Peter, thanks for the mention. While I am still a big fan of soapstone, these days, I've started to make the shift into recommending steel plate. Soapstone is wonderful if your oven gets hot enough (525-550), but steel plate is conductive enough to do well at lower temps (as low as 475). The other advantage of steel plate is that it's readily available online.
Matt, how hot does your oven go?
In order to do justice to NY style, you really have to cut the baking time to less than 5 minutes. With your average oven, that translates into either a thick conductive stone or some type of oven trick. If you go the trick route, that's where an infrared thermometer is invaluable.
As far as the mixer goes... I would say that if you're planning on doing more than four 16" crusts at a time, get the Bosch, otherwise, knead the dough by hand. I have a Kitchenaid that I've tried every trick in the book with and now it just collects dust. I also have a huge Cuisinart that, by the time I put it together, it's taken me more time than the time I spend kneading. If you do a long ferment (a day or more), you really don't have knead that much.
Peter mentioned dough pans, but I think, for the beginner, it helps to have a dough pan that's clear on the bottom, so you can watch the bubbles form in the dough and gauge the level of fermentation better. It also helps to get something as wide as possible to minimize contact with the sides.