I'd think e-drums would be the best way to go here. If your living right in town in a close proximity to other residents... well we all know what happens. A lot of the roland kits have surprised me with how well they play, just like acoustic drums. I like the mesh heads a lot. Yamaha makes some as well that are used by a few well known session players. Thats my 2 cents anyway,
There are several options that you have. If you can get a Roland or Yamaha as mentioned, I would definitely recommend that as well. I just got a Roland and really enjoy it. It has a built in metronome and recorder. I am not going to sell you on the cymbals and high hat. But overall, it is a great unit to practice with. As far as a pad kit, Terry Bozzio said he used to work 6-8 hours a day on one.
If you don't have access to a kit in your apartment, you have two alternatives. One is to rent space. You can rent a daily two hour slot with or without a kit. Check local newspapers, The Voice and also look at Williamsburg in Brooklyn. There are a lot of musician rental units down there. The other option is to get a card for The Studio at 32th around the corner from Penn Station or Michiko in Times Square, I think it's 46th. They have a ten hour card. I haven't lived in NYC is several years so things might have changed. But often studios will have either a small drum set room. Michiko's is poorly lit. Or the studio may rent the rooms during the day at a reduced rate. The Studio does that. It used to be $7.00 an hour when I lived in NYC. Now it may be 10 or 12. But if you use it once or twice a week, it may run you $50-100.00 a month, cheaper than a daily rental and with a e kit or pad, it will help you make it happen. At least you can get on a set when you want. There's a dance studio down on like 28th. I used a room there once in the middle of July. It was a closet with a drum set. Be Careful.