Co-op on market, with ties to Cronkite

By Candace Taylor | August 06, 2010 02:30PM

Joanna Simon, Walter Cronkite and the two-bedroom co-op at 870 United Nations Plaza

Joanna Simon, a vice president at Fox Residential Group, won’t have any trouble talking up her latest exclusive at 870 United Nations Plaza: it’s her 10th listing in the building, where she herself lives.

The two-bedroom co-op, unit 21B, was the home of tennis star Hamilton “Ham” Richardson and his wife, Midge, a past editor of Seventeen Magazine. It is on the market for $1.55 million, Simon told The Real Deal.

The late Hamilton Richardson won the 1958 U.S. National — now the U.S. Open — doubles title with Alex Olmedo. He was ranked among America’s top 10 players for 11 years and was a member of seven U.S. Davis Cup teams.

Simon, a celebrated opera singer and sister of singer Carly Simon, became a real estate broker in the 1990s. Her first listing was unit 25A at 870 United Nations Plaza, the building where she lived with her husband, journalist Gerald Walker.

At the time, that apartment was owned by the Richardsons, who wanted to downsize. So Simon sold unit 25A to legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite and his wife Betsy, who were clients of her boss, Barbara Fox.

The rest is history: Simon and Cronkite got to know each other as neighbors at 870 United Nations Plaza, and became romantically involved after the deaths of their spouses. After Cronkite died in 2009, Simon sold the co-op again, this time for $2.5 million.

Ham Richardson died in 2006, Simon explained, and Midge remained in the apartment. Now, however, she wants to move to the East 70s. “She’s been in this neighborhood for a long time and she just wants a change,” Simon said.

As for why she’s has sold so many apartments in the building, Simon said: “I’m a friendly sort and either in the elevator or the lobby or the gym, I’ve struck up conversations with people and they’ve gotten to know me and I’ve gotten to know them. And when they have something that is for sale, they often call me.”

Have a tip? Write to Candace Taylor at ct@therealdeal.com