Public Health Study Finds 15 Percent of Cigarettes Sold in NYC Have Illegal Tax Stamps

Licensed tobacco retailers throughout New York City are selling a substantial number of cigarette packs carrying either counterfeit or out-of-state tax stamps, finds an investigation by NYU public health researchers.

These illegal cigarette sales are more pervasive in independent stores, as opposed to chain stores, according to the study published in the BMJ journal Tobacco Control.

“Our research found that illegal cigarettes are regularly available over the counter in New York City,” said study author Diana Silver, associate professor of public health at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and College of Global Public Health. “Taxes on packs sold with counterfeit or out-of-state tax stamps are not being recouped by the city and the state.”

New York City has adopted several laws over the years aimed at reducing smoking. The city currently has the highest cigarette prices in the country, thanks to state and city taxes and minimum price laws. At the end of 2013, New York City established its minimum price for cigarettes at $10.50 – $1.67 higher than the rest of New York State – and added new provisions for enforcing cigarette laws.

In New York City, stamping agents pay cigarette taxes to the government in advance; they purchase and affix tax stamps to packs for wholesalers, who in turn sell the stamped packs to the more than 9,700 licensed retailers.

“Consumers may be unaware they are purchasing illegal cigarettes, since, at least in our study, clerks sold our investigators these cigarettes at full price,” noted Silver.

Prior studies have collected littered cigarette packs and examined their stamps to try and understand the extent to which cigarette taxes are dodged, but evidence about tax evasion, especially in over-the-counter cigarette sales, is still scarce.

Silver and her colleagues studied the sales of illegal cigarette packs at licensed New York City retailers in the spring and fall of 2014, after the minimum price law was established. Investigators purchased 830 packs of cigarettes from chain and independent cigarette retailers in 92 retail-dense neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs. To determine the legality of the tax stamps, the New York City Sheriff’s office used a laser detection device to inspect the packs and find counterfeit and out-of-state stamps.

The researchers found that 15 percent, or 125 of the 830 packs, had either counterfeit or out-of-state stamps. More than 10 percent of all stamps were counterfeit, while 4.5 percent carried stamps from Virginia. Virginia does not have a minimum legal price for cigarettes and imposes a cigarette excise tax of 30 cents per pack – the second-lowest in the country.

“While cigarettes that have been smuggled into New York City from other places may also be sold directly to consumers, our study demonstrates that retailers are selling these cigarettes throughout the city,” said Silver.

A significantly higher percentage of illegal packs were purchased from independent retailers, compared with chain stores. In addition, the number of illegal packs – which were found in all five boroughs – grew over the period studied, increasing from the spring to the fall of 2014.

The vast majority of cigarette packs were sold at prices in compliance with the minimum price law, suggesting that the lower prices paid by the retailers were not passed on to customers.

“Our findings underscore the need for intensive monitoring, oversight, and support to help retailers comply with existing and new cigarette laws. The use of digital tax stamps, coordination of taxes across areas, and systematic monitoring of enforcement efforts could help to address the issues we uncovered,” said Silver.

In addition to Silver, study authors include Margaret Giorgio, Jin Bae, Geronimo Jimenez, and James Macinko. The Institute for Human Development and Social Change at NYU funded the study.

Photo credit: charnsitr/iStock

Steinhardt Study Uses 311 Complaints to Track When and Where Neighborhood Conflict Emerges

Each year, 311 – New York City’s main hub for government information and non-emergency services  – receives millions of requests and complaints, including New Yorkers’ gripes about their neighbors.

In a new study using 311 complaint data, researchers tracked when and where New Yorkers complain about their neighbors making noise, blocking driveways, or drinking in public. They found that these complaints – a defining aspect of urban life – are more likely to occur in areas sandwiched between two homogenous communities, where the boundaries between different ethnic and racial groups aren’t clearly defined.

“Neighborhood conflict arises not from mere separation or mixing of diverse populations, but as a result of these ‘fuzzy’ boundaries between homogenous neighborhoods,” said Joscha Legewie, an assistant professor of education and sociology at NYU Steinhardt. “These area may be particularly prone to conflict because they may threaten surrounding homogenous community life and foster ambiguities about group turf.”

Legewie presented his research – coauthored by Merlin Schaeffer of the WZB – Berlin Social Science Center and University of Cologne – this past Saturday at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Chicago.

“Previous research has focused on diversity as an explanation for neighborhood conflict. Our findings are much more specific, and move away from the idea that diversity has negative consequences,” Legewie said. “In fact, it’s not diversity in general that has this effect on neighborhood conflict; it’s only these particular areas between homogenous communities.”

To define neighborhood boundaries, the researchers adopted edge-detection algorithms used in science and engineering, including computer vision and image processing. For instance, engineers developing driverless cars rely on these algorithms to detect the boundaries of objects in order to navigate. They applied these edge-detection algorithms to census data on the makeup of New York City’s neighborhoods, which allowed them to identify boundaries between ethnically and racially homogeneous areas and determine how sharp the boundaries are.

Then, using data from 7.7 million time stamped and geocoded 311 service requests made between 2009 and 2013, the researchers tracked complaint calls to measure neighborhood conflict. Indicators of neighborhood conflict include complaints of a blocked driveway, drinking in public, illegal conversion of residential space (such as short-term renting of living space), and certain noise complaints, including loud music or parties. They did not include complaints targeted at businesses, such as noise from construction sites, bars, and helicopters.

“The 311 service requests give us a unique perspective on everyday forms of conflict, and indicate that tensions are not being resolved in a neighborly way, such as knocking on someone’s door,” Legewie continued.

The researchers found that conflict was most likely to occur in areas where the boundaries between different homogenous communities are not clear. Less conflict was found in areas without boundaries (those surrounded by neighborhoods of similar ethnic and racial composition) and areas where boundaries between homogenous communities are clearly defined. The number of complaints jumped 26 percent from areas without boundaries to those with “fuzzy” boundaries.

Aside from the research contributing to our understanding of intergroup relations, the findings also introduce edge detection algorithms as a tool for defining neighborhood boundaries, and illustrate how using data from 311 and other sources enables us to work with information on an entirely new scale.

“Scholars have recently become more and more enthusiastic about the potentials of ‘big data,’” Legewie said. “With millions of analyzed 311 calls, our research is an example of how sociologists can study socially relevant, real-life actions of citizens using such data.”

This map illustrates how edge-detection algorithms were used to determine the intensity of boundaries between areas in Crown Heights South, Brooklyn, where white residents occupy an area of 24 city blocks, surrounded largely by African-American residents. The boundaries are well defined on the west side of the primarily white area, but the edges are “fuzzy” on the northeast side, where boundaries between the white and African-American communities are not well defined.

NYU Steinhardt Forms Partnership with 2U, Inc. to Offer Online Degree Programs

NYU Steinhardt has formed a partnership with 2U, Inc., to launch three online graduate degree programs.  The first programs – expected to begin in 2016 and early 2017, pending approval by the appropriate university and accrediting bodies – include graduate programs in speech pathology, counseling and guidance, and an advanced clinical doctoral degree in occupational therapy.

The partnership represents the Steinhardt School’s first online degree programs (other NYU schools offer online programs). NYU Steinhardt expects to announce additional technology-based programs in teacher education and other disciplines. The School will also lead a university-wide effort using data from these courses and others to conduct research on effective online learning.

“This is an exciting partnership for us. NYU’s Steinhardt School was the first school of pedagogy in the U.S. For the past 125 years, questions of how to teach, how to learn, and how to deliver education have been central to our thinking,” said Dominic Brewer, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of NYU Steinhardt.  “For most of that time, learning was face-to-face. With technology providing so many new ways to connect students and educators, another question arises – how to draw on our expertise to employ new technologies while preserving the qualities we most value in the classroom.  Our agreement with 2U allows us to achieve that by leaving all the academic decision-making – curriculum and course content, admissions, and student assessment – in the hands of our faculty.”

