Riviera Beach & Singer Island | On The Town in The Palm Beaches

– Hey, On-the-Towners, I’m Frank Licari And today our adventure takes us by land and by sea to an area of Palm Beach County known as the Gateway to the Caribbean I’m talking about the city of Riviera Beach and Singer Island, We’ll go under water to a spot that attracts divers from all over the world (splash) We’ll experience gallons of fun on pulse-pounding rides, and we’ll find our inner sensei at this local dojo (thud) Oh, wow! Okay Wow, I’m Frank Licari Join me as we go on the town in the Palm Beaches (upbeat music) – [Announcer] This program is brought to you by Discover the Palm Beaches Visit ThePalmBeaches.TV for more information ♪ When I see you walkin’ on the beach ♪ ♪ I feel like a child ♪ ♪ If I dared ♪ ♪ But I’m scared ♪ ♪ I’m way too shy ♪ – Hey On-the-Towners! Did you know that Bahamians were among the earliest inhabitants of what is now known as the city of Riviera Beach? What brought them here, you ask? Well back then, this city had a rich commercial fishing industry Let’s dive a little deeper into the history of this city by the sea – First people that we know of to have lived in what is now Riviera Beach were actually the Native Americans from this area By the time European Americans and African Americans were coming here, they had areas that had been built up The soil had been built up through mounds Heyser was a judge He actually worked up at the courthouse for what was then Dade County which was in Juno He married another local girl Her name was Mattie Spencer and they built a home that they kept adding rooms to Eventually they had a three-story -room hotel that they called Oak Lawn Judge Heyser had to move to Miami because the county seat moved from Juno back to Miami And he had to be available for court every day, as our only and first county judge And ended up selling the hotel to a series of proprietors, who didn’t do a very good job They had competition by then by the Flagler Hotels Oak Lawn had been changed to Riviera in , after a guest at the hotel sitting on the porch looked out over the Lake Worth and said, “This is the Riviera of America.” It was about People from the Bahamas had been coming over and squatting on what is now known as Singer Island The men were fishermen, they followed the fish But eventually Paris Singer wanted to develop that land Singer Island as we know of it today was attached to the island of Palm Beach before when they cut the inlet By the ‘s that’s when Riviera became Riviera Beach In the ‘s a group of Palm Beach women had discovered that the conch ladies had been collecting shells and creating beautiful arrangements Gave the women something to do, especially when their husbands were still following the fish – The city had a very rich fishing industry, and it was attracting people from all over the place, including the Caribbean, including former slaves, who had come down here and were with – A lot of Bahamians, right? – Lot of Bahamians Back in , Mayor Thomas Masters started learning about the city’s history He started meeting so many Bahamian people who live here So he decided in that he wanted to create a formal relationship with Grand Bahama So, we ended up in that year signing a sister city agreement between Riviera Beach and Freeport Over here is Riviera Beach, over here is Freeport, but in between was a hugely important connection that was historical, that’s cultural, and that makes sense in terms of our working together (playful violin music) – So you’re gonna love this story Back in the late ‘s, Columbus was sailing the Caribbean, and he saw what he thought were three mermaids And he was quoted as saying, “They’re not half as beautiful as they are painted.” (laughs) But get this, what he was really seeing was not mermaids, they were manatees But what he didn’t know was that that was gonna be the first written record of manatee sightings in North America, huh? – So I actually know that, because I’m a Manatee Master that works at Manatee Lagoon – Oh – But I can take you inside to talk to Brittany to learn more about it

– Yeah, great Sure. Sounds good – Manatee Lagoon is an eco-discovery center We’re located in Riviera Beach, Florida, along the beautiful Lake Worth lagoon waterfront So we have really awesome waterfront views here at our facility We have a lot of fun things for families to come out and do We have an interactive exhibit space that has a lot of different interactive touch screens that kids can learn different things about manatees and then we also have a lot of free programs for families to enjoy So we have everything from adult yoga along the waterfront, – Wait, what does adult yoga have to do with manatees? – Adult yoga, wellness, mindfulness – Oh, wellness Do they learn the manatee? – They don’t – Do you like that? Do we do that? – But it’s very relaxing, yeah – [Frank] This was developed for a purpose in the beginning, so tell me a little about, do we have the history of the manatee? You got that in your lexicon of knowledge? – Yeah, so Manatee Lagoon is owned and operated by Florida Power and Light And what we love to tell people here when people come visit our center is kind of the really unique relationship that manatees have with power plants – [Frank] With energy, yeah – [Brittany] Yes, exactly We have a power plant next door It’s FPL’s next generation clean energy