You should definitely look at this thread:http://allnurses.com/certified-nurse...ns-815553.html
I'm originally from upstate NY and I am an aspiring home birth/birth center midwife so I know this dilemma well. The CPM is unfortunately illegal in NY. I do know underground CPMs, but their life is understandably very stressful. I would not go that route if you plan to stay in NY. But, the CM is the ACNM's version of the CPM. It is a direct-entry degree/certification (meaning non-nursing) that is only recognized in three states (NY and I believe NJ and RI..) If you are certain that you'll want to stay in the NY (or in one of the other two) and that you really don't want to go through nursing school
and become a CNM (recognized in all states) than the CM is a good option for you.
You're right that CM programs are rare. There is also Philadelphia University - a distance CM program, which is highly esteemed but expensive. I ended up choosing the CNM route because I wasn't sure where I'd end up (I'm actually in MA now, so it was a good decision) and recently graduated from an accelerated BSN. I've just applied to Frontier Nursing U.'s midwifery program.
I was actually accepted into Downstate's midwifery program but chose not to attend because I really did not want to live in NYC again. Although I was applying to Downstate for the CNM, it is exactly the same program as the CM students, just without the nursing courses and with a few additional general healthcare courses. I spoke with several Downstate grads who raved about the program. I also met a Columbia U. CNM who was generally more impressed by the Downstate students. I had a wonderful interview experience. I really loved the CNM and WHCNP who met with me - I felt they really understood the medicalisation of birth issue and were very supportive of OOH birth. They said that you can do your final clinical placement just about anywhere you'd like. Home birth, birth center, hospital and even out of state and abroad placements were possible. I was very sad to turn down the offer. I feel its probably one of the best programs in the country (also one of the most affordable!). But, I'm just not a NYC person and wanted to establish roots elsewhere.
Again, if you're sure that you want to stay in NY, I highly recommend Downstate's CM program.
(Quick note - their admissions office is a MESS, and is not a reflection of their educational quality but be prepared to be frustrated.) I recommend the email on this page, not admissions for questions: College of Health Related Professions - Midwifery Education Program
Hope this helps!