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.

Pages

Arts & Life
2:40 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Eccentric Heiress's Untouched Treasures Head For The Auction Block

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

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

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.

Read more
Architecture
2:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

New Yorkers Protest Long Shadows Cast By New Skyscrapers

The shadow of One57 looms large over Central Park in New York City.
Courtesy photo

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:28 am

Skyscrapers are a hallmark of large cities. Modern engineering makes it possible to erect something as tall as the Empire State Building on a very small footprint. Although developers love these buildings, in New York — the city of skyscrapers — residents have been upset at the shadows they cast over public spaces like Central Park.

Read more
Music News
1:25 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

On The Auction Block: The Stradivarius Of Guitars

A few of the D'Angelico guitars set to be auctioned, pictured here at the GTR showroom in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:54 am

Hundreds of acoustic guitars, some dating back to the 19th century, are coming up for auction in New York City. They include Martins, Gibsons, classical guitars from famous Spanish guitar makers, and some exquisite models from Greenwich Village luthier John D'Angelico.

Read more
News
2:09 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

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.

Environment
2:32 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

A Plan To Eliminate Wild Mute Swans Draws Vocal Opposition

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

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

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.

Read more
Books News & Features
9:45 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Before He Fell To Earth, 'The Little Prince' Was Born In N.Y.

A detail of a drawing from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Graham S. Haber Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:31 am

One of the world's most beloved books is The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. Published in 1943, almost two million copies are sold every year, in about 250 languages.

If asked where you think the book was written, you might say Paris. You'd be wrong. Try Long Island — as in Long Island, N.Y.

When the late Nikos Kefalidis bought the house on Beven Road in Northport, Long Island, in the late 1970s, he knew that 30 years before, Saint-Exupery had written and illustrated part of Le Petit Prince in that house.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:57 am
Fri January 24, 2014

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).

Law
10:57 am
Sun January 19, 2014

New York's Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution

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

Read more
It's All Politics
5:12 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Letter From Gracie Mansion: The New Mayor Meets His City

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio poses for pictures with visitors at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor, during an open house and photo opportunity with the public as part of the inauguration ceremonies on Sunday.
John Minchillo AP

I've always wondered what it would have been like to be at the White House in 1829 when President Andrew Jackson was inaugurated. He threw open the White House to the public and some 20,000 people stomped through, apparently causing a rowdy mob scene.

So I was intrigued with the fact that New York's new progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio, planned to open Gracie Mansion to the public this past Sunday. He kept calling the official mayoral residence, "The People's House." I decided to go.

Read more
Art & Design
4:02 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Tiny Museum Preserves Proof Of Creators' Crazy Stories

Silicon Body Part Piercing Displays," "Cambodian Menu Photo Rejects" and "New York City Tip Jars."" href="/post/tiny-museum-preserves-proof-creators-crazy-stories" class="noexit lightbox">
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

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

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.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:29 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Assessing Bloomberg's Legacy Is A Complex Task

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

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

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.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Now You Can Buy Your Occupy Wall Street Poster From Wal-Mart

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:44 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally this hour, an unlikely twist in the story of Occupy Wall Street. For the past several years, the movement has critiqued everything from the structure of banking to low wage pay. Well, now, you can own a part of Occupy. It's a large panoramic poster of protesters camped out in New York's Zuccotti Park. And as NPR's Margot Adler reports, you can only buy it online at Wal-Mart.

Read more
NPR Story
2:42 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

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.

Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

New York's Next Mayor Tries New Tactic To Get Feedback

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:21 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

New Yorkers have a new way to deliver messages to their newly elected mayor, Bill de Blasio. It's a tent, a huge, translucent one on Canal Street called The Talking Transition Tent. More than 11,000 people have wandered through it so far, and it's become a kind of 21st-century soapbox, as NPR's Margot Adler reports.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:37 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

New York City Raises Smoking Age From 18 To 21

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:54 pm

New York City raised the smoking age, officially, from 18 to 21 Tuesday, making it the first large U.S. city to do so.

All Tech Considered
2:46 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Cellphones As Radios: Immigrants Dial In To Native Stations

Boubacar Sanogo from Mali drives a cab in New York City and listens to ZenoRadio on his smartphone — though it can also be accessed using a more basic model.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:07 pm

A year and half ago, Baruch Herzfeld, an entrepreneur in New York City, had a novel idea: connect immigrants in the U.S. with radio stations in their home country using nothing more than a cheap cellphone.

The result is ZenoRadio.

ZenoRadio employee Atif Enin, who's from Egypt, points to a list of countries, each with a U.S. phone number.

"This is for a local Egyptian station; this is for Lebanese, Moroccan, then Syrian, Yemeni, Algerian, Iraqi and Somali," Enin says.

Read more
The Salt
1:17 am
Fri November 1, 2013

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

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

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

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.

Read more
Fine Art
12:54 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

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

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

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

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.

Read more
Theater
2:07 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

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

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

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

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)

Read more
Reporter's Notebook
6:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

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

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

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

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.

Read more
Business
3:23 am
Thu October 3, 2013

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)

Read more
The Salt
1:59 am
Tue September 24, 2013

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

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

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

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.

Read more
U.S.
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

The Occupy Movement At 2: Many Voices, Many Messages

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

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

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.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Good Work Comes Out Of The Sept. 11 Tragedies

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Over the last several years, a group of family members have created a movement to turn the anniversary into a national day of service. This year more than 30 million people will be involved, and they claim it's the largest day of service in the country.

History
2:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

'Renaissance Garden' Highlights Medicinal Plants

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 3:48 pm

This summer, the New York Botanical Garden is featuring an exhibit called Wild Medicine: Healing Plants around the World. The most beautiful and interesting part is a small scale recreation of the 16th century Italian Renaissance Garden at Padua, the site of one of the earliest and most important medical schools. (This piece originally aired on Weekend Edition on July 6, 2013.)

Around the Nation
3:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Young People Push Back Against Gender Categories

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 6:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Americans are becoming more accepting of gays and lesbians and, in some cases, transgendered people. At the same time, a new generation of young people is challenging our understanding of gender.

They're calling for more fluid categories beyond just male and female, as NPR's Margot Adler explains.

Read more
Health
2:31 am
Sat July 6, 2013

Growing The Latest In 16th-Century Medicine

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

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

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.

Read more
History
1:30 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Old Safe Reveals Historical Relics Of Women's Suffrage Group

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

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

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.

Read more
Theater
3:36 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Disruptive Broadway Audiences Master Stage Whisper

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

There have been several incidents, even fights, during recent New York theater performances. An argument over a woman nosily unwrapping her Twizzlers, a man throwing a Web-browsing woman's cell phone across the theater. What is going on? Are audiences less well mannered today?

We sent NPR's Margot Adler to find out.

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: I'm standing around the TKTS line on Broadway, where tourists and New Yorkers line up for lower priced tickets. Are audiences increasingly boorish?

Read more
Reporter's Notebook
2:41 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Discovering A Family Member's Lost Time In Amsterdam

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

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

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.

Read more

Pages