Your spoiling of me nourishes and strengthens me. Thank you for your love and concern. Go Well. Stay well.
– Odetta, Folk Icon

“We would just hang around [Washington Square Park], and when things would start cooling off, we’d just go down the block and hang out at Gerdes.”
– 
Arlo Guthrie, Performer

“Gerdes brought the drinking blues to New York, not the ice cream sundae blues. White blues started there also.”
– 
Dave Van Ronk, Performer

“I was the one who started hanging pictures on the wall! Folk City was Mecca. It was the place. There was no other. It was where it was happening.”
– 
Brownie McGhee, Blues Legend

“What I really found at Folk City was the kind of self expression of a quality music that was home-crafted, homemade, self-developed, free, radical.”
– 
Robert Shelton, Music Critic, The New York Times

“Many nights after Josh White and Louis Armstrong were working uptown, they would come down to the hootenannies at Folk City. They would come in with four or five women in mink stoles and diamond rings and they’d come up and jam. Josh White and Louis Armstrong, together at Folk City hootenanny!”
– 
Douglas Yaeger, Manager

 “A lot of people would sign up [for hoot night]. Everyone would go to the basement… we’d all hang out in the basement and they’d come down and call us when they wanted us to come up and play. We’d have fun waiting down there for our turn.”
– 
Richie Havens, Performer

“One night I was down in the basement warming up for my turn and Dylan was down there warming up. Down the stairs bounds this enormous black guy wearing overalls and toting a banjo. He was so nervous…he was practically shaking. It was Taj Mahal. He pulls out his banjo….singing and playing. We took one listen to that and we said, ‘You have nothing to worry about.'”
– 
Maria Muldaur, Performer

There ain’t the thrill, no matter where you go, like there was…at Gerdes Folk City. I’ll never live those days down. I never will. – John Lee Hooker, Blues Legend

“I met Bob Dylan at Gerdes. He wasn’t playing then. He would come to me for advice and watch me. He would hang around me and come home with me at night. Finally he got up on stage and began playing.”
– 
John Lee Hooker, Blues Legend

“Dylan heard me do ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ at Folk City. He was crying and he was high. I didn’t know he had written it. He looked at me and said, “Man, you’re my favorite singer. You really sang that song so beautiful. I went down to the basement and Dave van Ronk said, “Do you know who that was?” I said, “No.” He said, “That’s the guy who wrote that song.”
 
Richie Havens, Performer

“One dramatic night at Folk City was the last performance of Cisco Houston. A whole bunch of us came to that show. The Weavers, the Tarriers, Pete Seeger, Arlo and Bobby Dylan were there.”
– 
Harold Leventhal, Manager & Producer

 “Peter, Paul and Mary’s first show was at Folk City, before their first official public performance. Allbert Grossman was standing right next tonight and asked me what I thought after they finished. I didn’t really like what they were doing. He said to me, “Well, they’re gonna be huge.”
– 
Eric Weissberg, Performer

“We took our one guitar and four songs and went down to Gerdes.”
– 
Lucy and Carly Simon, The Simon Sisters

“Albert Grossman gave me a tape and asked me what do you think of this guy [Dylan]. I listened to it and went crazy. I thought it was fantastic. I just hung out with [Dylan] at the Gerdes bar just kind of grousing about this and that.”
– 
Judy Collins, Performer