center And that’s what expels the warm water into the outflow area and that’s what keeps manatees coming back to our facility year after year during the winter months – [Frank] Wow – [Brittany] Before this building was here, it was just an empty parking lot And people would come and see the manatees – [Frank] Just hang out, part the car and look at manatees – [Brittany] Exactly And when FPL decided to rebuild the power plant next door, come and modernize it, they decided to build this educational facility to not only allow for a safe viewing place for people to come, but also provide that educational aspect, and kind of teach people more about how to protect them – [Frank] If you’re still craving cute creatures, then head over to Sailfish Marina and cruise along the shore with the Palm Beach dolphin tours There, you can get up close and personal with wild dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life (playful music) Chandler, you are the Parks Services Specialist What does it entail? – I oversee some of our specialty programs So I oversee our volunteer program, our interpretive programs, that’s how we present information about the park to the public And that also includes overseeing our animal care program – What animals are we caring for? – Well we have a nature center here at MacArthur Beach, with six large saltwater aquariums to show the public some of the critters that live in our park that you maybe wouldn’t get to see because they live underwater One of the critters that we are well-known for is sea turtles – [Frank] Oh, nice – [Chandler] So MacArthur Beach State Park is one of the largest density nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles in the state of Florida We have a permit to keep turtle ambassadors These are young loggerhead sea turtles – They get to be an ambassador? – They get to be ambassadors and help us educate the public about sea turtles and conservation programs One of our turtle ambassadors that I helped raise for about two years got released to the ocean the other day – So you’re a mom! – Yeah! So we don’t keep them forever We let them get big and strong and then have to send them on their way so they can go be productive sea turtles and help populate their species – [Frank] Can I kayak? Can I do anything here? – [Chandler] We’ve got kayak rentals available through our gift shop Our nature center is open from nine to five every day We also have guided nature walks with our volunteers or staff every single morning at a.m And programs going on all throughout the year – Just a quick interview if you don’t mind I just wanted to let you know I really love what you’ve done with the place and had a great time here today So how often do you get out here? Just a couple words, just for the camera Just for the audience Love to talk to you just a little bit about how you enjoy the outdoors Anything? We can always get a quote from him later I guess All right, you have a good one (funky music) So only four weeks ago, I’m on the beach, right? On Singer Island Beautiful beach And I’m thinkin’ to myself, “If only there was a place “that I could get pizza and beer.” Here you are – [Alex] For us, beer is the liquid version of pizza – It is, that’s a good point – Pizza is the food version of beer So beer, pizza, and the beach – And you’re in charge of the beer? – Yes, I am – Now how does one so young become such an expert on beer? Did you do a lotta drinkin’ in college? Is that how? – I did Lots of drinking, lots of practice, lots of studying – Do you study like you do for wines? – [Tiffani] Exactly – How many beers would you say you have on tap there? – [Tiffani] We have – [Frank] beers? – [Tiffani] Yes – [Frank] Local? All over the place? – [Tiffani] We have a lot of local You know we like to support the local craft breweries But we also have beers from all over the world – [Frank] How many different pizza’s you got? – [Alex] We have nine different specialty pizza Or you can also build your own – [Frank] Now, not just beer and pizza though You come in here and it’s a beautiful location Really swank, right? Got a little bit of wood and steel, very earthy

– [Alex] Yeah, we have trivia at night We have karaoke night Live bands Friday, Saturday, and Sundays ? Roxanne ? ? You don’t have to put on the red light ? ? Those days are over ? ? You don’t have to sell your body to the night ? ? Roxanne ? – [Alex] Really proud of the environment that we offer It’s very family-friendly We want families to feel that if you wanna come to a place where you can enjoy a nice beer and also bring your kids over, just have them play around They can feel comfortable – [Tiffani] They can play bocce ball – [Frank] Right. I can go right to the beach, come back here for a little lunch, go back to the beach Maybe I’m a surfer – And not in that particular order – No, it doesn’t have to be, but that’s the way I would do it (bell ringing) (techno music) – Okay, so you’re an amateur champ, right? You’re out there and you go all right it’s going well Do you turn pro at some point? – [Asa] I turned pro actually in as well – [Frank] Right when you opened up the space That’s a smart move – I gathered between to amateur belts and so from then it was just enough time for me to take it to the next level – Do you see any students come in who are starting for the first time and all of a sudden they get the bug? Are