As far as I can tell there are only three PADI dive schools in New York City. I think that Pan Aqua is the most convenient one for me. The joke is that everyone does their "open water" dive at Dutch Springs PA. (And if you find that "open water" is an ironic term for a dive in a quarry, well, join the club right there buddy.)
Hickory Run Boulder Field.
Word on the street is that Blue Ribbon has the best collard greens. We. Shall. See.
Joe Chapman says:
Scubapro Aladdin 2G Dive Computer (although I believe he means the wrist-band version).
Also the Oceanic Vortex V16 fins (make sure to get the kind with the spring heel.)
And the Scubapro mask: