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

Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
3:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Pulling Together, Newtown Celebrates Holiday 'As Best We Can'

Mourners put decorations on a Christmas tree, part of a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Holiday greetings, toys and cards have flowed into the town, and some residents say the community feels closer-knit since the shooting.
Zhang Chuanshi Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:18 pm

The days leading up to Christmas are typically bustling in Newtown, Conn. But given the depth of grief in this community since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, preparations for the holiday began very late.

Local shopkeepers say Saturday was the first day many people came out for holiday shopping since the tragedy. Tamara Doherty, owner of the Wishing Well — a shop filled with local crafts, Christmas ornaments, pottery and potpourri — says her business is finally picking up.

Read more
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
5:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Free Toy Shop Brings Cheer To Sandy's Displaced Families

Each FEMA-registered family with kids can pick out toys at the volunteer-run Staten Island store.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

The New York borough of Staten Island was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Almost two months after the storm hit, many residents will not be back in their homes by the Christmas holiday.

One organization is trying to make the season a bit brighter for uprooted families with a free toy store on the island. This all-volunteer effort looks like a real toy store, but it feels more like a community of neighbors.

The shop boasts shelves filled with toys like model cars, Monopoly, dolls, craft supplies and books — almost everything you would want in a regular toy store.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:25 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Letters From 'Peanuts' Creator Reveal Bittersweet Romance

The collection's estimated price is $250,000 to $350,000.
Courtesy of the Claudius Family

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

On Friday, Sotheby's is putting up for auction 44 letters and 35 drawings from Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, to a young woman he was courting.

The letters were written during an eight-month period starting in 1970 when Schulz's first marriage was deteriorating and before he met his second wife. During this time, Schulz, 48, wrote Tracey Claudius, 25, poignant, funny, even innocent notes in pictures and words, often using Charlie Brown to stand in for himself.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Mystery On Fifth Avenue: A Constant Line Outside Abercrombie & Fitch

A model at the front entrance to the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:34 pm

Every day I walk down Fifth Avenue on my way to work. I pass glittering holiday store windows, the Salvation Army ringing its bells and the sparkling tree at Rockefeller Center.

But for months I've noticed a mystery: Only one store has huge lines outside before it opens: Abercrombie & Fitch.

Perhaps 90 people stand on line every day before opening, rain or shine. It's been going on for years and not just during this season.

Read more
Business
5:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

N.Y. Fast-Food Workers Strike For Better Wages

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:05 am

Fast-food workers staged protests Thursday at restaurants in New York. The workers said their low wages need to be raised. But with the economy still slow, restaurant managers are determined to hold down labor costs so they can offer dollar foods.

Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
4:53 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Thousands Of Trees Gone, Ripped Out By Sandy

Ken Chaya created a map that charts every single tree in New York's Central Park. He stands next to one of the thousands of trees uprooted by Sandy.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

New York City lost almost 10,000 trees from the winds of Superstorm Sandy and the nor'easter that followed. That's far more trees lost in the city than in any other storm for which tree damage was recorded.

Walking through Central Park, Ken Chaya peers past a stone arch, observing the damage and uprooting of about 800 trees. He knows more about the park's trees than just about anybody else; he created a map that charts every single one of the roughly 20,000 trees.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

In Sandy's Wake, New Yorkers Don't Sweat Small Stuff

People wait to charge cellphones and laptops Thursday at a generator set up in the West Village. Superstorm Sandy left large parts of New York City without power.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

NPR's Margot Adler is covering the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York.

I walked out of my apartment at 5 this morning in a part of Manhattan -– the Upper West Side — that never lost power. Still, I skirted around downed trees on my way to the subway. Across the street, a car was crushed by a tree. Almost no one was on the street.

Read more
U.S.
5:08 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Loud Debate Rages Over N.Y. Library's Quiet Stacks

The New York Public Library's Rose Reading Room sits atop seven floors of book stacks, all closed to the public. Under a controversial renovation plan, many of those books would be moved to New Jersey.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:18 am

Enter the glorious Rose Reading Room on the third floor of the New York Public Library on a weekday afternoon, and you'll find almost every chair filled.

Scholars and researchers still submit their book requests on slips of paper and wait for their numbers to appear on two large boards.

The stacks, filled with some 3 million volumes, are closed to the public, so books are retrieved from seven floors of shelving below. Still other volumes are stored off-site.

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:03 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

These Apps Are Going To The Birds, And People Who Watch Them

Cornell University's Andrew Farnsworth compiles data to forecast where birds are going and when they'll be there.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 8:26 am

I'm standing in the Manhattan office of Andrew Farnsworth, a research associate at Cornell University's ornithology lab. Farnsworth is using meteorological data, radar data, crowd-sourced eBird data and acoustic data from the flight calls of migrating birds to predict where birds are going and when they'll be there.

Read more
Religion
2:55 am
Wed April 11, 2012

To Some Hindus, Modern Yoga Has Lost Its Way

Bernice Acosta and other yoga enthusiasts practice in New York's Times Square at an event marking the 2011 summer solstice. Some Hindus say such events have little to do with yoga's spiritual roots.
Mario Tama Getty Images

About 20 million people in the United States practice some form of yoga, from the formal Iyengar and Ashtanga schools to the more irreverent "Yoga Butt."

But some Hindus say yoga is about far more than exercise and breathing techniques. They want recognition that it comes from a deeper philosophy — one, in their view, with Hindu roots.

Many forms of yoga go back centuries. Even in the U.S., the transcendentalists were doing yoga in the 1800s.

Read more

Pages