I have some theories: first that lots of people start the trail on Georgia and never make it out of NC! So there's more reports of how hard NC is. Likewise, many people start southbound from Maine and don't make it past Vermont. So they talk about how hard NH and Maine are. There are just fewer hikers in NY.
Secondly: I suspect that a large number of hikers skip New York altogether. You can take a bus from New Jersey onto NYC and then take a train from Grand Central that lets you off 6 miles from the Connecticut border.
Why? Because the trail in New York is possessed by demons!
Demon #1: ROCKS- New York is completely covered in hard, pointy, tilted slippery rocks. They slow you down, hurt your feet, and try to make you fall.
Demon #3: UPS & DOWNS- look at an elevation map of New York and it looks flat. Not true. It merely means there is no chance for a breathtaking view. There are plenty of chances to go up, down, up, down. New York takes advantage of every one of those chances.
Demon #4: POOR WATER- Again, look at a guidebook and there are lots of references to bodies of water; lakes, ponds, rivers, streams. When planning your hike for the day, you may be tempted to plan breaks along these water sources for swimming and refilling water bottles. You will be disappointed. "Ponds" turn out to be 1 foot mud puddles covered with a scrim of algae and a cloud of mosquitoes. "Lakes" are the same. Rivers and streams are trickles in dried up beds with warning signs not to drink from them because of bacteria. It's depressing.
And the twin demons: HEAT and HUMIDITY. I was lucky enough to be in NY during a heat wave. When the temp was over. 100 degrees for days. It's great fun to be drenched all day when it isn't raining.
Luckily, for all the demons, NY has an equal number of angels.
Twice, we were picked up hitching by somebody going the opposite way who turned around solely to give a hiker a ride. Motel owners drove us back to the trail. And picked up pizza for us. On those really hot and humid days, there were multiple gallon containers of water at road crossings, left there by people just for hikers to drink.
More angels than I can count! As hard as the trail was in NY, I think it's the wonderful angelic people in New York I'll choose to remember.