NYU Steinhardt’s academic programs are ranked among the nation’s best and are focused on researching and serving the pressing needs of children, families, and communities in a world of dynamic change, particularly in urban areas. The Steinhardt School spans a wide range of disciplines: education, health, media, and the performing and visual arts.

“We see this partnership – which has had and will continue to have departmental and faculty involvement  – as a model for embracing digital learning,” Brewer said.

“We look forward to developing a wide range of programs with NYU that deliver meaningful outcomes for students while expanding access to educational experiences far beyond the local reach of the university campus,” said Chip Paucek, CEO and co-founder of 2U, Inc.

2U will provide its cloud-based software-as-a-service technology to NYU Steinhardt to provide qualified online students access to the same high-quality education as their on-campus counterparts without the financial burden and stress of relocating, while also encouraging students to learn and work in their local communities. Classes on 2U’s platform – which are small and typically capped at 15 students – use a combination of synchronous and independent online learning. Certain degree programs also include field placements in the students’ own communities and short-duration on-campus learning.

For more information about the first three programs expected to be offered by NYU and 2U, please visit


Public Health Study Examines How and Why States Adopt Drunk Driving Laws

How do states decide what laws to adopt to prevent alcohol-impaired driving and keep their roads safe?

A new study by public health researchers at the Steinhardt School finds that the severity of the problem within the state is not the most important predictor of whether states adopt new laws to restrict drunk driving – nor is the political makeup of the state government.  Instead, the two strongest predictors of states adopting their first drunk driving laws were having a large population of young people and a neighboring state with similar driving laws.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, suggest that state lawmakers look at factors both within their states as well their neighboring states when considering new driving laws.

“Although we did not find the overall traffic-related fatality rate to predict policy adoption, the size of the population ages 15 to 24 years – the group most at risk for death and injury from impaired driving – was associated with first time policy adoption, suggesting that states might be initially more receptive to regulation when it involves protecting younger populations,” said study author Diana Silver, associate professor of public health at NYU Steinhardt and NYU College of Global Public Health. “At the same time, going forward, the makeup of the state’s population did not predict whether states would adopt subsequent laws.”

Recent estimates suggest that as many as 20,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year in car accidents because of a failure to adopt the full range of approaches to enhance motor vehicle safety. While there is evidence that improving driving laws – which are regulated state by state – can improve health, little is know about why states have approached the regulation of driving laws in such different ways.

In the study, the researchers looked at seven state-wide laws on alcohol-impaired driving adopted between 1980 and 2010: a 0.08 limit on blood alcohol content; a ban on open alcohol containers; zero tolerance laws for drivers under the age of 21; and license suspension, minimum fines, mandatory community service, and minimum prison time for driving under the influence. The researchers analyzed each state’s adoption of the laws from 1980 to 2010 to identify predictors of first-time and subsequent law adoption.

They then compared the adoption of these laws to both internal and external state factors. Internal factors included the political environment, state resources, legislative history, population characteristics, unemployment rate, alcohol consumption per person, taxes, and traffic fatality rates. External factors measured were the neighboring states’ history of law adoption and changes in federal law.

The authors found that neighboring states’ adoption of laws was quite influential, as was the state’s own history of prior law adoption. Contrary to expectations, the political makeup of the state’s government was not predictive of greater regulation.

“Republican or Democratic governors, divided state legislatures – none of those factors predicted more regulation of drunk driving,” said Silver.

The researchers saw an increase in the number of all seven alcohol-impaired driving laws from 1980 to 2010, but the pattern of adoption for each state varied by law. The only two laws adopted by all states (zero tolerance laws and limiting blood alcohol content to less than 0.08) were actually prompted by federal action and incentives.

“Right now, states offer very different levels of protection from drunk drivers on the road,” noted Silver.

“Organizations seeking to stimulate state policy changes may need to craft strategies that engage external actors, such as neighboring states, in addition to mobilizing within-state constituencies,” said James Macinko, the study’s coauthor, who is currently at UCLA.