they going on to do their own career at it? Or are you just tryin’ to more for recreational? – [Asa] Both, both I like when they come in from the ground floor and they can decide where they wanna go with it Self defense, amateur or professional fighting, or just overall general health – Question I have for you is are you in a good mood? – Yeah, see the smile, I’m feeling great about this – Good, good, so it’s been a good day so far – Been a good day – No pent up – No pent up, I already got that out on the bag – Got that out already, great ‘Cause you’re gonna teach me things, and I wanna make sure that everything is copasetic Let’s do this, let’s do this! – Let’s do it – Do we start like this? No, we don’t shake – No, we’re gonna start in the ring – Yeah, we push each other – Okay, okay (dramatic music) – [Frank] Obviously when you’re talkin’ about kickboxing, there’s two kind of skills, right? It’s not just the hands, there’s a lot involved – [Asa] There’s more dimensions to it – [Frank] You typically start with the legs, or do ya start with the hands? – Depending on what you got in front of you So you can either start with punching and ending with a kick, or you can start with kick and ending with punches – [Frank] Gotcha. And you, when do you train? – [Asa] When there’s no teaching going on, that’s when I’m doing my thing – [Frank] And you’re trainin’ in this gym? – [Asa] I train in this gym – [Frank] So in the same place you sweat, you bring the kids in and the adults, and they sweat right where you sweat – [Asa] Yep. We’re a family – [Frank] Right – [Asa] One more – Yep we’re good (thud) Oh yeah, wow that works (thumps) Likes like gangbusters, that thing You can’t feel a thing – Thank you, brother (guitar music) – The Riviera Beach Marina Village is your key to fun on and by the water Locals and tourists alike enjoy strolling along the marina’s waterfront walkways, and there are a ton of vendors to connect you to just about every water-related sport Paddle boarding, kayaking, diving, boat rides, and more You can even jump on a water taxi and head over to Peanut Island So right now it’s a cruiser – Right now we gotta run the same speed See everyone else, they’re just cruising ’cause of the manatees We run three shuttle boats We try to run, weekdays, we run every minutes Weekends every minutes We run from Riviera Beach Marina, real nice brand new marina they built there – [Frank] You bring families, you bring groups? – [Anthony] It’s very family orientated There’s no alcohol allowed on Peanut Island, so it’s very friendly You can come over here, you can barbecue food, you can bring whatever you want And it’s a real nice getaway In minutes you feel like you’re in the Bahamas – [Frank] Right, yeah, it really does feel like – [Anthony] It’s very quiet, very peaceful And the water is some of the clearest water you’ll see in Florida – [Frank] Absolutely (upbeat music) And behind us there’s some history as well – Back in , a peanut oil refinery wanted to put peanut oil, store it here on the island So when the ships came they could unload it Back then, the unnamed hurricane in ‘ knocked all the facilities down before they opened But then all the locals started calling it Peanut Island So that’s where the name started – [Frank] Also behind here, a little known bunker Tell me about that – JFK was the President If he was away from the White House for more than three weeks, they had to have a safe house to put him So, they built bunkers They built one here, and one in Nantucket The one here was built because his home was literally two miles from here They could drive across Palm Beach, get into a boat, come here, within minutes from door to door Which he came over and tested a few times – And presumably nobody knew that it was here – Yes, top secret at the time – Top secret While JFK’s bunker has been closed to the public since October , the Port of Palm Beach is working with the city of Riviera Beach to repair, rebuild, and reopen it in the near future (upbeat music)

– Port of Palm Beach is more than a hundred years old In fact, we celebrated our hundred year anniversary in In the ‘s it was the largest trading partner with Cuba in the world Today we are a tenant port, and we are predominantly an export port In fact, we’re one of only ports in the country that are an export port More than % of all the products that are consumed in the Caribbean are coming out of our port And that’s everything from food to supplies We’re sort of a hidden gem, ’cause I think people don’t realize all the impacts we actually have on people’s day to day lives When you start thinking about the fact that most of the sugar we consume, and asphalt, and if you ever go to the Bahamas, or Dominican Republic and have chicken and fries, that’s probably comin’ out of our port, too, from Canada (upbeat music) – The port that we sail out of is Port of West Palm Beach And, in fact, we’re the only cruise line that is sailing out from there – [Frank] What’s typical experience for me? I get on the boat at a certain time Are there any ship activities that we do? – [Prem] Absolutely, the sail away party right here at the open deck, welcome party while the ship pulls out and starts to set sail to Grand Bahamas Once that is over, they all sort of go to a different restaurant that we have And then we got about eight to nine bars on board – [Frank] Oh sure, that’s