Saturday will be the final Karaoke night at the Bliss Street Station, the popular Irish pub and restaurant in Sunnyside that is closing down Sunday after 26 years on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and 47th Street. Owner Ambrose Gurhy had his restaurant on the market for several years and finally found a buyer who plans to open a South American eatery in its place.
Gurhy has been an active member of the community. His restaurant was part of the Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars group that stages events for charity.
“The sad part is they’re such good people who have done so much for the neighborhood,” Community Board 2 Chairman Pat O’Brien said. “Protecting small business is a very hard thing to do in this day and age. Unless you can buy the building, other than that you’re at the mercy of your landlord.”
The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce came out in force Wednesday to say goodbye to Gurhy, who was a longtime member of the organization. Several of its members competed in a disco Karaoke contest, including Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association.
“It’s a sad day for the neighborhood. Bliss Street was always such a warm place where you could visit with all your neighbors,” O’Leary said.
“It’s unfortunate, but rents are going up everywhere, in Sunnyside and Long Island City,” O’Leary added. “Just yesterday we learned that Elksa, a clothing store in LIC, will be closing in September because their rents have soared. The problem with the Bliss is it’s such a huge place you have to have a lot of volume to stay in business.”
During the ’90s, Bliss Street Station would be crowded almost every night, but business has slowed as the Irish population waned over the years. The restaurant began Karaoke nights on Friday, Saturday and Wednesday and that proved to be popular for many years.
Bliss Street Station is the latest Irish pub and restaurant to close in Sunnyside. P.J. Horgan’s never reopened following a kitchen fire in April, despite having a lease until 2018.
Horgan’s was part of the Center Cinema lot that was sold to developer John Ciafone, who is planning to build a seven-story residential building with a retail component.
“It’s further sign of our economic times,” O’Leary said. “We have to find a way to keep our mom-and-pops in business.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr
©2015 Community News Group
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