Image: © Danny Hook/iStock

David E. Kirkland Named Director of NYU’s Metro Center

The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center) at NYU has named David E. Kirkland its new director, effective July 1. Kirkland – a recognized leader in urban education and an associate professor of English education at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development – served as the Metro Center’s deputy director during the 2014-2015 school year.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have David Kirkland leading the Metro Center, given his expertise in teaching and learning in urban settings and his passion for ensuring equity and opportunity in education,” said Dominic Brewer, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the Steinhardt School.

As a researcher and scholar, Kirkland’s work is rooted in equity topics and explores the intersections between language, race, gender, and urban youth culture through the lens of literacy. He has spent the past decade analyzing the culture, language, and texts of groups of urban American youth. His other areas of expertise include urban teacher preparation and urban school improvement.

A prolific writer and presenter, Kirkland has published more than 70 articles, books, and book chapters and has delivered more than 100 presentations about what it takes to transform schools and give all students a quality education. His most recent book, A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Young Black Men (Teachers College Press, 2013), won the 2014 AESA Critics Choice Award and the 2014 NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English. Kirkland’s scholarship has been funded by the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, among other institutions.

Prior to earning his doctorate and law degrees, Kirkland worked as a classroom teacher and administrator in Michigan.

Speech Research Uses Motion Capture Technology to Shed Light on Speech Disorders in Children

Facial motion capture – the same technology used to develop realistic computer graphics in video games and movies – has been used to identify differences between children with childhood apraxia of speech and those with other types of speech disorders, finds a new Steinhardt study.

“In our study, we see evidence of a movement deficit in children with apraxia of speech, but more importantly, aspects of their speech movements look different from children with other speech disorders,” said study author Maria Grigos, associate professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at NYU Steinhardt. The study, coauthored by Aviva Moss and Ying Lu of NYU Steinhardt, is published in the August issue of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Childhood apraxia of speech is a complex speech impairment in which children have difficulty planning and making accurate movements to create speech sounds. Children with apraxia of speech often are delayed in developing speech, have atypical speech patterns, and make slow progress in speech therapy.

Movement tracking technology has emerged as a useful tool in studying motor speech disorders, including apraxia. Tiny reflective markers are placed on the face, and using the motion capture technology, researchers can quantify facial movements by measuring how the lips and jaw move. Beyond simply listening to speech sounds, measuring motor deficits with facial movement tracking adds a layer of understanding to measuring speech sounds.

“This research enables us to look at the movement patterns used to produce a word in relation to the way that word is perceived. Including the perceptual component is key because as clinicians, we rely heavily on the judgments we make when listening to children speak. One of our aims was to determine if we could identify differences in how the lips and jaw move even when speech is perceived to be accurate by the listener,” Grigos said.

Grigos and her colleagues sought to understand if by measuring facial movements, children with apraxia of speech can be distinguished from children with other types of speech impairment. The researchers examined the lip and jaw movement of 33 children, ages three to seven, during speech tasks. Three groups were studied: 11 children with childhood apraxia of speech, 11 children with other speech impairments, and 11 children without speech impairments.

The children were asked to repeat one, two, and three syllable words while the motion capture technology tracked jaw, lower lip, and upper lip movements. The researchers looked at metrics including the timing, speed, and variability of the movement, as well as how far the lips and jaw moved during speech. They only analyzed words that they perceived to be pronounced accurately.

Using the movement tracking technology, the researchers were able to pick up subtle differences that the ear couldn’t hear. The most notable finding was that children with childhood apraxia of speech produced lip and jaw movements that varied more than the other two groups of children.

“Variability can be viewed in two ways: it can indicate that there is flexibility to achieve the speech goal, or it might reflect a lack of control,” Grigos said. “We’re still trying to identify the source of such variability and whether speech movement variability would decrease over the course of intervention involving intense practice.’”