“The night Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” was first heard by an audience [Apr 16, 1962], Dylan and I had been killing the latter part of a Monday afternoon drinking coffee and bullshitting. About five o’clock, Bob pulled out his guitar and a paper and pencil. He began to strum some chords and fool with some lines he had written for a new song. Time passed and he asked me to play the guitar for him so he could figure out the rhymes with greater ease. We did this for an hour or so until he was satisfied. The song was “Blowin’ in the Wind.” We decided to bring it over to Gil Turner who was hosting the Monday-night hoots at Gerdes, and we arrived about 9:30 or 10. Gerdes was packed with the regular Monday night jam of intense young folk singers and guitar pickers. We fought our way through the crowd down the stairs to the basement where you waited and practiced until your turn to play was called. It was a scene as usual. Gil Turner finally took a break and came down to the basement to organize the next half of the show. Bob was nervous and he was doing his Chaplin shuffle as he caught Gil’s attention. “I got a song you should hear, man,” Bob said, grinning from ear to ear. ”Sure thing, Bob,” Gil said. He moved closer to hear better. A crowd sort of circled the two of them. Bob sang it out with great passion. When he finished there was silence all around. Gil Turner was stunned. “I’ve got to do that song myself,” he said. “Now!” “Sure, Gil, that’s great. You want to do it tonight?” “Yes,” said Turner, picking up his guitar, teach it to me now.” Bob showed him the chords and Gil roughly learned the words. He took the copy Bob made for him and went upstairs. We followed, excited by the magic that was beginning to spread. Gil mounted the stage and taped the words on to the mike stand. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “I’d like to sing a new song by one of our great songwriters. It’s hot of the pencil and here it goes.” He sang the song, sometimes straining to read the words off the paper. When he was through, the entire audience stood on its feet and cheered. Bob was leaning against the bar near the back smiling and laughing. Another moment in time ticked off.”
– 
David Blue, Performer

“The next time Dylan played Gerdes he sang “Masters of War” and that just slayed me. That had me on the floor.”
– 
Maria Muldaur, performer

“I came to Gerdes one night with my boyfriend and someone grabbed me and said, ‘You’ve got to meet this guy.’ …Someone came to Bob and said ‘You’ve got to meet Joan.’ So we were sort of forced to meet each other. …and meanwhile I totally forgot about my boyfriend…I watched [Dylan’s] performance and I was completely knocked out by it. One night at Gerdes we were up on stage making up a song together. We had good times at Gerdes. I just loved being in the Village and Gerdes was his home turf.”
– 
Joan Baez, Performer

“Folk City was the most petrifying place I’d ever played in my life. Absolutely scared me to death. It was a real trial by fire. But I was drawn to it. When the Kingston Trio played Folk City I’m sure we had a lot of cocktails before we got onstage, because it terrified us.”
– 
John Stewart, Kingston Trio

“[The Youngbloods] was one of the first bands to come into Gerdes. The sound system was designed for folk music. [We] went and bought new microphones and speakers for the gig.”
– 
Jesse Colin Young, Youngbloods

“I used to wait tables at Folk City when Jose Feliciano would play there. I usually paid more attention to my customers than people on stage, but I did pay attention to Jose Feliciano. I remember Simon & Garfunkel performing “Sounds of Silence” for the first time at Folk City. They sang it at some sort of college reunion. I didn’t think they’d make it. They didn’t sound as goosd as some of the other acts. They went over well because it was all their friends.”
– 
Louis Bass, Waiter, Doorman

“My first performance was at Folk City. I was 15. ! was incredibly frightened but it was very thrilling.”
– 
Patty Smyth, Scandal

“I was on the basket passing circuit and then I later played Gerdes. The character that I was on The Monkees was developed on the stages of the Village clubs.” – Peter Tork,The Monkees

“I saw Janis Joplin when she was at Folk City. One night I saw Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin walking out of Folk City together. I’ll never forget it. I was walking in and they were just walking out. The whole audience was following them out.”
– 
Roland Moussa, Performer

“if you were new and hot, the [Folk City] audience would would be quiet and attentive, like when Ian and Sylvia were on for the first time. You always get one free ride. From then on, you’re just another one of the bums who gets in the way of conversation.”
– 
Dave Van Ronk, Performer

“I was the first person singing folk songs at Gerdes Folk City. I once had a marvelous experience with someone in the audience. I was accusing someone of being blind-drunk andafter theshow, this man came up to me and said, “you’re right. I’m both blind and drunk.” It was Judy Collins’ father.”
– 
Ed McCurdy, Performer

“I met [Townes Van Zandt] at Gerdes. When I first came to Gerdes I was doing everything from country to Dylan. Folk City was my bread and butter.”
– 
Emmylou Harris, Performer, Folk City waitress

“John Denver would come in and never leave a tip. Rick Danko from The Band was the complete opposite.”
– 
Peggy Duncan, Bartender

 “The first time I performed at FC was with the Rolling Thunder Review in 1975. We went down to Folk City, Bette Midler and Phil Ochs were there. Bette Midler ended up on my lap -or was it Dylan’s lap? She ended up on everyone’s lap.”
– 
Allen Ginsberg, Poet

