03.23.08

Where’s The Mets’ Compassion For Jane Jarvis?

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 11:14 pm by

A blog more concerned with actual baseball content would probably focus on Orlando Hernandez’ diabolically poor ’08 Grapefruit League debut, or Mets skipper Willie Randolph’s announcement that neither El Duque nor the underwhelming Mike Pelfrey will start the regular season in New York’s starting rotation.

Instead, prompted by the report below from the New York Times’ Glenn Collins, I’ll pose the following question : if the Wilpon family can find a way to help Darryl Strawberry so many years after he left the Mets, where’s the organization’s love for Shea’s longtime organist?

To a discriminating group of jazz aficionados, she™s known for her exuberant rendition of œCherokee, and her meditative œAll of Me.

To a larger group of Mets fanatics still mesmerized by the team™s glories and miseries in the 1960s and ™70s, she is legendary for the renditions of œMeet the Mets and œThe Mexican Hat Dance boomed on the mighty Thomas organ at Shea Stadium.

But now, at least temporarily, Jane Jarvis is something else: a displaced person.

Last Saturday™s crane collapse forced Ms. Jarvis, 92, to leave her apartment building at 311 East 50th Street, adjacent to the four-story brick building that was crushed in the disaster. She lived in one of 300 apartments that were evacuated, and thus entered a small population of Manhattanites who, while not injured in the collapse, have found themselves living in the odd twilight between victim and survivor. Some have found refuge with friends, others in hotels, others in shelters.

œThey got us out of the buildings so fast, she said, œall I had was my pajamas and a fur coat.

Weeks before the crane toppled, Ms. Jarvis said, she saw it œswaying in a windstorm, and we were praying to God that it wouldn™t fall, she said of herself and a caretaker, Joylyn Caleb. Then, last Saturday at 2:22 p.m., she saw the 146-ton crane collapse from the window of her 11th-floor studio apartment. œI remember there was a noise. And then the building shook.

Though not directly hit, her building sustained water damage and the elevators haven™t worked since, she said.

She spent four nights with her paid caretakers in a hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood, in a room found for her by a friend, Benny Powell, a jazz trombonist who has often performed with Ms. Jarvis.

œI don™t dwell on all of this, said Ms. Jarvis, who walks with difficulty. She projected the grandeur of a Gloria Swanson with an impish soupçon of Carol Burnett.

It was her role as the Pied Piper of Shea that secured her reputation from 1964 to 1979.

Ms. Ruckert, her friend, said in a telephone interview that œI was there on her last day ” and she had her name up on the board, and they gave her a plaque. Ms. Ruckert sighed. œShe was replaced by a machine.

4 Responses to “Where’s The Mets’ Compassion For Jane Jarvis?”

  1. Fred Winther says:

    Does Jane have any of the songs she played on the Thomas Organ at Shea Stadium? I would love to purchase them>

  2. Larry Steimer says:

    Met fan from the beginning and I was a season ticket holder from 1970 to 1976 and enjoyed listening to Jane in the stadium and Diamond Club. Dodger fan before that and I had always hoped the Mets would have hired Gladys Goodding. Jim Thompson a Met VP told me that she wasn’t up to traveling to the Polo Grounds and was only working at the Garden. The first Knick game I went to in Nov 63 was Gladys Goodding’s last appearance. She had a heart attack the next day and died the following day. Jane was just as entertaining as Gladys. I wish the current ownership would bring the organ back. Not just the recorded music.

  3. Rest in Peace, Ms. Jarvis. You will always be the sound of the Mets.

  4. Larry Lutzak says:

    God rest your soul, Jane. Our whole family loved listening to you at Shea, especially when my brother and I went to Shea for Game 3 of the Mets’ – Orioles 1969 World Series. Your “Let’s Go Mets!” song was the best.

Leave a Reply