Hot Town, Summer in the City

Bronx Riviera feeling dirty and gritty.


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

Jimz, Orchard Beach, 2008.
Long stigmatized as a “ghetto” beach, the manmade “Bronx Riviera” holds a history as rich and complex as the borough itself.
 

Jae, Lindy, and Jaelin, Orchard Beach, 2008.
Since New York City parks commissioner Robert Moses opened it in 1936, Orchard Beach has been a popular destination for Bronx residents trying to beat the heat.
 

Eddie and Tiffany, Orchard Beach, 2009.
Salsa bands have replaced Jewish folk musicians on the promenade, but photographer Wayne Lawrence says the lone beach in the Bronx remains a “workingman’s oasis.”
 

Kye, Kaiya, and Kamren, Orchard Beach, 2009.
The “Bronx Riviera” has soothed generations of families weary of summer grit.
 

Orchard Beach, 2007.
Photographer Wayne Lawrence spent four years trying to capture the spirit of Orchard Beach.
 

Wilvelyn, Orchard Beach, 2009.
Photographer Wayne Lawrence on Orchard Beach: “Whenever I step onto the sandy landscape, I know that I am witnessing history being made.”
 

King Skibee, Orchard Beach, 2009.
Photographer Wayne Lawrence: “I am drawn to rituals of youth, love, and cultural pride.”
 

The YG Wave, Orchard Beach, 2008.
Photographer Wayne Lawrence: “Amid the activities on the beach, I walk in silence.”
 

See more photos from this project in Wayne Lawrence’s book, Orchard Beach: The Bronx Riviera.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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