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
4:30 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:33 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
4:00 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 11:02 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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Law
12:57 pm
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

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It's All Politics
7:42 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 11:16 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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All Tech Considered
5:27 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 8:07 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.

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The Salt
3:17 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 11:59 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.

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Reporter's Notebook
8:03 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 11:52 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.

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The Salt
3:59 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 11:15 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.

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U.S.
5:34 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 6:31 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.

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Health
4:31 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 6:37 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.

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