From the disguised costume players of Times Square to the oyster conservationists testing the murky waters of the Gowanus Canal, New York is a collection of vibrant characters hiding in plain sight.

The pulse of the city is measured in the uncountable number of small communities that make a city of 8.5 million feel like a gathering of villages.

All are special in their own way. Most foster an environment of unity and kinship in their customs, traditions and exuberance. None are quite the same.