The researchers also found that the timing of the movement was longer in both speech impaired groups, meaning that the two groups took longer to produce words than typically developing children.

Interestingly, when the children were asked to repeat three syllable words, the most difficult of the speech tasks, the two groups with speech impairments handled the words differently in terms of movement duration and variability, with more deficits seen in the apraxia group.

“Children with apraxia don’t improve quickly with treatment. Our findings suggest that the motor deficits seen in children with apraxia may contribute to their slow progress in treatment and difficulty generalizing newly acquired speech skills to untrained tasks,” Grigos said.

The study provides evidence that movement variability – as measured by facial motion capture – distinguishes children with childhood apraxia of speech from children with other speech disorders, and children respond differently to linguistic challenges depending on their speech impairment.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R03DC009079).

Sweet Summer School: Chancellor Carmen Fariña Visits Middle School Students Studying Sugar

It tastes great, but is it good for you?

Students from the University Neighborhood Middle School (UNMS) are tackling this question in an elective summer program hosted by the Steinhardt School. The program, developed by teachers at UNMS and administered through a grant to UNMS and NYU’s Metro Center, helps students to explore their relationship to food through an interdisciplinary unit focused on sugar.

The three-week curriculum includes tasks to help students understand the role sugar plays in our lives and culture, and looks at sugar from historical, political, economic, social, and scientific perspectives.

Today, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña (Steinhardt ’65) stopped by NYU to see the summer program in action. Students were reading from Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science, and discussing it with their teachers.

When asked by Chancellor Fariña what they’ve learned this summer, students shared that sugar is in almost all foods, and it also has historical ties to war and slavery.

“Looking at what we eat is important,” Fariña told the students. “By the time you finish this whole investigation on sugar, try to figure out what are you going to do differently — I know at my dining room table, we don’t serve soda.”

The summer program also involved a trip to a supermarket for data collection how much sugar is actually in different foods, as well as lessons on the digestive system and the science of sugar.

“Our young learners will recognize that all the subjects work together in creating understanding and meaning, as they become informed consumers who can weigh the impact of their decisions on health, society, and the environment,” Laura Peynado, principal of UNMS, wrote in the description of the program.

Next summer’s program will focus on another controversial yet critical element found in nearly all of our food: salt.

Photos: Debra Weinstein

Media Scholar, Natasha Dow Schüll, Joins Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

Cultural anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll has joined Steinhardt’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication as an associate professor.

Schüll’s first book, Addiction By Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (Princeton University Press 2012), explored the relationship between technology, design, and addiction, drawing on research among compulsive gamblers and slot machine designers.

Alexis Madrigal, senior tech editor for The Atlantic, called  Addiction By Design “one of the foundational artifacts for understanding the digital age—a lever, perhaps, to pry ourselves from the grasp of the coercive loops that now surround us.”

The proliferation of digital self-tracking and self-modifying technologies is the subject of Schüll’s forthcoming book, Keeping Track: Personal Informatics, Self-Regulation, and the Data-Driven Life (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2016).

Schüll charts the rise of technological introspection, a practice embraced by the Quantified Self movement (“self-knowledge through numbers”) popularized by software developers and quantrepreneurs eager to capitalize on the trend.

Schüll received her BA, MA, and PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.


Steinhardt Researchers Awarded $1 Million to Study Educational Videos

The Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, has awarded the Steinhardt School more than $1 million to study educational videos that aim to help young children with vocabulary development.

Research shows that children’s vocabulary knowledge is directly related to their reading achievement and literacy skills. In fact, the size of a child’s vocabulary at the end of first grade is a significant predictor of high school literacy skills.

While some children begin school with sizable vocabularies, others have much more limited knowledge. Differences in vocabulary are particularly profound among children from different socioeconomic groups.

“These differences in vocabulary persist throughout schooling, are linked to later reading skills, and may contribute to the ever-widening achievement gap,” said Susan B. Neuman, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s principal investigator.

