If anyone cares: here is an update. Since after posting on various forums I couldn't get a straight answer on whether TWC flags the formerly "clear QAM" channels as "copy freely", in NYC, so at least I'd be able to offload all my shows from a TiVo for editing, I ended up getting the above linked to HQ Frequency Wirecutter antenna, placing it outside, on the wall between the our apartment and south facing, no Empire State Building line of sight deck, and plugged it into the exact same powered splitter that the TWC cable was plugged into.
It works. Quite well, actually. I get considerably more channels than I used to with TWC Clear QAM. And, the picture quality is better: the dirty secret is of course that cable companies compress the life out of everything and OTA channels, even with all the piggy backing sub-channels are quite good by comparison.
Only caveats: the amplified splitter actually greatly improved reception VS. a direct antenna to tuner connection. This was a surprise, because the Amazon listing and user reviews gave no indication that my splitter would even work with OTA -- it was clearly just meant for cable. And the EyeTV 500 actually has a lousy OTA receiver. I ended up swapping it with an EyeTV Hybrid USB stick that was sitting in my drawer. That along with my original version HD HomeRun are my receivers.
So I'd say anyone out there in my boat: try OTA, even if it didn't work for you in the past. Apparently antenna tech has improved considerable over the last few years.