where things get crazy and loose, right? – Absolutely – You find your way there – Exactly, and then there’s a whole bunch of shore excursion activities that you can go to But also there are people who sort of take the trip from West Palm Beach, go to Grand Bahamas Island Once they’re there they stay for a couple of nights in the island They can take the trip back either with us, or our sister ship which is the Grand Celebration – Right because you have the Grand Classica and the Grand Celebration – Yes, daily there is a ship leaving – So you always have one crossing each other – Yeah – Do you honk at each other on the way like two guys – Ah, it’s too far away to honk I think I leave that other captain alone – Okay, okay (upbeat music) – When the city decided to remodel the whole marina, I decided to be a part of it And we decided to make the menu a really nice menu I hired a chef – A chef. You went the right way You got a guy in the kitchen who’s developed an eclectic menu What’s the food like here? – [Demetri] We have lots of Caribbean style food We have American food Really we cater for everyone – [Alex] Right now I’m going to do a strawberry mojito passion – Strawberry mojito – Passion – Passion, oh, with passion, gotcha – With passion – With passion – So everything I do here is with passion So when you put the mint, people like to do like this Smell? – Oh, I do, I do smell (clap) – Smell now – Oh wow, yeah! – That’s the perfume – That’s the passion – So you do a little bit of ice There’s gonna be a lotta mess, look at this (smack) – Yeah, yeah – [Demetri] More ice tea, we have more ice tea – [Alex] And some rum – [Frank] Some rum Where’s the rum? Oh, look at that, oh a little side arm Tricky Look at that Wow, look at that sugar in there – It is (shaking) – Wow. Whoa! – You saw? That’s the passion You see the glass there – That’s the passion? – That’s the passion – [Frank] And so people actually drink this without getting hurt and injured? – [Alex] Yeah, absolutely I always tell, don’t swallow the ice – You’ve got a great location You’re serving great food and it’s successful, right? It’s packed in here – Very successful The best view – [Frank] That’s what I’m saying You don’t get this view anywhere else What’s your hours of operation here? – [Demetri] to , sometimes we stay later because sometimes we do Latino night – Oh yeah, that’s gotta be fun – Latino like to stay later, so we stay ’til – Like to do a little dancing? – Yeah, little bit (calypso music) – Ah, here we go Treats, smoothies, good Ah, jerk! They knew I was comin’ Is the theme kinda Caribbean, is it Bahamian, is that what it is? – It’s Caribbean, Bahamian It’s islandy – Okay, islandy So all-encompassy – Right – Right? You’re on an island, you’re giving them more islandy stuff – [Peter] Right, music is that vibe too – Oh, you got the music going? – [Peter] Live music going, it’s meant to take you to another place To go in the afternoon and have some conch fritters, some great smoothies, maybe shop for a little islandy clothing, that sort of thing – About how many people do you get at this little fun thing every Sunday? – Hundreds – Hundreds? Yeah? – Yeah – And is it locals mostly, do you get any tourists that come in? How does that work? – [Peter] Some people come off the big ship and will come by Tourists going to Peanut Island stop by, get a snow cone, barbecued chicken, something, yeah – What about rain or shine? What if it rains, what do ya do? – Well it’s rain or shine We might have less vendors if it’s too wet But, no, we’re here – [Frank] You’re here all the time – [Peter] We’re always here – Now the Tiki Market isn’t just a little bit of the Bahamas in your own backyard It also offers tons of cool stuff from local creatives Like gourmet goodies, stunning sculptures, and wearable art If I can ever get outta this chair, we’ll interview a local vendor who’s got a little bit of a flare for the international costume style There we go, all right Ah, that was easy – Well the first piece that I create was from West Africa

It was from Abidjan, the Ivory Coast And from then it seemed like everything African, everything particularly West African, Masai, Zulu, I was drawn to The Tiki Market is a gem in Riviera Beach Here we all come together every Sunday We have different items that we sell It’s a community Folks from Riviera Beach can come and get fresh produce, custom designed clothing and jewelry, art And feel a sense of pride in their hometown (funky music) – [Frank] You might be surprised to know that right underneath the Blue Heron Bridge, there’s a great dive spot called Phil Foster Park In fact, it was voted one of the top 10 dive spots in the world by Sport Diver magazine Easy access, abundant marine life is what keeps the divers coming year after year Let’s dive in for a closer look – [Shana] My husband and I started in We’ve been diving in the area for a long time as instructors and decided why not live the dream and do it full time? – A lot of people have great pastimes, right, that they like to do? But not everybody says let’s start a business, right? And you chose this area for… why? – Because of the diving – Because of the diving, ’cause this spot is the spot – It is the spot The Gulf Stream comes closest to Florida right here, so it brings all the blue, beautiful water with it All the creatures, all the critters come really