In late 1959, folk-music entrepreneur Izzy Young and Tom Prendergast came up with the idea of presenting folk music at Mike Porco’s bar and restaurant, Gerde’s. Before Porco renamed the place Gerde’s Folk City, it was known as the Fifth Peg. The club presented such folk singers as Brownie McGee, Cisco Houston and the Weavers in the early months of 1960. Bob Dylan made his New York debut there on April 11, 1961, opening for John Lee Hooker. Audiences also flocked to hear Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dave Van Ronk, Doc Watson and Phil Ochs (and later Emmylou Harris and Arlo Guthrie). Gerde’s moved to Third Street in 1970 and closed in 1987. The Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion is located at the club’s original spot.
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