Lincoln and Fisk, for the benefit of area oldtimers in the 1920s who remembered the old names. By 2020, there is no reason whatever except tradition to keep the old names!

Several area groceries and bars have been called “Bliss” in the streets surrounding the 46th Street station, and Bliss Grocery is one such.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Ty September 10, 2020 - 6:38 pm

There was one conductor on the 7 who was clearly depressed who’d call the stations in this despondent trailing voice. At 46 he’d just call “Bliss” without the 46.

Max Friedman September 14, 2020 - 7:40 am

The Century Circuit’s 2,200-seat Bliss Theatre on Greenpoint Avenue is still part of the Sunnyside scene, but now converted into a place of worship by Jehovah’s Witnesses .


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