close to Florida – [Frank] Ah, yeah – [Shana] And this particular spot, though, this is macro capital So it’s all the little weird funky creatures You get octopus, you get seahorses – That’s what I was known as in college – The weird funky creature? – The weird funky creature, yeah – You’re gonna fit right in then – [Frank] Now you are also very involved in the bridge here Tell me about this no take zone – [Shana] It’s a group of local divers that have been working for years to try to make sure that this area stays as protected as possible from collection Because it is such a unique area – [Frank] What is collection? – People that wanna come in and collect for tropical fish tanks, aquariums – Oh, right – Just for fun – Just for fun so they can put it in their tank at home You go, no no – Correct We like to leave them here – [Frank] This is for us, let them stay where they live – [Shana] Correct (electric guitar music) – Looking for a great place to take the family? The municipal beach at Singer Island has got you covered From its ocean mall with shops and restaurants for all ages, to its covered playground and picnic pavilions, you’ll find lots to do Or you can do nothing at all There’s even a spot with a funky name that serves as an ode to local folklore It’s a tale that involves moonshine and a couple of goats ♪ I’ll be out with my friends ♪ ♪ With a drink in my hand ♪ ♪ This is what I need ♪ ♪ This is what I need ♪ How does it feel to be the most popular guy on Singer Island? – I’ve been on this island for a long time And it’s a great place for locals to come, which they do – [Frank] Yeah the do – I mean we have a clientele here of people that come three, four, five times a week Either some for breakfast, some are happy hour guests We do great eggs benedict We do a skillet in a 17 inch cast iron pan, with the home fries and the egg on it, the cheese – Okay talking my language, yeah – We have music every day except for Monday and Wednesday We’re on the main entrance to the beach The city, the state, they came in The spent $4.5 million renovating this beach They put these nice sail shades in They gotta playground down there for the kids, put in new tennis courts I mean it’s one of the nicest beaches on the Eastern seaboard – Right, and so unique because typically you come to these and it’s like night life type of stuff But you can bring the family here too – Sure, absolutely, we’re pet friendly, family friendly (upbeat music) – Whoa! I am soaking wet, right? – Yeah, you are – I just got finished, what was I doing? – FlowRider – FlowRider, which was not easy And then you put me on some, what was that thing? – [Tina] Big Thunder – [Frank] That was amazing – [Tina] Which is one of our most popular rides – [Frank] It should be What’s enticing me to come to the Rapids Water Park? What’s your big draw? – [Tina] We’re over 30 acres with 42 slides and rides – [Frank] 30 acres! – [Tina] Over 30 acres We are the largest water park in South Florida until you get to the Orlando area – Until you get to those guys – Those guys – [Frank] Yeah, yeah How has it evolved over the years? – [Tina] It opened in 1979 with just the four flumes, the Old Yellar So people would pay by the hour to ride the mat down those flumes So it was in 1992 that we started with our first expansion And we have continued to grow and grow and grow ever since – I notice there’s a lotta art around the park Tell me about the murals – We did, we unveiled art this year It’s a new thing that we did regards to arts in schools So our goal is to fill all the panels Have a new panel each year and have all of them full of artwork

♪ Chase that feeling around ♪ ♪ Bring on the new tomorrow ♪ ♪ Bring on the new tomorrow ♪ – Mayor Ronnie, you get to be the mayor of a very, very fun and vibrant town What’s a day in the life of Mayor Ronnie like? – Ah, it’s summer all year round We have the best weather you can ever imagine We’re the only beach that you can get off the interstate and come straight to the beach We have wonderful restaurants here, man We’re a city that’s on the move We’re trying to redevelop and develop more businesses to come here Riviera Beach is a gold mine We’re a diamond in the rough I think we’ll be a top 10 destination in the next 10 years – Whoa. And you’ve got an interesting mix here, right? ‘Cause you’re an island town, you’re a beach town, you got a combination of great resorts, shopping, people come here for the diving – [Ronnie] Yes, diving Hey, one of the best offshore diving in the world The amazing thing is once you come and visit, you don’t wanna leave (island music) – [Frank] Whether it’s boarding a shuttle boat to an historic island, exploring underwater creatures in a diver’s paradise, or taking a stroll through an environmental treasure, Riviera Beach and Singer Island have got you covered They’re one of South Florida’s quintessential beach destinations, and no matter what your pleasure, whether by land or by sea, restaurants, water sports, and more await you We hope you enjoy discovering Riviera Beach and Singer Island, and that you’ll join us the next time we go On the Town in the Palm Beaches If I was in the water, I would be swimming on a manatee’s back right now But I’m not. This isn’t real This is a sculpture – [Announcer] This program was brought to you by Discover the Palm Beaches Visit ThePalmBeaches.TV for more information