Back in 1948, the radio bandleader Harry Salter and his wife Roberta Semple Salter, daughter of the scandalous California evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, moved into a rental at 322 Central Park West. About 15 years later, when the building went co-op, they paid $9,100 for the space.
Roberta died this January at age 96; and her family sold the six-room, 1,850-square-foot apartment for $2.95 million, according to deeds filed in city records this month.
“She decided to buy it against all advice,” Roberta’s daughter Victoria told The Observer last week. “Brokers, lawyers, friends, everybody said, ‘Roberta, you’re crazy’–because the Upper West Side was going to hell in a hand basket!” It turned out to be a good investment.
Speaking of hellfire, Roberta (at age 15) briefly preached at her mother Aimee’s L.A. church when Ms. McPherson disappeared. A month later, the mother surfaced in Mexico, saying she’d been kidnapped.
Roberta ended up marrying outside the faith. “My father was Jewish, and my mother came from this highly charged fundamentalist background,” Victoria said. But the Central Park West apartment was peaceful. “It was almost Zen-like, an extremely calm apartment… You felt warm and fuzzy about it.”
On the other hand, Roberta handled the mail for her husband Harry’s famous radio show, Name That Tune. “She hired a staff of people and set up a mini-production line in our dining room to pile through this mail,” Victoria said. “I think at one point we were getting 50,000 pieces of mail a week.”
Nowadays, that space is “finely appointed,” according to the Corcoran listing.