NPR: 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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4:40am

Tue June 17, 2014
Arts & Life

Eccentric Heiress's Untouched Treasures Head For The Auction Block

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 11:16 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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4:20pm

Mon March 17, 2014
News

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.

11:56am

Sat January 25, 2014
Books News & Features

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

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 1:31 pm

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

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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5:12am

Fri January 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Small Museum Shows Off Weird Objects

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:29 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).

12:57pm

Sun January 19, 2014
Law

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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6:18pm

Thu January 2, 2014
Art & Design

Tiny Museum Preserves Proof Of Creators' Crazy Stories

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 7:38 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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7:42am

Mon December 30, 2013
It's All Politics

Assessing Bloomberg's Legacy Is A Complex Task

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:16 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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4:54pm

Mon December 2, 2013
NPR Story

Investigation Of New York Train Derailment Continues

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:12 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.

8:03am

Sat October 5, 2013
Reporter's Notebook

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

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 11:52 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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5:23am

Thu October 3, 2013
Business

Fashion Designer Mark Jacobs To Leave Louis Vuitton

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:53 pm

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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3:59am

Tue September 24, 2013
The Salt

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

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 11:15 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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5:34pm

Tue September 17, 2013
U.S.

The Occupy Movement At 2: Many Voices, Many Messages

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:31 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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4:26am

Sat July 6, 2013
Health

Growing The Latest In 16th-Century Medicine

Originally published on Sat July 6, 2013 6:37 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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4:51am

Wed June 26, 2013
History

Old Safe Reveals Historical Relics Of Women's Suffrage Group

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:13 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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5:23am

Tue June 11, 2013
Theater

Disruptive Broadway Audiences Master Stage Whisper

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:36 am

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?

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5:43pm

Tue May 21, 2013
Reporter's Notebook

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

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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8:02am

Mon May 20, 2013
Law

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

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 10:11 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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4:52pm

Sat May 4, 2013
Around the Nation

Times Square's Naked Cowboy Wrangles Some Co-Workers

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 10:21 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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5:38pm

Tue April 30, 2013
Reporter's Notebook

New York: A Concrete Jungle And 'City Of Trees,' Too

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:26 pm

Tulip
Courtesy of Benjamin Swett

You expect to find great trees in city parks and botanical gardens. But you might not expect to find ancient or unusual trees in the inner city or smack dab in the middle of a highway.

Benjamin Swett has a love of trees so deep that he's written pamphlets about them, created photo exhibits and now has a new book, New York City of Trees. His book has pictures and stories of some 60 trees in the city.

I took a walk with him to some of the great trees, often in unexpected places.

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1:45pm

Wed April 3, 2013
The Picture Show

You Can't Put A Headline On William Klein

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Gun 1, New York, 1955
William Klein 'William Klein ABC'/Abrams

Try to put him in a box and he'll find his way out. Still working at nearly 85 years old, William Klein has gone rogue in at least four different fields: abstract painting, photography, filmmaking and commercial copy writing.

Klein now lives in Paris but I caught up with him in New York City — the place where he was born, but no longer has much affinity for. He's just here to promote a new book, William Klein ABC.

When I ask him what he thinks about the city, he says:

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5:01pm

Thu March 21, 2013
Law

At 'Stop-And-Frisk' Trial, Cops Describe Quota-Driven NYPD

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 6:00 pm

Adhyl Polanco, an eight-year police veteran (shown with lawyer Jonathan Moore, right), testified that if certain quotas were not met, an officer could be denied days off and overtime, and be given a poor evaluation.
Margot Adler NPR

Police officers testifying at a federal trial challenging New York City's stop-and-frisk policy say they were ordered to increase their number of arrests, summons and 250s — the code for stop, question and frisk.

Some 5 million street stops of mostly black and Latino men have taken place in the city in the last decade.

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4:07pm

Sun March 10, 2013
Law

Once On Death Row, He Now Fights To Defeat The Death Penalty

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 7:35 pm

Kirk Bloodsworth was the first person in the U.S. to be exonerated by DNA evidence after receiving the death sentence. Convicted in 1985 of the rape and murder of a young girl, he was released in 1993.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Maryland is about to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.

A bill has passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House of Delegates easily with the governor's ardent support. The strongest advocate to end the death penalty in Maryland is Kirk Bloodsworth, who was convicted of murder in that state in 1985 and was the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death row then exonerated by DNA evidence.

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6:24am

Sat February 9, 2013
Around the Nation

NYC Labor Chorus Tries To Hit Right Note, Attract New Voices

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:15 pm

The New York City Labor Chorus performs in 2011 at the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Old Havana.
Courtesy of NYCLC

Union membership is at its lowest point since the 1930s. New figures show a drop, and only about 11 percent of workers belong to unions today.

But these numbers don't deter the New York City Labor Chorus, which has been singing in praise of unions for more than 20 years.

Jana Ballard, the choral director of the labor chorus, is one of the youngest in the group. She's 38. The average age of the 80 members is about 65.

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3:29am

Fri February 8, 2013
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Federal Aid For Religious Institutions In Murky Waters After Sandy

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 8:57 pm

Torahs are draped on chairs and tables at Temple Israel of Long Beach, N.Y. The synagogue was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, but hasn't received federal aid.
Temple Israel

More than 200 houses of worship damaged in Superstorm Sandy have applied for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But given the separation of church and state, it's unclear whether federal funds are available to them.

The sanctuary of Temple Israel of Long Beach, N.Y., was flooded with more than 10 feet of saltwater in some places, says Rabbi David Bauman.

"Roughly 5 to 7 feet [of water] in most, and there were surges — particularly in our mechanical room — that went upwards of 12 to 14 feet," he says.

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5:12pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

In Lower Manhattan, Sandy Still Keeping Businesses Dark

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

People walk past a closed business affected by Hurricane Sandy in the heavily damaged South Street Seaport in New York City in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.

Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.

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3:51pm

Mon December 24, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

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

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

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

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.

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5:06pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Free Toy Shop Brings Cheer To Sandy's Displaced Families

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

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

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.

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3:25am

Thu December 13, 2012
Arts & Life

Letters From 'Peanuts' Creator Reveal Bittersweet Romance

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

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

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.

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6:29pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Post-Sandy, Newly Unemployed Struggle To Stay Afloat

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 7:19 pm

Erin Kulick can see the animal clinic where she once worked from her balcony in Queens, N.Y. Six weeks after Hurricane Sandy, the clinic is still closed.
Courtesy of Scott Kulick

Hurricane Sandy's effect on the nation's unemployment figures was less pronounced than expected. The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: Thousands of victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives and get back to work.

Danielle Siekierski was tending bar at a restaurant in Manhattan's Meatpacking District before Sandy hit. When the restaurant was damaged in the storm, the workers were told it might be a week before it reopened.

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2:28pm

Fri December 7, 2012
The Two-Way

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

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

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

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.

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