The New York Times has a fascinating feature called 'One in 8 million' which is an oral history project in which a different individual among New York City's 8 million residents is profiled each week of 2009. The criteria chosen by the NYT to profile subjects is "Interesting person. Great talker. Never before mentioned in the NYT."
Its a fascinating series with a mixture of human interest stories with great photo reportage.
You can check out all the featured New Yorkers here and if you want to know some more background regarding the whole concept take a look here.