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

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.

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