Educational videos may help low-income preschoolers learn new vocabulary, but researchers stress that media must be evaluated to ensure that programs actually foster literacy development in children. In a pilot study, Neuman and her colleagues analyzed popular educational DVDs for preschoolers that included both educational and entertaining content. They found that the prevalence of vocabulary teaching moments varied considerably across the DVDs, suggesting that educational videos could vary in their ability to teach vocabulary.

“Despite their potential, not all educational media are created equal,” Neuman said.

The three-year IES grant, which begins Sept. 1, 2015, will fund several studies exploring how preschoolers’ vocabulary development and language comprehension are influenced by educational videos. The studies will take place in preschools in low-income Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The researchers will use a variety of methods, including eye-tracking technology to examine children’s visual attention and viewing behaviors when exposed to educational videos. The studies will define the features of educational media that support vocabulary development and language comprehension, establish how these features influence children’s engagement with educational media, and determine the extent to which manipulating these features supports vocabulary development and comprehension skills.

“By identifying the factors associated with educational media and determining the influence of these factors on children’s vocabulary and learning outcomes, our research will serve as an important step for interventions aimed at closing the achievement gap,” said Neuman.

Peter Halpin, assistant professor of applied statistics at NYU Steinhardt, will serve as co-investigator, along with collaborators from West Texas A&M University.

Image: © Fuse/thinkstock

Peace Corps and NYU Partner on New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

The Peace Corps and New York University announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program that will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers. This partnership marks the largest Fellows program between the Peace Corps and a university, with seven NYU schools and centers, including the Steinhardt School, accepting returned volunteers into their graduate programs. All program Fellows will complete internships in underserved American communities while they complete their studies, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers.

“We are delighted to partner with New York University to support our returned volunteersas they pursue higher education and continue their commitment to service,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Communities are moved forward by the selflessness of volunteers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers have unique skills and experiences to offer their local communities.”

Fellows selected for the program will receive at least 50 percent of tuition in financial benefits at seven participating NYU graduate schools and centers with no application fee. In addition to Steinhardt, these schools and centers include the Center for Urban Science and Progress, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, College of Global Public Health, Wagner School of Public Service, School of Professional Studies, and Silver School of Social Work. All Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degrees at the Steinhardt School are eligible for the fellowship.

“As a university whose motto is ‘A Private University in the Public Service,’ we’re excited to partner with the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship and support returned volunteers in their continued leadership development and service on campus and throughout the city,” said Melody Barnes, vice provost for global student leadership initiatives at NYU.

Through their internships, Coverdell Fellows apply what they learn in the classroom to a professional setting. They not only gain valuable, hands-on experience that makes them more competitive in today’s job market, but they also further the Peace Corps mission. By sharing their global perspective with the communities they serve, Fellows help fulfill Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people.

“We are extremely excited about the NYU Fellows program and partnership with the Peace Corps. Providing an opportunity for talented Peace Corps alumni to continue their education through enrollment in NYU graduate programs will enable former volunteers to gain additional knowledge and skills that will be critical to them and have a major impact in the global community,” said Trudy Steinfeld, assistant vice president of student affairs and executive director of NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development.

Internships in underserved communities are an integral part of each Fellow’s degree. By sharing their Peace Corps experience and global perspective with the communities they serve here in the United States, returned volunteers are supporting the Peace Corps’ Third Goal commitment to strengthen Americans’ understanding of the world and its people. Professional placements at non-profits and government organizations also help students further develop their skills. Participating NYU Coverdell Fellows may complete internships at organizations such as University Settlement, ECPAT/USA and AIR Harlem.

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program began in 1985 at Columbia’s Teachers College, and now includes more than 90 university partners across the country, from the District of Columbia to Hawaii to Alaska. The program is specifically reserved for students who have already completed their Peace Corps service abroad. Since the inception of the program, more than 4,500 returned volunteers have participated and made a difference across the country. For more information, visit

The first class of approximately 17 to 20 NYU Coverdell Fellows will enroll beginning in the fall of 2016. To learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at NYU, contact