Margot Adler

Margot Adler is a NPR correspondent based in NPR's New York Bureau. Her reports can be heard regularly on All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

In addition to covering New York City, Adler reports include in-depth features exploring the interface of politics and culture. Most recently she has been reporting on the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero. Other recent pieces have focused on the effect of budget cuts on education, flood relief efforts by the Pakistani community in the United States, the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and the battles over the September 11th memorial as well as the continuing human story in New York City in the years since the attacks. Her reporting has included topics such as the death penalty, affirmative action and the culture wars.

Adler did the first American radio interview with J.K. Rowling and has charted the Harry Potter phenomenon ever since. Her reporting ranges across issues including children and technology, the fad of the Percy Jackson books and the popularity of vampires. She occasionally reviews books, covers plays, art exhibitions and auctions, among other reports for NPR's Arts desk.

From 1999-2008, Adler was the host of NPR's Justice Talking, a weekly show exploring constitutional controversies in the nation's courts.

Adler joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979, after spending a year as an NPR freelance reporter covering New York City. In 1980, she documented the confrontation between radicals and the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1984, she reported and produced an acclaimed documentary on AIDS counselors in San Francisco. She covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988 and in Sarajevo in 1984. She has reported on homeless people living in the subways, on the state of the middle class and on the last remaining American hospital for treating leprosy, which was located in Louisiana.

From 1972 to 1990, Adler created and hosted live talk shows on WBAI-FM/New York City. One of those shows, Hour of the Wolf, hosted by Jim Freund, continues as a science fiction show to this day. She is the author of the book, Drawing Down the Moon, a study of contemporary nature religions, and a 1960's memoir, Heretic's Heart. She co-produced an award-winning radio drama, War Day, and is a lecturer and workshop leader. She is currently working on a book on why vampires have such traction in our culture.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, Adler went on to earn a Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York in 1970. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1982.

The granddaughter of Alfred Adler, the renowned Viennese psychiatrist, Adler was born in Little Rock, Ark., and grew up in New York City. She loves birding and science fiction.

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2:40am

Tue June 17, 2014
Arts & Life

Eccentric Heiress's Untouched Treasures Head For The Auction Block

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 9:16 am

Huguette Clark in 1930. She had a mansion in Connecticut that was never occupied, and her New York apartments were kept up, unoccupied, for more than 20 years.
AP

She had three apartments on New York's Fifth Avenue, all filled with treasures worth millions, not to mention a mansion in Connecticut and a house in California. But the enigmatic heiress Huguette Clark lived her last 20 years in a plainly decorated hospital room — even though she wasn't sick.

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2:30pm

Mon March 17, 2014
News

A Beer Backlash To LGBT Exclusion In St. Patrick's Parades

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:33 pm

Beer makers Guinness and Sam Adams withdrew sponsorship from New York and Boston's St. Patrick Day parades, respectively, over the exclusion of openly gay, lesbian and transgender participants.

2:12pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Environment

A Plan To Eliminate Wild Mute Swans Draws Vocal Opposition

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 9:02 am

The latest move to eradicate invasive species has put the mute swan in the cross hairs in New York.
Eduardo Munoz Reuters/Landov

A plan in New York state to eliminate all wild mute swans there by 2025 has drawn protests and petitions on all sides. While some see elegant white birds gliding across the water, others see a dangerous aggressor destroying the local ecosystem.

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3:12am

Fri January 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Small Museum Shows Off Weird Objects

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:29 am

In this encore report, we hear about a small museum in an elevator shaft in lower Manhattan. It's only six feet square, and only about three or four people can enter it at a time. The exhibits document the weird and wonderful of modern life, including prison contraband made from bread. (This piece originally aired on Jan. 2, 2014 on All Things Considered).

10:49am

Sun January 19, 2014
Law

New York's Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 10:57 am

New York is one of the only states in the Northeast without a medical marijuana program.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was opposed to medical marijuana, and attempts to create a law have failed to get through the state Senate for years.

Now Cuomo has reversed himself, proposing a medical marijuana research program run under exacting federal guidelines that would be the most restrictive in the country.

Strictly For Research

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4:18pm

Thu January 2, 2014
Art & Design

Tiny Museum Preserves Proof Of Creators' Crazy Stories

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:38 pm

Other exhibits on display at the Museum include "Silicon Body Part Piercing Displays," "Cambodian Menu Photo Rejects" and "New York City Tip Jars."
Naho Kubota for Mmuseumm

Imagine a museum that's only 6 square feet. It's called, simply, Museum and it's housed in an old elevator shaft in an alley near New York City's courts. It has some odd exhibits on 18 small shelves, and only about four people can fit into the space at a time.