“Allen Ginsberg and Patti Smith got up [to perform]. They looked like a pair.”
– 
Rosie, MC

 “One night at Folk City, Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow came in to see us. They’d clap and laugh at our jokes. I met [ex-husband Loudon Wainwright] at Folk City. I had no idea who Loudon was. I thought he was kind of square and too straight looking. We met at Folk City and spent many nights together at Folk City. We had lots of fun there for sure.”
– 
Suzzy Roche, The Roches

“I came to the village in 1963 as a folk singer from Cleveland. Folk City was the first place I went to and was the first place I sang. Steely Dan opened for me there. The last time Bette Midler and I sang “Friends”  together was at Folk City.”
– 
Buzzy Linhart, Performer

“I felt Folk City [in the ’80s] was an oasis of an ongoing sensibility that seemed to disappear everywhere else in NY.”
– 
Stephen Holden, Critic, The New York Times

“I remember one night the electricity went out in Folk City when the Manhattan Transfer was playing there. They went on and did a great acoustic set, proving to me how really talented and adaptable they were.”
– 
Fred Kirby, Critic, Variety

“It was music history happening at Folk City: The Dream Syndicate…Beat Rodeo, the Minutemen, the Replacements, the Del-lords, del Fuegos, Husker Du, the Plugz,who became Dylan’s band, 10,000 Maniacs, Fleshtones, Exene and John Doe, Dave Alvin, the Knitters, John Zorn, Peter Stampfel, Yo la Tengo.”
– 
Michael Hill, Music for Dozens series manager, music journalist, Warner Brothers Records, A&R

“The point of our series was to feature known artists and musicians doing performances that were different and out of the ordinary: Lenny Kaye, Annie Golden, Richard Hell, Ellen Foley, David Johansen, Eric Bogosian, Ann Magnuson, Sylvain Sylvain, John Lurie.”
– 
Jim Wynbrandt, the Wynbrandts, Wednesday Night Rock Series Manager

“Otis Blackwell, Esquirita, Marshall Crensahw, the Blasters, Steve Forbert, the Smithereens. We had to be creative with the bookings; From its inception it was wall to wall crowds.”
– 
Pat DiNizio, the Smithereens

“We came to Folk City and [John Doe] was very nervous about playing the same stage that Phil Ochs once stood on.”
– 
Dave Alvin, The Blasters

“Folk City’s Music for Dozens was always the hip series to play.”
– Frank Maya, Performer

“Folk City: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank You Thank you. To many more wonderful years of the same.”
– 
Ellen McIlwaine, Performer

“The very best. Great club”
– 
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Performer

“God bless you. Gerdes Folk City Forever!”
– 
Maria Muldaur, Performer

“Who would have thought that two concerts in one night would be so enjoyable for the singers?”
– 
Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl, Performers

“Folk City, thank you for being here when I needed you. Don’t close your doors.”
– 
Taj Mahal, Performer

“A dream realized.”
– 
Shawn Colvin, Performer

“Folk City — [the gig] was great!”
– 
Country Joe MacDonald, Performer

“Folk City. My Home.”
– 
Carolyn Hester, Performer

“Thank you Folk City for a lovely FAB time!”
– 
Richard Thompson, Performer

“I like it more every time here.”
– 
Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Performer

“Love your club!”
– 
Dream Syndicate

“Lovely, lovely people. The best always.”
– 
Doc Pomus, Legendary Songwriter

“Folk City, we sure appreciate this place.”
– 
Gordon Gano, Violent Femmes

“it has always been a dream to play here, and thanks to you all and David Blue it came true. Love always and thanks.”
– Ronee Blakley, Performer and Oscar-Nominated Actress for “Nashville.”

