I'm not sure what they'd be in NY but in CA the e-bikes that Lithium Cycles are marketing are what would be considered mopeds (I should know, right!?!?)
They call them "electric bicycles" but per CA reg's they're not. I haven't found Lithium's "fine print" to read as of yet. I know there are reg's in NYC concerning electric bicycles but I don't know what the implications are for electric mopeds. (Sort of like banning a Tesla or a Prius)
I believe you are correct leeboh, there was recently a "crackdown" on businesses that use them. If I recall correctly they fall in some weird grey area where they need to be registered as motorcycles, but there is no registration available for them so they aren't road legal.