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Times Square protests, Twinkies: 5 of the week's most powerful photos 

July 19, 2013 at 4:50 PM ET

Video: Nicholas Thompson of NewYorker.com rounds up some of the most powerful and poignant images of the week, from a young cancer patient’s plea for pizza to an emotional woman protesting the George Zimmerman verdict.

From the scalding sands of Rockaway Beach in Queens, N.Y., to the Los Angeles hospital room of a 2-year-old pizza lover, these five photos – the first in TODAY's new Picture Perfect series – captured powerful moments and so much more.

1.Record-setting heat:

People flock to Rockaway Beach during a heat wave on July 17, 2013.
Andrew Burton / Getty Images
People flock to Rockaway Beach during a heat wave on July 17, 2013.

The blistering heat wave that sent temperatures across the country soaring understandably drove New Yorkers to Rockaway Beach Wednesday afternoon. The busy beach provided relief from the swelter. For others, it was a reminder of Superstorm Sandy and how, not so long ago, the coastline was destroyed.

2.The power of social media:

Two-year-old Hazel Hammersley with one of the pizza deliveries made thanks to Reddit users.
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Two-year-old Hazel Hammersley with one of the pizza deliveries made thanks to Reddit users.

Hazel Hammersley, a 2-year-old cancer patient at the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, was delighted to receive pizzas – courtesy of Reddit users. The generosity moved the staff at the hospital, and provided a wonderful example of the power of social media.

3. Protests to the Zimmerman verdict:

Trayvon Martin supporters rally in Times Square while blocking traffic in Manhattan on July 14, 2013.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
A rally in Times Square in Manhattan on July 14, 2013.

Protesters across the country rallied in support of Trayvon Martin after the George Zimmerman verdict Saturday night.

4. Jessica Alba Instagrams herself post-workout:

See? Jessica Alba's just like us! (Kind of.) The 32-year-old mom of two posted a photo after the gym on Instagram with the caption: “Aren’t u supposed to feel better after a #workout #motivated2work #day2." The makeup-less star's post earned nearly 50,000 likes (though we're still convinced she's not human.)

5.Twinkie's great comeback:

Twinkies are displayed on Monday, July 15, 2013 in Gilbert, Ariz.
Matt York / AP
Twinkies are displayed on Monday, July 15, 2013 in Gilbert, Ariz.

The Twinkie is back! The Hostess treat made a triumphant return Monday, with Al's help, and the country stocked up. A sweet moment on the TODAY plaza, the comeback also marked the return of the company from bankruptcy – a hopeful sign of the times.


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