Here’s the problem with NY:
There aren’t enough visual clues given to the rider that “fool” them into thinking that they are moving around in a virtual world. What I mean is that the “virtual cyclist” needs moving landmarks in the near field (like the road cracks and grass at the road edge), the middle field (houses, slopes, things like the marina in Watopia), and the far field (hills, mountains, water, clouds down below like on Alpe du Zwift). Far field objects are important because they give the cyclist directional orientation, like N, S, E, and West, and clue us in to where we are on a larger map.
As a result, the Central Park loops all look more or less like the same 1/4 mile stretch of road because the rider can’t get a long enough continual fix on middle field and far field objects. If there were no leaves on the trees, and the rider could see further, it might be better, but I’m not sure about that.
The elevated road is kind of cool, but again, these visual rider clues are not really there since the road is transparent and since there really isn’t much of a middle field. In addition, the far field buildings aren’t really orienting enough as they kind of all look the same.
While Richmond isn’t that popular, the route works because the near and middle field visual clues are very good. The simple loop out and back map provides just enough directional orientation to act as the far field. Mountain routes work well for the same reason - they’re very good at fooling the rider’s brain into thinking that they are climbing a large mountain. The mountain itself acts as the far field, orienting the rider to direction (like N,S,E,W) all the time - i.e. they can visually see that they are not going around in a circle . Some London loops work well, though there are some areas that lack that far field visual.
You know how most people have a sense of general N,S,E,W direction even in unfamiliar places - based on clues in the far visual field (the sun, clouds, mountains, ocean, buildings) that lets them know general direction and distance from a starting point? That’s what’s missing in NY.