RockawayBeach2014GuardIn NYC an all too familiar story features black-youth lawbreakers confronted by white cops.

Out on Rockaway Beach there’s a twist to the story. There you can find black guards, of the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, pleading with white beach goers to get out of the water after the life guards leave at 6PM.

In dangerous waters, where strong under-currents claim lives every year, children are allowed (even encouraged) by their parents to swim unprotected after hours. The guards do the best they can to get people out of the water, but are often ignored, even derided, by those they are trying to protect.

Photograph: Stephen Wise