"The Riviera of America" and "The 'Magic Kingdom' of the Money Set" is how Palm Beach is described in the opening sentence of this "City Confidential" episode. The program goes on to give a detailed look at the ultra-rich little island that lies between West Palm Beach and the Atlantic Øcean. It's the home to many rich-and-famous people. While I am far from that category, this is one of the few places I've ever been that has been covered by this television program so it was of particular interest to me to see how they covered areas I had been in my many trips to Florida, were my parents resided (about 20 miles north of Palm Beach.).
Worth Avenue is a spot pictured a lot here, and why not? This street typifies the affluence of the island. It's not just the ritzy shops, but the exclusive manner in which the local police monitor you car if it is parked too long. (Police mark your tires with a chalk line. If that line is still there an hour later, regardless of the fact that you've fed the meters ever 15 minutes - you are given a ticket.)
Worth Avenue still is a fun street to be on (if you park a few blocks away) whether you show or sightsee as it features beautiful coves and small, smart apartments, which can be viewed about every third or fourth store - little alleyways that are fascinating to walk by, many with more hidden-away shops. You see everything from tourists to billionaires, with their suitable attire and Rolls Royce luxury cars parked along the street.
Then, of course, there are the ocean mansions led by Donald Trump's most famous "Mar-A-Lago," in which he has so many rooms admits he's probably not been in all of them. (He recently sold it, I believe, for several hundred million dollars.)
Trump is just one of 9,000-plus millionaires living on this small strip of land, most of whom only spend the winter months here. Yet, the place is always pretty crowded, as City Confidential points out, because of the thousands of hired help that comes driving in and out of town each day. Everyone, it seems, is having lawn work done, housecleaning, pools put in, taken out, parties catered, etc. In fact, this might be the only place in the U.S. where the garbage men come every day! Yep, you won't find a bunch of garbage bins near the road in this neighborhood.
In addition to a look at today's Palm Beach, we get a short but interesting look at Henry Flagler, the man who IS Florida, the billionaire who built the first railroad that went the entire length of the east coast of Florida and was responsible for producing town after town in this state. His "crown jewel," it was said, was Palm Beach.
Even this area, however, considered one of safest in the country, isn't immune to homicide. It rarely happens, so when it did in 1996 it sent shock waves through the town that are still being felt today. It wasn't just that it happened; it's to whom. Geraldine Pucillo was one of the most well-liked people in the history of Palm Beach and one day, one of the laborers - an exterminator named Kim Cain - came inside her house to rob it, was surprised that she was in the house and killed her. He covered his tracks very well, but left one telltale palm print. That, and an excellent bracelet he tried to pawn later on, were his undoing.
Cain's lawyer, his ex-wife and his father all giving convincing arguments that Cain was not the killer but not convincing enough. The facts are too much the other way. For details, watch this entertaining episode.
Mrs. Pucillo was loved because she and her husband ran the most successful restaurant in Palm Beach, The Peitite Marmite, for 35 years and treated everyone top to bottom with love and respect. Geraldine came up the hard way, from a very poor Boston neighborhood and a bunch of foster homes, and never forgot her roots. She was one of the most popular figures on the island, a very giving woman into a lot of charity causes. So when she was murdered, that fact alone overshadowed any result from the trial. Residents were still too upset over the loss to celebrate any court victory.
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