In this situation, I would lean towards a revolver because of the magazine limit.
The big reason I would get a semi-automatic is because of capacity. In my opinion anyone can shoot a 38 special. Couple that with the potential ability to move up to .357 after practice.
The OP mentioned that firing a .45/higher recoil round was far more fun. Since this will be a plinking/range gun, we need think about the OP having fun and wanting to go back to the range above all else.
He can get the best of practice (38) and fun (357), while not worrying about NY capacity limitations.
I told the new me,
"Meet me at the bus station and hold a sign that reads: 'Today is the first day of the rest of your life.'"
But the old me met me with a sign that read: "Welcome back."
Who you are is not a function of where you are. -Off Minor