“Great playin’ here.”
– 
Roger McGuinn, Performer

“Once again, thanks for the pleasure of being here.”
– 
Arlo Guthrie, Performer

“Folk City, keep on keepin’ on!”
– 
Merl Saunders, Performer

“Folk City: Love and best wishes.”
– 
Big Mama Thornton, Performer

“Best wishes to a good old joint!”
– 
John Sebastian, Lovin’ Spoonful

“Thank you for all your support.”
– 
Suzanne Vega, Performer

“I had a great time. I like to see other people work.”
– 
Dudley Moore, Actor

Dear Folk City. Long may your roll on. – Ronnie Gilbert, The Weavers

“Warren Beatty was at Folk City and had a great time!!!”
– 
Warren Beatty, Actor

“Folk City team, thanks for the gig and hospitality.”
– 
Levon Helm, The Band

“By far the nicest gigs and people I’ve dealt with in New York for a very long time. Anxious to come back whenever.”
– 
Chris Smither, Performer

“One day we were talking to this young girl who was telling us about her interest in music. She was 14 and she and her friend were just learning to write and they would play us songs they had just written. She was  Cyndi Lauper. She would come to our house and we would play songs together and then we’d go to Folk City a lot and check out the music.”
– 
Wendy Beckett, Bermuda Triangle

 “We played Folk City in the Music for Dozens series. The place was overpacked and it was a real gas. It was a fantastic experience. Nowhere else in the world were there so many fantastic groups playing together. And there were always lines around the block. As a performer, that’s a real gas to see.”
– 
Brian Ritchie, Violent Femmes

“A lot of great bands who are really hot now came out of that series. Groups like the Del Fuegos, the Replacements and the Violent Femmes got a lot of attention playing there. The place was always packed with critics and record comapny people. I thought it was fitting that Folk City would host such a series. It was a real hip thing to be a part of.”
– 
Victor DeLorenzo, Violent Femmes

“I used to come to Folk City to see George Gerdes, Peter Stampfel, Two Nights of This [series] and a few other things. When Michael Hill, editor of the New York ocker, was asked to book Music For Dozens series, I volunteered to do it with him. We put on bands that deserved the attention and the series was incredibly successful.”
– 
Ira Kaplan, Yo La Tengo, Music For Dozens Series Co-Manager

“T-Bone Burnett was playing…and Elvis Costello, Paul Carrack from Squeeze, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds showed up. By the time Elvis Costello walked up on stage, and the audience registered who he was, they went wild. Elvis and T-Bone played for 45 minutes, and after their performance Elvis sat back down in his seat and a line of 200 people stood patiently waiting to talk to him and get his autograph. He greeted everyone.”
– 
Marilyn Lash, Folk City Co-Owner

“We asked Stephen Holden [of The New York Times] to write a feature on Suzanne Vega. He couldn’t until she was a weekend headliner, so we immediately gave Suzanne a Saturday night. Unprecedented for a local act just starting out, she sold out all of her shows. Stephen’s article sent a current of excitement through the record industry and Suzanne was soon signed to a major record deal with A&M records.”
– 
Marilyn Lash, Folk City Co-Owner

“Ever since I was a child I knew about Folk City. I came to the city with that as my destination. All the crucial points of my life are tied to Folk City”
– 
Andy Breckman, performer, and creator/producer of “Monk”

“One of our most fun shows [at Folk City] was when the Dinettes joined us for the first time. Before that when we played Folk City we were just the Pump Boys. My favorite place to play.”
– 
Jim Wann, performer and creator of Tony-nominated “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” which originated at FolkCity

“It was always interesting working at FC, because there was such a parade of personalities. Jose Feliciano, Shel Silverstein, Al Kooper would play guest sets. One night Irene Cara was their dancing in the aisle-it looked like a scene straight out of “Fame.” Within a week, David Byrne, Donna Summer, Carly Simon, J Geils, George Thorogood and Madonna came in. Just recently, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, and Elaine May came in on on the same night. Leonard Bernstein came in one night to watch his daughter, Jamie, perform. One weekend Linda Ronstadt and Bob Dylan came back to the club. Folk City is never a boring place and you never know who might be sitting next to you at the bar or who might be in the audience watching your performance.”
– 
Bernadette Contreras, Performer and Co-author of “Folk City” Musical

These copyrighted quotes are used with permission. All quotes are either excerpts from the books ``Bringing It All Back Home`` (Random House © 1986) and ``Hoot`` (St. Martins © 1994) by Robbie Woliver or from the 1980-1986 Folk City guest book.

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