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.



Mon October 3, 2011
Art & Design

At NYC's Chelsea Hotel, The End Of An Artistic Era?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:26 am

The view from Madonna's former room at the Chelsea Hotel, where she lived after coming to New York in the early 1980s.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The fabled Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan was home to Mark Twain, Virgil Thomson and Brendan Behan. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, there. Jack Kerouac worked on On the Road. Bob Dylan wrote "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." Artists Larry Rivers and Mark Rothko, and scores of painters and photographers also spent creative time there. But now the future of the hotel is up in the air.

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Thu September 22, 2011
Around the Nation

Islamic Culture Center Opens Near Ground Zero

The first phase of the Islamic Cultural Center near the World Trade Center has opened. Detractors have called it the ground zero mosque. As part of the opening for the Park51 center, invited guests got to see a photo exhibit of children from more than 160 countries who live in New York City.


Wed September 21, 2011
Around the Nation

Repeal Day Marks The End Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

"Don't ask, don't tell" is no more. The policy barred openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people from serving in the military. Gay rights groups held Repeal Day celebrations across the country. One celebration took place in New York City at the historic Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement.


Fri September 9, 2011
Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001

New York City Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Sept. 11

Police officers watch travelers at the entrance of the Grand Central subway terminal in New York on Thursday. Security measures around the city were increased two days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

New York City was on high alert this week, even before Thursday night's announcement that there was a "credible but unconfirmed" terrorist threat to New York and Washington, D.C. Newspaper headlines screamed about a city on lockdown.

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Thu August 18, 2011
Around the Nation

First Responders Must Sit Out Sept. 11 Ceremony

The firefighters, police, medics and volunteers who rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks will not be invited to the tenth anniversary memorial ceremony in New York. This announcement has led to anger and frustration among many first responders. But the mayor's office says the new site at Memorial Plaza is simply too small.


Fri July 22, 2011

On Life And Ideas: A Relative's Ashes Reclaimed

NPR's Margot Adler and her son, Alex Gliedman-Adler, at the cemetery at the Zentralfriedhof, where her famous grandfather was buried. Alfred Adler, the "Founder of Individual Psychology," died in 1937.
Margot Adler

My grandfather's ashes had been missing for 74 years. He was a famous Viennese psychoanalyst: Alfred Adler, the man best known for inventing the inferiority complex and for splitting with Freud in 1911 over issues of sex and power. In 1937, he died of a heart attack while lecturing in Aberdeen, Scotland. Growing up as Adler's only grandchild, I never heard anyone talk about the whereabouts of his remains.

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Thu July 7, 2011
Around the Nation

New York City Anticipates Gay Wedding Boom

Seamstresses sew wedding dresses at Kleinfeld Bridal, one of the world's largest bridal emporiums. Brides that call because of the new law probably won't have an appointment for another month.
Margot Adler NPR

Same-sex marriage is coming to New York on July 24, and New York City is gearing up to be the premier gay marriage destination.

Still, no one really knows what the economic impact of same-sex marriage in New York will be. One report by the Independent Democratic Conference of the New York State Senate estimates about 66,000 gay couples will marry in the next three years, bringing in $391 million in revenue.

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Thu July 7, 2011

Mapping (Almost) Every Tree In Central Park

Edward Barnard (left) and Ken Chaya look at their map of Central Park as they stand in its North Woods.
Margot Adler

There are more than 20,000 trees in New York City's Central Park and an author and birdwatcher have mapped almost every one of them.

Edward Barnard and Ken Chaya's map, "Central Park Entire," took them two and a half years to finish. Chaya walked thousands of miles in the park, mapping every tree and dirt trail.

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Thu June 23, 2011

Pottermore Brings Harry Potter To The Digital World

Starting this fall, for the first time, the Harry Potter novels will be available as e-books.

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Mon June 20, 2011

Affordable Manhattan: Co-Ops Keep The Dream Alive

Eleanor Roosevelt and President John F. Kennedy at the opening of an International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union co-op in 1962.
Courtesy of Penn South Archives

Manhattan real estate goes for crazy prices: Condos and co-ops can cost millions. But the city also has a long history of affordable housing in the form of limited equity co-ops.

Today, many of these resident-owned buildings have become privatized by businesses that raise prices to open market rates. But a few of these co-ops are fighting to preserve a very different vision of living in New York City.

A Different Vision Of Urbanism

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Mon June 13, 2011

'Book of Mormon' Draws Hopefuls Into Ticket Lottery

Originally published on Mon June 13, 2011 9:11 am

Trent Fucci and Nancy King fill out lottery tickets for The Book of Mormon in front of a Broadway theater. The play has been sold out since previews.
Margot Adler NPR

The Book of Mormon danced off with nine Tony awards Sunday night, including Best Musical.

But tickets to the show by the creators of the animated TV show South Park have been almost impossible to get since the show was in previews. Every afternoon, hundreds of people stand outside the theater to participate in the lottery. The prize: tickets — some in the first row — for $32 each.

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Wed May 18, 2011
Around the Nation

For Maids In Manhattan, Unseemly Sights On The Job

The Sofitel hotel in New York, where IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a hotel maid.
Jewel Samad Getty Images

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's recent arrest is prompting other hotel maids to share stories of fending off men who approached them.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested Saturday on charges of raping a housekeeper in a hotel near Times Square in Manhattan.

Other hotel housekeepers say they've also found themselves facing problematic situations that — while not necessarily outright sexual harassment — have left them feeling uncomfortable.

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Tue May 3, 2011
Around the Nation

Developer: Plans For N.Y. Mosque Moving Forward

It's been about a year since the controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque erupted with harsh rhetoric, demonstrations and a threat to burn a Quran.

Now, many of the names formerly associated with the proposed Islamic Cultural Center two blocks from Ground Zero are no longer involved.

And there's been a split between the owner of the building and original imam who was involved.

But the owner — real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal — is moving forward with his plans for a mosque.

How The Controversy Started

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Mon April 11, 2011

Craft That Led To First Man In Space Up For Auction

Fifty years ago, America was in the depths of the Cold War.

From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 to Yuri Gagarin's historic flight in 1961 that made him the first man to venture into space, the Soviet Union was winning the race, and the competition spurred the achievements of both nations.

Eighteen days before Gagarin's flight, the Vostok 3KA-2 rocket blasted into space and safely brought home a little dog named Zvezdochka and a mannequin in a spacesuit.

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