That's kind of a cynical take - Chicago station is also used by many corridor services. Also Washington's lounge is mostly NEC and nothing special (and is actually quite neglected.) They benefitted from New York State's project - why not try to make this lounge really nice? A lounge is a lounge and all are open to all Amtrak first class and select plus passengers - I can get points to get select plus status no matter what kind of train I take and can use any of the lounges. Not really seeing where long distance passengers are discriminated against. New York is simply the newest lounge and they basically got to lay it out from scratch - no surprise that it's the fanciest.In fairness, they are not the target demographic. They are incidental beneficiaries of improvements primarily aimed at NEC, particularly Acela, passengers.
If they brought services in Chicago's Metropolitan Lounge to the same standards, then I would say that long distance travelers were the intended target group.