Hot Town, Summer in the City

Bronx Riviera feeling dirty and gritty.
Hot Town, Summer in the City

For city residents feeling burnt and gritty, New York's mile-long Orchard Beach has long whispered of cool water. The manmade seashore—constructed in 1936—is nicknamed the "Bronx Riviera." Where Jewish folk musicians once played, today salsa cadences unspool near the water's edge. The beats are background music to a scene as textured as the borough itself. "Whenever I step onto the sandy landscape, I know that I am witnessing history being made," says Wayne Lawrence, a Brooklyn-based photographer who spent four years beachcombing for the perfect shots.

These eight intimate, arresting portraits reflect the spirit he found.Laura McClure

Start the photo essay here, or read the latest Mother Jones issue here.