I tend to hike by myself and meet up with people along the way, but no commitment. I can't keep up with most of the people I hike with because of a disability that requires that I stop more than most people want. We usually share rides/shuttles, but separate on the trail, meeting at a camp area or at the trail end.
That policy could work out with you if you only do the 10 miles per day that I usually do. But we wouldn't have to stay together the whole time and could play it by ear.
The northern end of "The Long Path" is just outside of Albany, but from what I understand, isn't maintained anywhere near as well as the southern part. This is why my Albany friends aren't interested in hiking it, too much of a bushwhack.
There are some nice trails in the Albany area, I don't have the details at this point. Of course the Catskills and Adirondacks are the most popular and for good reason, but there are nice trails that are closer.
There are too many trails that I want to explore and not enough time off from work:-)