In 1975, a young corporate lawyer named Tom Bianchi started taking Polaroids of the life he witnessed in and around the Pines, the gay enclave in Fire Island. Forty years later, Bianchi is still taking pictures in the Pines, but he’s moved on to a more modern device, the iPhone—see his most recent images here. However, for a younger generation of photographers, the Polaroid retains its unique power. And so, on a recent Sunday, W digital visuals editor Aaron Kurlander trekked out to the very eastern end of Jacob Riis Park, New York’s most popular gay beach since at least the 1940s. “When you first arrive, it seems like a fairly typical crowd of families at the beach, however after a bit of walking, there was a figurative line in the sand and I knew I had reached my destination,” Kurlander said. What sets Riis apart from other New York gay beaches is its diversity. “As I walked through I heard at least five different kinds of languages,” Kurlander continued, encouraged by the warmth and body positivity on display. “Everyone was in a space where they felt they could be whoever they wanted to be and everyone was their best selves.” As he walked around the beach at the tail end of a summer filled with disturbing news for LGBT Americans, it was ultimately that pride of self and community that he chose to exalt in the portraits he took. Here, a look back at one last summer day at Jacob Riis.