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5:14am

Mon December 30, 2013
It's All Politics

Assessing Bloomberg's Legacy Is A Complex Task

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 9:16 am

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the opening of the New York Genome Center on Sept. 19 in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

At the end of this month, Michael Bloomberg ends his three terms as mayor of New York City. Assessing Bloomberg's legacy, a man who went from Republican to Independent, is not a simple thing to do. His 12 years in office were groundbreaking, locally and even globally.

But at the same time, many New Yorkers found him arrogant and insensitive to the poor. It's a vein that was tapped successfully by Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who described New York as a city of haves and have nots. But the changes implemented by Bloomberg will impact generations of New Yorkers to come.

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3:36pm

Mon December 2, 2013
NPR Story

Investigation Of New York Train Derailment Continues

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:12 pm

Transportation officials are investigating what caused a Metro-North Railroad passenger train to derail along the Hudson River in New York on Sunday morning. The crash left four dead and injured dozens more.

1:17am

Fri November 1, 2013
The Salt

Can Starbucks Do For Tea What It Has Done For Coffee?

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:59 am

A pot of tea sits at the newly opened Teavana tea bar in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Starbucks, which revolutionized the coffee industry, is now taking on tea. It has opened its first tea bar, and it's creating mixed tea beverages, some even more complex and customized than the coffee beverages we all know.

This first store, on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, has minimalist decor: gray soft seats, charcoals, chestnut browns. Teavana teas line one wall. Beakers filled with colored liquids greet you at the entrance.

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12:54pm

Fri October 25, 2013
Fine Art

Forget The Lottery; You Have Better Odds Of Winning This Picasso

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 5:55 pm

Pablo Picasso drew L'Homme au Gibus, or Man With Opera Hat, in 1914.
(c) Succession Picasso 2013

Imagine buying a genuine Pablo Picasso painting valued at $1 million — and paying only $135.

That's the prize if you win the "1 Picasso for 100 Euros" raffle Sotheby's is currently putting on. It's the first time a Picasso has been offered as a raffle prize, and while 100 euros (about $135) isn't cheap for a raffle ticket, at one in about 50,000, your chances of winning are a lot better than the megalotteries a lot of people enter.

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2:07pm

Wed October 23, 2013
Theater

Anthony Weiner (The Myth, Not The Man) Takes The Stage

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:43 pm

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner announces his resignation from Congress in the wake of a sexting scandal on June 16, 2011. His speech that day was incorporated into the play The Weiner Monologues.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The sexting scandal surrounding former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has been fodder for comedians, punsters and those who love double entendres. Now it's the source material for a play, The Weiner Monologues, coming to off-off-Broadway's Access Theatre Nov. 6 through Nov. 10.

'Found Texts' (You Finish The Joke)

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6:03am

Sat October 5, 2013
Reporter's Notebook

Does Capitalism Work? A True/False Quiz In Times Square

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:52 am

Steve Lambert's art installation asks people to vote in an effort to open up the discussion about capitalism. That word can be a red flag for many, Lambert says.
Jake Schlichting Times Square Arts

I'm walking through Times Square, the crossroads of the world. Just when I reach the line for cheap Broadway tickets, I see it: a giant billboard with the word "capitalism" in bright white lights and the words "works for me!" in cursive below. There's a podium and two buttons where you can vote whether the statement is "true" or "false."

Peggy Demitrack, a tourist from Cleveland, is adamant when she pushes the "true" button. She says capitalism works for anyone who strives and educates themselves.

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3:23am

Thu October 3, 2013
Business

Fashion Designer Mark Jacobs To Leave Louis Vuitton

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in other business news, Marc Jacobs is packing his bags. The fashion designer is leaving Louis Vuitton after 16 years. He is expected to focus on an eventual IPO for his own Marc Jacobs brand.

NPR's Margot Adler reports.

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: There was a sense of foreboding at Marc Jacob's spring fashion show in Paris. First, the music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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1:59am

Tue September 24, 2013
The Salt

This Elegant, Whimsical Pop-Up Dinner Party Had 4,000 Guests

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 9:15 am

At Diner en Blanc ("Dinner in White"), people arrive dressed all in white. They bring their own food and, fittingly,” white wine.
John Moore Getty Images

On a gorgeous night, some 4,000 people, dressed all in white, have come to dine in a public, yet secret place in New York's Bryant Park.

