New York kept the pressure up, but Bill Hamid and his defense came up big when they needed to, ensuring the points would be shared.
The Red Bulls showed much of the attacking intent early on and nearly went in front when Fabian Espindola struck the crossbar with a header after Thierry Henry's excellent cross.
New York continued to press, and Espindola rattled the crossbar again 10 minutes after the restart, after freeing himself well and cannoning a left-footed effort from the top of the box that had Bill Hamid well beaten.
The home side pressed on relentlessly, and Hamid had to be alert to keep out Tim Cahill's back-post effort in spectacular fashion after Eric Alexander had gone close with a long-range effort.
Hamid had one more stop to make in a man-of-the-match performance, clawing a late corner off the line which looked inches from going in. New York exited the match still winless, with a loss and two draws in its opening three matches. D.C. moves to 1-1-1 in its return to Red Bull Arena after defeating New York in the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals last season.