Just spent an hour in the very nearest and most home-like bit of Riverside Park riding around very slowly on my bike and clipping in and out of the new pedals. They are going to be much better, although I must confess that I spent some of that time wondering whether I should do the race next week in sneakers. But I think that really it is safer as well as faster/more comfortable with cleats/clipped in - I will just go very slowly and carefully on the intense parts (hills/turns related to highway ramp situation at start and end of the bike).
Meanwhile: the Doggy Duathlon! These dog-human teams do the full swim and run legs of the NYC tri - check out these great-looking competitors!