Orchard Beach is a public beach in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. The beach is part of Pelham Bay Park and is situated on the western end of Long Island Sound. Built in the 1930s by urban planner Robert Moses, the beach carries the stigma as being one of the worst in New York and is commonly known as Horseshit Beach or Chocha Beach. Although New York’s Bronx is considered one of the most diverse communities in America out of which many subcultures originated, such as Hip Hop and Salsa, it’s still viewed as a no man’s land by many of the city’s inhabitants. Perhaps it is a matter of simple geography that many refuse to venture to the northernmost of the city’s five boroughs or, quite possibly, it may be the Borough’s malevolent reputation lingering from its tumultuous past. Brooklyn-based artist Wayne Lawrence began shooting portraits of Orchard Beach’s summertime regulars in 2005 shortly after moving to New York, realizing that the stigma attached to this oasis was largely unjustified. »I felt compelled to engage with this community of working class families and colorful characters«, he said. The photographs in »Orchard Beach – The Bronx Riviera« celebrate the pride and dignity of the beach’s visitors, working-class people.
All images © Wayne Lawrence.