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

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:

Andrew Burton / Today
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.

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:

Mario Tama / Today
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:

Matt York / Today
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.