The Real Deal New York

Drama-free zone

Soap vet Erika Slezak bids farewell to her Upper West Side sanctuary
By Zachary Kussin | January 08, 2014 01:10PM

During the 40-plus years that six-time Daytime Emmy award-winning actress Erika Slezak has portrayed Victoria Lord on “One Life to Live,” her character has weathered many challenges in the soap opera’s dramatic plot: multiple personality disorder, widowhood, breast cancer, rape and lots more. So it’s no surprise that her co-op pied-à-terre at the Musician’s Building on West 67th Street—which she and actor hubby Brian Davies recently listed for $1.83 million—offers cozy surroundings to take her mind off all the stress on the set.

“It’s a wonderful job and a lot of fun,” she said of the former ABC series, which is currently on hiatus after an online revival and a summer stint on Oprah Winfrey’s network. But at the end of the day she was exhausted—especially when her character grappled with multiple personality disorder—and her comfortable, quiet home was a welcome respite from the drama. “It was a nice place to go home, have dinner, hang out and go to sleep,” she said.

The bright, homey surroundings add to the sense of tranquility. Neatly arranged Italian artwork hangs on the white walls underneath built-in gold lights. Throughout the rest of the living space, antique lamps sit atop simple, elegant wooden tables. The white walls also allow the colorful window treatments and rugs to stand out. All the furnishings were picked specifically for the space, which, combined with the family photos that adorn the built-in bookshelves and the warm look of the wood-burning fireplace, give the apartment a very personal touch.

“It was incredibly peaceful and comfortable,” she said of the spread, which she and Davies bought in March 2002. She declined to reveal the price paid for the apartment, and the amount of their purchase does not appear in city records.

The couple invested $250,000 into making the space their own, Slezak said. The previous owners had begun a renovation on the two bedrooms and two bathrooms, but hadn’t gotten too far. Slezak and Davies finished the kitchen (incorporating touches like extra cupboard space and a wine cooler), put together the remaining parts of the fireplace, added the bookcases and put a closet in the second bedroom, to name some tasks. By that fall, the apartment was ready.

“We could do anything we wanted,” Slezak said of the process.

Overall, the home has nearly 10-foot ceilings, frontage on 67th Street and a windowed kitchen with a built-in breakfast bar. As for the building, it was built as a co-op for musicians nearly a century ago, and its apartments are sound-proof.

Slezak and Davies—whose primary home is in New Canaan, Conn.—stayed at the apartment four or five times each month. One of the reasons for buying it was its proximity to Slezak’s old studio at ABC—located directly behind the building.

“It was a gift from God!” Slezak said of the arrangement and the quick commute to work. But, later on, the studio moved several blocks west to West End Avenue. “And I complained: ‘I have to walk five blocks!’” she joked.

However, following the cancellation of the show by ABC in 2012, their trips to the city have become less frequent. They came to the apartment three times in the last year, Slezak said. In the online iteration of “One Life to Live,” which ran for roughly one month before Oprah’s network picked it up for the summer, her show taped at a studio in Stamford, Conn.—just eight miles from her New Canaan home. (Slezak and Davies moved to Connecticut in 2006, after 25 years living and raising their two children in Plandome, N.Y. They also own property in Vermont—a renovated farmhouse on 200 acres near Okemo Mountain Resort—which they’re also thinking of selling.)

“It just doesn’t make sense to keep it if you don’t use it,” she said of their city home, which is listed with Corcoran Group’s Wendy Sarasohn and daughter Jamie Joseph. “If we ever need an apartment in New York again, we’ll buy another one, but for now this is the right decision for us.”

Still, it’s bittersweet. Slezak and Davies share good memories of the 67th Street home. They lived there full-time for five months while renovating their New Canaan home. Together, they went to the theater, walked their dogs over to Lincoln Center and enjoyed the nearby offering of stores and restaurants.

“We loved it there, we were happy,” she said. “My husband in particular: He would say ‘Oh, I just love it here!’”