Bliss Theatre

44-17 Greenpoint Avenue,
Sunnyside, NY 11104

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MAJ216ROCK
MAJ216ROCK on May 13, 2013 at 9:11 am

Hello, I wanted to comment on LarryC’s question as to what year Jehovah’s Witnesses began using the Bliss Theatre. The property was purchased in 1965 and went into use shortly thereafter. This location is used as an Assembly Hall, where Witnesses meet for annual one and two day assemblies and 3 day District Conventions. Although the public is more than welcomed to attend, keep in mind that foreign language congregations also use this assembly hall. So, ask an attendant if an English language assembly or convention is going on the day you visit. Otherwise, you may not understand the language spoken. But, you’re still welcomed to stay! :–)

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

If anything, I’m surprised that the Bliss lasted into 1965 as a movie house. Were it not for TT’s documentation, I would have placed the conversion at least a few years earlier. At least that’s how my less than perfect memory records it

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 14, 2012 at 6:49 am

The 1965 closure date for the Bliss Theatre is probably correct. The 1965 Film Daily Year Book, published in the spring of that year, lists the Bliss under the Century Theatres Circuit theatres. But the Bliss is gone from the Century listing in the 1966 FDYB, and from all volumes after that. FDYB ceased publication after the 1970 edition.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

The location ribbon across the top of the listing has “Sunnyside” followed by “Sunny Side.” What is that supposed to mean?

LarryC
LarryC on January 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Correction. Another site says it changed to the JW hall in the 70’s.

LarryC
LarryC on January 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Does anyone know the exact year that the Bliss Theater closed and when it became the JW assembly hall? It says above the 70’s which sounds correct. Someone on the fb Woodside site says that it closed in ‘65 and became the JW. Says she has vivid memories of that. I called the JW hall and they said it was renovated in '65 and that is when it became the JW hall. I remember it being later.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 4, 2011 at 7:46 am

The building has been surrounded by exterior scaffolding for several months now, but it appears to be mainly for “safety” reasons to fix/replace broken bricks and to check all connections between the fire escapes and the exterior walls. There are identical fire escapes on both sides of the auditorium, but only the 45th Street side can be seen fully from the street. View of the 44th Street side is obscured by stores and an apartment building in front of it…The Bliss was one of the first theatres coverted to a JW church, and I guess they had a less liberal attitude then and removed everything they thought might offend the flock.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Looking at the photo you posted on August 11, 2010, also appears they removed at least two decorative elements from the main facade above the marquee: what appears to be a glazed terra cotta set of wings high on the center elevation and two series of carvings or “drawings” on either side. I wonder why the interior was stripped so drastically? Meanwhile, in Jersey City, the Witnesses have painstakingly preserved original Stanley Theatre auditorium.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on June 13, 2011 at 11:39 am

Any pictures of the interior as it looks now? I wonder if they would let anyone take photos. Why are some people against letting someone take a photo?

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Here’s an exterior view with the Bliss marquee and entrance still in place prior to renovations by the Jehovah’s Witnesses: View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Here is an item in the August 1, 1953 edition of Boxoffice magazine:

NEW YORK-Police arrested a ring of youthful theatre bandits Wednesday whose members said they concentrated on houses showing 3-D pictures “because they take in more money”.

The holdups began June 12 with a $1,600 haul at the Sunnyside Theatre, Queens. On June 28, according to police charges, the robbers got $1,300 from the Bliss Theatre in Queens, on July 8 $800 from the Fortway Theatre in Brooklyn, and $400 from the Dover Theatre, Bronx, Monday July 27. In between theatre jobs, the bandits are alleged to have held up a number of taverns.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

The Bliss went directly from theatre to JW church, which didn’t alter the marquee right away. The “Watchtower” displayed is a JW publication.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 13, 2009 at 5:59 pm

The Bliss was already being used as a church in this 1979 photo.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on February 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Thank you, Ross, for your attention and help !

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on February 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm

As those of you who have visited this page over the last few days will notice, I have deleted a number of off-topic and/or antagonistic emails.

The next attack wins a free suspension! :)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 28, 2008 at 11:08 am

Here are new links to previously posted vintage images:
View link
View link
View link

habitant
habitant on March 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Hello, my name is Guy Smith, and cant believe I found thus site. I lived at 53-07 43rd Street, Maspth in buildings called the Flats near the Calvery Cemetary from 1959-1963. One summer day on a Saturday, myself and my friend Danny Finn and another boy went to The Bliss Theater to see “Jack the Giant Killer”, must have been in 1961. Wonder if anyone has memories of this area as I was seven in 1961, remember a Key Food, a small candy store, a bakery, a doctors office…which I hated, and a Buster Brown shoe store nearby. My e-maol is Thank You.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 9, 2008 at 11:09 am

Link to the site. Mentioning the site is not the same.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 9, 2008 at 10:52 am

This photo was on a site called bridgeandtunnelclub.com. There are several photos of current and former theaters in the NYC area. It’s worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already:
http://tinyurl.com/3cd38s

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 9, 2008 at 9:48 am

Copied from murky microfilm, this 1930 photo reveals that the Bliss originally had a large electric sign on the roof, facing Greenpoint Avenue. Note how the entrance and lobbies are separate from and at an angle to the auditorium. The corner store was bricked up by the current church and is used for offices. Thomson Hill is the now rarely used name for a section of Sunnyside that has spectacular views of Manhattan, including the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/blissroof.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 17, 2006 at 5:34 am

Here’s a portion of a Century Circuit ad from February 7, 1951, showing how the Bliss promoted its expanding “Magnascopic Screen,” here for the all-star B&W musical, “The West Point Story”:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/magnabliss.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 31, 2006 at 3:57 am

Here’s a pre-opening ad from 1930. Please note “Unit 6” of the premiere programme, which demonstrated the theatre’s “Giant Screen.” A news report in The Daily Star of 12/26/30 said: “One of the special features of the Bliss is the new type of magnascopic screen. The screen is mounted on a huge frame which can be expanded or contracted to suit the size of the picture. The normal size is sixteen by twenty feet. By means of an electrically controlled device, the screen can be expanded to magnascopic size— twenty-three by thirty-two feet. A further expansion to an area of forty-five by thirty-two feet is available for the showing of a huge panorama.” To the best of my knowledge, the Bliss never projected an entire feature movie via magnascope, but it often used it to surprise the audience during a spectacular scene.
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/blissopener.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 17, 2006 at 8:59 am

Here’s the full article that ran in Motion Picture Herald soon after the Bliss opened:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/bliss02.jpg

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 17, 2006 at 5:19 am

Great image, Warren, despite the graininess. The auditorium appears to have been far more elaborately ornamented than I would have thought, particularly for what would be a 2nd run nabe. I imagine the intentions were a bit loftier when it was built? Perhaps Century’s thought it might compete with the Valencia and Triboro? I love the straight line and right angle patterns. No curves in sight – not even on the chandelier! An interesting contrast to the usual Adamesque or Art Deco/Moderne interiors found in most nabes throughout the borough.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 16, 2006 at 10:22 am

This was copied from inferior microfilm at the NYPL, but at least gives an idea of what the auditorium looked like before the current church sanitized it:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/blissoriginal.jpg