They have come for Diner en Blanc, an unusual pop-up event that takes place in 20 countries. The guests eat in splendor at a location they only learn about minutes before they arrive. The thousands wave white napkins to signal the beginning of the event.

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3:10pm

Tue September 17, 2013
U.S.

The Occupy Movement At 2: Many Voices, Many Messages

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:31 pm

Demonstrators congregate near the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Numerous rallies and events were planned to mark the second anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which targets income inequality and financial greed.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

By 10 a.m. Tuesday, several hundred people had already gathered in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to mark the second anniversary of the movement known as Occupy Wall Street.

With many people coming and going, heading for actions like a McDonald's protest or a march on Washington Square Park, it was difficult to assess actual numbers. Much like Occupy itself, groups changed and reformed all morning.

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2:31am

Sat July 6, 2013
Health

Growing The Latest In 16th-Century Medicine

Originally published on Sat July 6, 2013 4:37 pm

The opium poppy is the most common source of opium and morphine.
New York Botanical Garden

The Renaissance Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, a re-creation of a 16th-century medicinal garden, is so lush and colorful, it takes only a stroll through to absorb its good medicine.

The garden, part of a summer exhibit called Wild Medicine: Healing Plants Around the World, is a small-scale model of the Italian Renaissance Garden in Padua, Italy, Europe's first botanical garden.

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3:00am

Wed June 26, 2013
History

Old Safe Reveals Historical Relics Of Women's Suffrage Group

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 9:13 am

Safe cracker Elaad Israeli works the dial on an old safe found by the National Council of Women of the United States.
Margot Adler NPR

Started in 1888 by suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony, the National Council of Women of the United States still exists today in a small office near the United Nations.

On the organization's 125th anniversary, it teamed up with the University of Rochester to open an old safe painted with the words "Woman Suffrage Party." No one knew what was in the safe or when it had last been opened.

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2:41pm

Tue May 21, 2013
Reporter's Notebook

Discovering A Family Member's Lost Time In Amsterdam

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 3:43 pm

Suzanne Hoogendijk, shown here in 2009, hid for two years with her mother in Amsterdam to escape the Nazis.
Margot Adler NPR

When I found out that one of my cousins — now 88 — had hidden from the Nazis in Amsterdam, just like Anne Frank, it was a revelation. It made me want to know more about my cousin's life and story.

"I like to analyze what happens and to put it in writing; that gives you neatness in your head, and that is what I'm after," says my cousin, retired Judge Suzanne Hoogendijk. She was 87 at the time, and was talking about why she loved being a judge. But delving into her personal past was another matter.

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6:02am

Mon May 20, 2013
Law

Court Case Winds Down In New York's Stop-And-Frisk Challenge

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 8:11 am

Protesters participate in a rally near the federal courthouse March 18 in New York. Lawyers for four men who say they were illegally stopped said many of the 5 million people stopped, questioned and sometimes frisked by police in the past decade were wrongly targeted because of their race.
Seth Wenig AP

Closing arguments are set to take place Monday in the federal class action trial involving New York City's stop-and-frisk policy. The trial has been going on for two months in Manhattan.

Plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York claim the New York Police Department, its supervisors and its union pressured police officers to stop, question and frisk hundreds of thousands of people each year, even establishing quotas. They argue that 88 percent of the stops involved blacks and Hispanics, mostly men, and were in fact a form of racial profiling.

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2:52pm

Sat May 4, 2013
Around the Nation

Times Square's Naked Cowboy Wrangles Some Co-Workers

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 8:21 am

The original Naked Cowboy, Robert Burck (second from right), shows off with new naked cowfolk, from left, Karen Munos, Titus Gandy, Alejandra Quinones and Patricia Burck in New York's Times Square.
Margot Adler NPR

In the bustle and craziness of New York's Times Square on a busy afternoon or night, you will see scores of costumed figures: Batman, Elmo, the Statue of Liberty.

But for more than a dozen years, arguably the most original of these is the Naked Cowboy. His fame has now spawned a franchise, with eight different cowboys and cowgirls.

Almost anytime you go to Times Square, you will see the original Naked Cowboy in a white cowboy hat, white boots and white underwear briefs, with the words "Naked Cowboy" written across his butt. That's all he's wearing.

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