The crust: butter a 9-inch springform pan; choose one that has sides that are 2 ¾ inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have leftover cheesecake batter); wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of foil.
In a bowl, stir the crumbs, sugar, and salt together; pour the melted butter over the mixture; stir until all dry ingredients are uniformly moist.
Turn the ingredients into the prepared pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides (doesn’t have to be perfect).
Put pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven (the crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months).
Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350° and place the springform pan on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes; set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
Decrease oven temperature to 325°.
The cheesecake: put a kettle of water on to boil.
Working with a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 4 minutes.
With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt; continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light.
Beat in the vanilla; add the eggs one by one, beating a full minute after each addition.
Decrease mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
Put the foil-wrapped pan in a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.
Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the pan.
The batter will reach the rim of the pan.
Carefully put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top should be browned (and maybe cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan.
Turn the oven off and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.
Let cheesecake luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful.
Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours—overnight is better.
To serve—remove the sides of the springform pan (run a blunt knife around the sides of the cake) and set the cake on a serving platter.