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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News
3:02 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 5:33 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.

Code Switch
6:45 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Before The NBA Was Integrated, We Had The Black Fives

This 1943 publicity photo promoted the Washington, D.C., Bears basketball team.
Claude Johnson Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 12:22 pm

Most people have heard of the Negro Leagues in baseball and of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the late 1940s — but relatively few people have heard of the Black Fives, the African-American basketball teams that played up until the NBA was integrated in 1950.

An exhibit at the New-York Historical Society aims to rectify that.

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Environment
3:12 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 10:02 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.

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Books News & Features
10:36 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 12:31 pm

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.

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Around the Nation
4:12 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Small Museum Shows Off Weird Objects

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 6:29 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
11:49 am
Sun January 19, 2014

New York's Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 11:57 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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It's All Politics
6:12 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.

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Art & Design
5:02 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 6:38 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.

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It's All Politics
6:22 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 10:16 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.

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NPR Story
3:42 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Investigation Of New York Train Derailment Continues

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:12 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.

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